Wedding Photography and Videography Forum

Alternatives to hiring a professional photographer?

Hi there! I'm in the very early stages of planning my wedding, but I just now started looking into photography. My fiancé and I both HATE having our pictures taken, so initially we were just going to do an Instagram hashtag and let the chips fall where they may. But a good friend convinced me that we would at least want SOME photos, even if they are not formal posed photos, of us getting reading, the ceremony, the reception, and cake cutting, etc. I agree. 

So as I'm researching, I'm finding out that hiring a photographer is a complicated business! ALL I want is some candid photos of the day. I don't need them retouched. I can do all of that. But professional photographers have these complex contracts, and want to spend weeks retouching all the images, etc.

I need a happy medium between Instagram and $5000 professional photography. I just want some digital prints of the day. I don't want to ask any of my friends to do it for free because I'm a writer, and I HATE getting asked to write stuff for free. I want my photographer friends who are at the wedding to enjoy themselves, and not feel like they are on a job (with no paycheck). 


Re: Alternatives to hiring a professional photographer?

  • I strongly suggest hiring a professional photographer. I also HATE having my picture taken. But, once I had my hair and makeup done and the dress and jewelry on, I loved how I looked and I LOVED having my picture taken. If I didn't have any professional photos, I'd be incredibly sad (and mad at myself!). That said, we found a photographer who was there about 10 hours and provided us with high resolution digital photos. We ended up going back to him for a professional album, but we paid extra. I'd just find someone that provides digital prints and everything else a la carte.
  • Do not hire your photog friends, but ask if they have any budget friendly recommendations. I always have a few. I would NEVER shoot a friends wedding - if anything goes wrong I don't want to ruin a friendship over it. You need to hire someone who knows what they are doing - at the very least a student.

    I don't recommend it personally, but you could check craigslist - there's usually people trying to get started or cheap on there. But beware - you get what you pay for :) GL!
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • I don't care too much for dust collectors, aka pictures, but have found quite a few people in my area between $200 and $800 with high resolution disks/flash drives and printing rights. Some touch up the photos and others don't. A cheap option that I'm still considering is contacting a local high school or college photo department (my high school photography teacher suggested this). The down side to high school students is that they're probably minors who can't enter contracts BUT they can't be professional (get paid) photographers, and the teacher would be able to know who's more dependable and better with portraits. You can give them gas money, feed them, etc. (I'd even throw in a Walmart gift card for them to "develop photos"...or something along that line)...but they can't charge for their services, if they want to enter contests (but how many honest people are there these days).

    Many people completely disagree with me on that but photos are usually more important to most people. It would also depend on when your wedding is. If it's not during or right after the school year then you wouldn't have that option.
  • I would not hire a high school student. I would consider hiring a college student - I did free lance work in college, was the photo editor of the university paper and won national awards. My work progressed great in college and I had MUCH better equipment.

    I have never heard a situation where a high school can't be paid. I guess that could vary based not he type of contests they are entering. All the contest I entered did not have that caveat. You most certainly can pay a minor for work even though they can't sign a contract without parental consent.

    I would call the college newspaper over the art department. You need someone who can capture candids in an action environment. I actually hired a college student for my wedding. I paid her $500, and ended up tipping her an additional $200. But that was 7 years ago and I would expect to pay more for someone of her quality and experience. I also live in a large city where the average package starts at $2500.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • We are lucky enough to have an acquaintance who is an amateur photographer and and we are hiring him for 3 hours to cover the ceremony, formal portraits with family during cocktail hour and the start of the reception.  Like the OP, we are not not too fond of having photos taken, but we do want nice pictures of the day.  He takes great photos and while he tried to talk is out of hiring him, he's done one wedding and certainly enjoys it.  We will have professional quality photos at a fraction of the cost.  We will also be setting up an instagram for our friends and family who want to take candid shots with their phones.  It's like the modern version of the disposable camera on the table.  

    Everybody's idea of professional photos are different and some people want and can afford to pay thousands for a photo package.  Some people can't and that's OK too.  
  • Don't have a friend or relation do it. I have heard soooo many people tell me they regretted it. Even when the pictures came out "ok" they wished they had spent a little money on it.

    My DH and I were the same as you. didn't want to spend a ton of money, didn't want to take a three hour break to take pictures. But we ended up doing a combination of two cheap options and were thrilled with the results. One was using a college girl we knew who was trying to build her portfolio so that she could become a pro. She did it for free because we were doing her a favor as well, but really it turned out she did us a favor. She did no formal pictures because she said she wasn't good at the posing yet, but she did some awesome candid shots. We also hiered a professional from Craigs list who was new as far as striking out on his own (had worked under great wedding photographers for years) so his prices were really cheap. We did make sure to meet with him, look at his work, read reviews ect to make sure it was legit. We also got amazing pictures for a very good price. My avatar is from the amateur working on going pro, and my signature is from the cheap pro (he was serious under $1000!) either way get someone!
  • edited July 2014
    jennyckbengtsson said: Make your guest take a lot of photos and tell some of you friends that you know take good photos. Let them all upload all photos to a online album and you will get all photos right away. I use Photago to create a collaborative album. 

    *************ETA- quote box fail***********

    Please do not do this. Don't make your guests work at your wedding. Hire someone if you want photographs. If you don't care about having quality images, then by all means ask people to share the photos they took after the wedding....but don't ask them before the wedding to work it.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

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