How To Save Money On Your Wedding Pictures

September 4, 2008

  1. Keep the number of individual and family portraits small – If you are hiring a professional photographer then you will probably want to limit the number of posed photos that you take. These types of photos really raise the tally on your photography costs.

    Consider just doing candid photos instead, or have your family do a “dress rehearsal” at a local photography studio. After all, what you really need your photographer to shoot is the events at your wedding.

    You can have those family photos taken any time, anywhere. You cannot redo the exchanging of your rings, walking down the aisle, or that first married kiss. Save your photographer for those special moments, and do the family portraits another time.

  2. Place Cameras on the tables at your reception –You can always hire your professional photographer just to shoot your wedding, and then ask your guests to shoot candid photos at the reception. We did this at my wedding, and our guests really enjoyed doing it. Usually the people who enjoy taking pictures the most will pick up the camera, and we got a ton of fun shots on every subject, from every angle – someone even arranged their reception food on their plate and photographed it!
  3. Ask a photography student – Call your local university or art school and see if they have anyone who would accept a discounted rate of pay so that they can build their portfolio. Be sure that you look at their past work though, because their style and idea of what is beautiful may not match yours. These are photos that you will keep the rest of your life. If you can find a student who’s vision matches your own, then this is an excellent way to save money on your wedding photos.
  4. Ask a friend (or two) that’s interested in photography to take your photos for you – Having two “official” photographers will actually make things run smoother, and quicker – and you’ll likely get some wonderful candid shots as well.
  5. Get the negatives! (Or a Disk) – No matter which photographer you use, make very sure that they include the original negatives or a disk containing all of your wedding photos in their price. That way you can go back and make as many prints as you want, or even edit specific photos and enlarge them.
  6. Check your local newspaper and Craigslist for photographers – many of the listed photographers may not shoot weddings specifically, but would be willing to do it for you if you asked them. Their rates will usually be much lower than an official “wedding” photographer, and the picture quality will likely be just as good. Always ask to see a portfolio of their work before you hire them.
  7. Decide on exactly what you want – You may be able to negotiate the price downwards if you want fewer specific photos. If you decide what is most important to you then you can make sure that the photographer delivers those shots – without paying for a lot of extra ones that you may not have wanted.
  8. If you hire a professional wedding photographer, ask them for a discount – Most professionals will be able to offer you a discount if you ask, or you can simply buy a smaller package of photos. Most wedding photographers will be willing to negotiate with you if they want your business.
  9. Make your own wedding album – We paid hundreds of dollars to have our professional wedding photographer lay out our wedding photos in a big, white leather bound album. While it is undeniably beautiful, you can get the negatives, or a disk of your wedding photos, and do it yourself. Shutterfly, and Walgreens both offer nice, leather albums at a fraction of the cost.
  10. Do your research – Before you hire a pro, shop around, check prices, and ask the professional of your choice to price match, or negotiate. Look carefully at everyone’s backgrounds, and portfolios. You might actually be able to get a cheaper photographer who does a better job, you just have to put in the footwork.

Here are some other ways you can save money on your wedding:

This list of ideas to save money on your wedding pictures is part of the Marriage Money Guide.

Photo Credits:


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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