Setting A Reasonable Wedding Photography Budget

Setting A Reasonable Wedding Photography Budget

Ottawa Wedding Photographers

As I mentioned earlier in my earlier blog post, How to Pick The Right Wedding Photographer For You, there are some basic things that you should look for when hiring your wedding photographer.  Of course, you need to make sure that you like their photography style and that their personality gels with yours.  However, you also need to make sure that you’re setting a reasonable wedding photography budget, so that you can actually hire the photographer that you like the best.  When I say ‘reasonable’, I also mean realistic.  Setting a tiny budget of $500-$800 and trying to look for a photographer to shoot for 10-12 hours is not reasonable or realistic.

Any wedding photographer worth their salt spends over 30-50 hours on your wedding.  This includes meeting with you, e-mails, location scouting, shooting the wedding, culling photos, post production of photos. etc.  This doesn’t include their expenses, which lowers what they’ve gotten paid (gas, equipment purchase/rental, paying a 2nd shooter, computer software, etc.)

Being Realistic

Some people allot very tiny budgets for wedding photography.  As a result, some will end up hiring a photography student in order to stick within that small budget.  Please note that the student is probably charging next to nothing in order to gain experience shooting weddings as well as portfolio building.  With this in mind, know that your photos will most likely look like an amateur took your photos.  When all is said and done, don’t expect to receive caviar photos on a canned tuna budget.

dont-expect-caviar-photos-on-a-canned-tuna-budget-1I understand that some people just don’t have enough money to hire a professional photographer.  Perhaps you may not even be able to pay for a full wedding with reception, flowers, etc.  In that case, it’s entirely understandable.  Just make sure to have some of your friends or family take a few photos for you.  That way you’ll have some photos to cherish.  However, other couples allot very little money for wedding photography because they want to spend more money on booze, flowers, decorations, etc.

If you want great photos, then move some money around in your budget from one item and place a little more for photography.  For example, instead of spending $1000 on wedding flowers, spend $600 and put the extra $400 towards wedding photos to bump up your budget.  I’m not saying to not spend anything on the other items.  However, spend a bit less, so that you can reach a realistic budget for wedding photography.

My Photography Budget

Of course, everyone places different values on different things.  You don’t have to break the bank to get married.  However, you do need to prioritize where your budget will be spent.  My husband and I spent roughly $7000 on our wedding (not including the honeymoon.)  When I got married, my wedding gown and wedding photos were the most important things to me.  (My husband let me make all of the plans.)  Thus, I spent the most money on those two things.  With that said, I didn’t go crazy with my spending on those two items.  Instead, I did set a realistic budget for them and allowed some wiggle room.

My dress budget was $1000 and I ended up paying $1200.  We paid $1000 for wedding photography for four hours of coverage.  I was able to get a smaller wedding photography package because A) the photographer was one of my fellow students when we took photography in college and B) we agreed that I would do the post production on the photos (normally, this is a HUGE no-no, but since we’re friends, I’m also a professional photographer and he doesn’t actually advertise to shoot weddings) and C) I got married in the dead of winter (aka. not the busy wedding season).  Since our wedding ceremony venue (a temple) doesn’t allow photos inside, we didn’t have any getting ready photos or ceremony photos.  Instead, the coverage was for family and formal portrait time as well as a bit of the reception.

If you need more help on your wedding budget, check out my post:  10 Ways To Save Money on Your Dream Wedding.

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