New York-Western

Budget Photographers

Ok, when I say budget, I mean literally...I want the bare minimum.  Is it completely unreasonable to have a budget of $500 for a photographer in the Buffalo area?  I don't want engagement photos, all I want is for them to come to the hotel room (if a woman) and take pictures of me getting ready, the ceremony, and like a couple hours at the reception.  I don't need any fancy books for my coffee table, all I really want is rights to the pictures on a disk/online and I will print what I want at a later date.  
I seriously am shocked at the prices for photography, especially since everything else wedding-related seems to have varying price ranges.  Does everybody really want the whole shebang when it comes to wedding photography?  I'm simple, and creative, and if I could clone myself to take pictures I would lol; I just want someone with a good camera and an artistic eye who's reliable.
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Re: Budget Photographers

  • gymbugmj2kgymbugmj2k member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    the reason i went with a more expensive photographer, is that we wanted pieces of art -- not just a documentary of the day. not to mention my FI and I have a good eye for quality pictures (he's an amateur photographer....no weddings though - sorry!). we wanted an all inclusive (we have an engagement shoot, rights to pictures, etc...AND he's coming to the rehearsal to make sure the lighting is good etc) so yea - with all that, its bound to add up!

    My best advice is to visit the photography studios and look at their portfolios/interview them.  Ask if you can customize packages. Might be good idea to check local photography students too.  they'll definitely be cheaper and most likely give you the rights to pics- not sure if they'll have the quality you want though.
  • edited December 2011
    We are of the exact same opinion, I mean I get why people might want albums and the whole big package but it was starting to frustrate me that there didn't seem to be any other option.  FI and I live in Nebraska but he's from Rochester and we'll be getting married there in a very small/casual ceremony in July.  Our whole wedding budget is $3000 and when we saw that most photography started at nearly half our budget we were shocked.  We didn't need 10 hours of service and 5 albums and E-photos (as we aren't in the area to get them done).  We just wanted maybe 3 hours for the ceremony and family pictures (we are going to a restaurant afterwards so no formal reception) and the rights to our pictures as he's a wizard at creating photo albums (it's how he proposed to me). 

     I'd give you a list of some of the photographers I found but they are in the Rochester area and while I'm sure they'll travel it will add to their cost.  We did find a few that gave us what we wanted for $300-500 but went with a photographer for $700 because we like her and her pictures more than the other ones plus I'll get a few extra hours that I originally wanted and will be able to get the getting ready shots done as well.  But the way I found them was shockingly enough via craigslist.  I never thought I'd ever use craigslist for my wedding but I ended up finding about 5-7 photographers who offered basic packages with what I wanted in my price range and they had websites in the ads so I could take a look at their work.  It's worth a try!
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  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Here is sound advice;

    FORGET CRAIGS LIST FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER;

    Craigs list is FULL of low quality un lisensed, crappy photographers and they are ALL rubbish - they show you photographs which are NOT taken by themselves and stolen from other websites etc;

    IF you ever find anything on craigs list you do one thing and one thing only - MEET face to face BEFORE Parting with ANY money, and second you tell the photographer to bring his camera to the meeting and take 4-6 sample shots right there at that meeting of you in a coffee shop or wherever and show you on his digital camera the results or take your laptop and look at thm on there right there and then;

    THEN you will see if he has any clue at all;

    Photographers like DJs and others charge what they are worth - and ANY photographer that is ANY good does NOT advertise on craigs list or other crappy sites like that period;

    I suggest you eithr raise your overall wedding budget or put it off until you can afford it.....it is ONCE in a lifetime and do you want to make do and scrimp on it?

    Carol
  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Larissa what is the name of your photographer?
    Do they have a website?
  • edited December 2011
    I wasn't saying go to craigslist and pick the first person you see and give them all your money but it was the only place I was able to find people in my price range and willing to not do an all out super package of stuff I didn't want/need.  You have to do your research and I think to suggest that only crappy people post their services on facebook is completely wrong.  Many of the photographers people on this site used and recommended to me during my inital search (though sadly were out of my price range) also had ads on craigslist.  

    I agree that photographers charge what they are worth but what I don't want to pay for is all the albums and "extras" that come with all these packages and many photographers didn't seem interested in pairing down the packages and I get it they can only do one wedding a day and why do mine when they could get a bride for that same date that does want all the frills and extras and therefore make money.

    Yes my wedding photographer has a website and a flickr and facebook page where she has posted a lot of her photographs both WR and NWR (she does amazing nature photographs).  I asked for recommendations and talked to people who have used her.  She's an extremely nice and friendly woman who takes great pictures.  Which I guess is why I sort of take offense to you saying all photographers who post on craigslist are rubbish.

    So yes do you research of course but I think to completely write out a good tool for an inital search seems silly but everyone has their own opinion.
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  • GrauGrau member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    While I admit you have to be very careful on using CL, not every one who post on there is rubbish. For some people, it is a great way to get a start on a career, being it as a photographer or a DJ.

    And to say that people need to amp up their budget for photography (or anything else) is ridiculous. I love photography (and am a photographer, too) and while I want the best I can get for my wedding, it is unfair to say that people need to push back their wedding for it. There are great photographers, starting out, for a reasonable price (who happen to post on CL, or use FB, or any other 'crappy' site like that). 
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  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Larissa;
    I did NOT say people who are on Facebook - I SAID photogrpahers on CRAIGS LIST - read it correctly before commenting!
  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    so if the photographer is great Larissa WHO IS IT?
    Name
    Website

    Then we can all check it out!
  • edited December 2011
    Sorry about the typo but as my initial post states, I did find her on craigslist but mentioned that she had a facebook page to let you know that she has more of an internet presence than just a webpage.  No I will not give you her website because I'm not really sure what your purpose or intent is, I'm very happy with her and that's what's important and really don't need to prove anything.  I was just giving the OP a friendly suggestion.

    If anyone else is looking for a photographer in the Finger Lake/Rochester area and would like her name and website information feel free to message me.
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  • cutypy0516cutypy0516 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    When you talk to photographers, make sure to ask if they have any assistants or interns that can maybe do the wedding.  I would feel more comfortable with someone that has at least working side by side with a wedding photographer and is trying to build their portfolio.  Using a wedding photographer is different than using a regular photgrapher.  They have been to many ceremonies and know how many of them work.  Every religion or place (be it a church or garden or whatever) has to be looked at as to when and where pictures should be taken.  These people will know when the important shots are about to happen, and not miss those moments.  If I were using an amateur, i think I would ask a lot of my close friends going to the wedding to also take pics in case you find out later that they missed important shots or if you never get your pictures.  I hate to say it like that, but there have been many people burned after the wedding from amateurs and professionals alike.
    Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but the amount of moments that take you breath away. - Anon
  • GrauGrau member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:8a209150-0741-4cdb-bc2e-c6dd8bf2f9ee">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]so if the photographer is great Larissa WHO IS IT? Name Website Then we can all check it out!
    Posted by carolburnett[/QUOTE]

    You mean you can check it out? Since apparently you know when a photographer is 'rubbish' or good? Please, get off your high horse.

    LarrissaB - PM sent
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  • Aquarian342Aquarian342 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Ok, Carol, first off, back off.  You are rude, judgmental, and please stop posting here.  Everyone has their version of what they want for their day and I would appreciate if everyone respected that.

    As far as photography advice, thank you everyone else for your tips.  I have an amateur person in mind, but have been a little hesitant, as she has never taken a large amount of photos for a wedding before (but is looking for an assistant to bring with her).  I think Craig's List could be a good starting point, as everyone needs to gain their experience somewhere.  Also, I really like the idea of finding a good photographer and seeing if they have assistants who may be hired for less by themselves.  I don't know if that's possible (as many photographers seem to wring every client for their money) but it's worth looking into.

    I myself am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to photography, but unfortunately my budget does not allow for that.  I am trying to be realistic because honestly I wish I could have saved more money for a house or something else; in my opinion, my wedding expenses are already high (approx $6000 budget), and spending anything more would be a waste.  I can just hope the person I end up choosing has at least the eye that I have for pictures, and can learn a lot from their experience at my wedding.  I am going with a local small bakery for my cake because they do quality work and I support small business; so I see it silly to not support an amateur photographer who could use the recognition.

  • edited December 2011
    My sister went with a friend who was an amateur photographer and art student and the pictures turned out amazing.  I think the key, as with all venders, is communication.  Let them know what you are looking for, what shots you would like and show them examples of pictures you are looking for.  

    I'm glad you were able to find someone.  I'm completely with you on the budget thing, while I of course want to have a lovely day and have it captured with beautiful pictures there are many other important things I'd rather spend my money on like a house that will last much more than one day.
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  • edited December 2011
    We are using someone that my fiance knows that has done weddings before. She is reasonable with her prices and may be able to work with your budget. If you have facebook you can check her out: Carey Colella Photography.  She loves what she does and we are happy with the engagement pictures she has done for us.  Good Luck!
  • edited December 2011
    My wedding photographer took the pictures and sold us the rights to them, we were given them on CDs. I thought he did a really good job. I think it cost in the $700 range, which I know is a little above what you wanted to spend.  The company name was Everlasting Memories and they are based out of Buffalo.  If you want to see some of my wedding pictures just give me your email address and I can mail them to you.  I definitely agree that is a good idea to set a budget and stick to it, don't let people try to pressure you into spending more.  It is only one day of your life and there are so many things you can do with those extra few thousand dollars you would have spent. We did not go overboard with our wedding, but it was still an incredible day.  I don't like the insinuation above that if you can't "afford it" don't do it....my husband and I were very comfortable financially when we got married, but we still didn't want to waste money.  You are going to have great memories whether you spend $5,000 or $50,000

    On another note, Carol stop posting nastiness on these boards, for someone whose hasn't even gotten married yet, you sure are opinionated. I like to check back to the boards every once and a while to pass on helpful advice and every post you have made is either an unsolicited plug for someone or nastiness....stop ruining this for everyone else. You sound more like a vendor than a bride and the posts for the same venue/company over and over ring of desparation. People on here see through that in a a second. 

    Good luck with your wedding planning ladies!
  • edited December 2011

    I am just waiting for Carol to respond with "How dare you ladies" like she does every other time someone has accused her of being a vendor.

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:5493a8ba-75bb-4c6e-b74c-3bf8d18071a0">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]As far as photography advice, thank you everyone else for your tips.  I have an amateur person in mind, but have been a little hesitant, as she has never taken a large amount of photos for a wedding before (but is looking for an assistant to bring with her).  I think Craig's List could be a good starting point, as everyone needs to gain their experience somewhere.  Also, I really like the idea of finding a good photographer and seeing if they have assistants who may be hired for less by themselves.  .
    Posted by Aquarian342[/QUOTE]

     I don't want to scare you , but I have a few stories of friends who went the "budget photog" route:
    My one friend had a similar view to yours and just wanted someone to document the day. They found a photog team on craigslistfor $700 for the whole day, with a full rights DVD. The pictures were TERRIBLE. They had deep under-eye shadows in the formals and the "photoshopped" ones were grainy and off-color. They didn't even get a shot of her father walking her down the aisle! The couple ended up framing guest snapshots instead. However, the band they found on craigslist rocked! They went in person to a gig before they booked them and it worked out great!

    My cousin majored in photography so she had one of her classmates shoot her wedding. He had never done a wedding before, but she really liked his work. When she got her wedding photos back from him, she cried. He really wasn't prepared to capture an event like that.

    Another friend ended up booking the "assistant" for their wedding and got a significantly cheaper price for the same style/quality as the "lead" photog. By the time their wedding came, the guy was out on his own and his prices were much higher. They lucked out!

    I don't think your budget is unreasonable, you'll just have to work a little harder and do your research! My advice is to have a really good idea of what they're capable of so there are no surprises when your proofs come back. Sometimes their prices really are lower because they have lower quality work.
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  • AeroStyleAeroStyle member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:24b74ee5-3c4a-40d4-a77e-f85a691f7620">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am just waiting for Carol to respond with "How dare you ladies" like she does every other time someone has accused her of being a vendor.
    Posted by rbr83[/QUOTE]
    Oh I'm sure that's coming soon!! To tell previous posters that they need to put of their wedding because they aren't planning the kind of wedding you want Carol is terribly rude and offensive. If a couple is planning a small budget wedding and they are happy with their decision that is all you need to know.
    To OP. There are a few photographers in the Buffalo are that too offer pic on CD packages. I'm sorry I don't have names. I recently thinned out our pile of brochures after selecting out photographer. Best of luck. Don't listen to the crabs around here.
  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    whereismymind32
    So well said!!!

    BTW I am a caterer and have been in this biz for 30 years and seen the worst vendors you can imagine and photgrpahers are some of them - like evrything there are thousands of bad and few good - Im not being offensive or rude - as Simon Cowell says...I am BEING HONEST - there is a difference!

    Book a cheap photographer and you get low quality PERIOD
  • Aquarian342Aquarian342 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Well I am still in the process of deciding on a photographer.  I do have to say though, despite the person I had in mind, I did find someone else on Craig's List who is local, our age, and incredibly talented, and I hope to learn more about her.  Just in the last year she decided to go more professional with her work; I am planning on meeting up with her and seeing her work first hand before booking anything.

    I think it's very closed-minded to say anyone who charges so little for their work is low quality.  Are you saying those people who now charge $2000 for their wedding packages have always charged a lot, even when they weren't known?  If someone didn't give them a chance, how would they have been able to showcase their talent to run such a successful business?  Just because someone doesn't have years of experience and a business in photography does not mean they aren't talented with a camera.  No matter how much something costs, this goes for ANYTHING, there are always people out there who are going to suck and do a terrible job, but there are just as many or more who are talented and work hard.  

    That's all I have to say really, thanks everyone for your advice, I'm still not set on anyone yet but you guys have definitely helped!
  • edited December 2011
    To the OP, contact the colleges art programs and see if you can get a junior/senior photography major to photograph your wedding.  You get nice photos, they get to use your photos in their portfolio for when they graduate and either start looking for a job or strike out on their own.  If I were on a tight budget, this is the route that I would take.
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  • edited December 2011
    We had good luck with CR Fotography - we were able to get full day coverage with 2 photographers, and engagement shoot, an album, and CD of all images for under $1000 including tax.

    Good luck with your search!
  • GrauGrau member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:c6ae3f4f-a2a7-404e-a0d0-977de3fdc340">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]whereismymind32 So well said!!! BTW I am a caterer and have been in this biz for 30 years and seen the worst vendors you can imagine and photgrpahers are some of them - like evrything there are thousands of bad and few good - Im not being offensive or rude - as Simon Cowell says...I am BEING HONEST - there is a difference! <strong>Book a cheap photographer and you get low quality PERIOD</strong>
    Posted by carolburnett[/QUOTE]

    False. You will not get low quality all the time with a cheap photographer. They may be just starting out, just have it as a side business for extra cash, ect. It does not mean that this will have crappy photos. You have to do your research and figure out their photography style and look at samples of their work. Granted, higher costing photographers might have better quality, but that is not always the case.
    I said it before, please get off your high horse and think that you know everything since you were in the "biz for 30 years." And yes, by demanding that the OP raise their budget was being rude and offensive. Also, try spell check.
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  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    spell check?
    I do not have time for spull chuck,..LOL;

    It is GENERALLY true that LOW cost vendors are low quality BUT it does not mean you cannot find a needle in a haystack.....try looking for the needle - many people have not got the time for looking for it as a needle is awfully hard to find in hay!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:be0cfb1d-3bcd-47c3-9893-2f7ea2006d6a">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]When you talk to photographers, make sure to ask if they have any assistants or interns that can maybe do the wedding.  I would feel more comfortable with someone that has at least working side by side with a wedding photographer and is trying to build their portfolio.  Using a wedding photographer is different than using a regular photgrapher.  They have been to many ceremonies and know how many of them work.  Every religion or place (be it a church or garden or whatever) has to be looked at as to when and where pictures should be taken.  These people will know when the important shots are about to happen, and not miss those moments.  If I were using an amateur, i think I would ask a lot of my close friends going to the wedding to also take pics in case you find out later that they missed important shots or if you never get your pictures.  I hate to say it like that, but there have been many people burned after the wedding from amateurs and professionals alike.
    Posted by cutypy0516[/QUOTE]

    This.  Some places will have special packages just for a photographer and a CD of your pics.
  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:b10512d2-d3db-4afc-929c-0f5bff651d6a">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Budget Photographers : This.  Some places will have special packages just for a photographer and a CD of your pics.
    Posted by missi739[/QUOTE]

    Yes but that does not make the photographer any good does it?
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-york-western_budget-photographers?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:622Discussion:b88df9a2-d09c-4cfa-9c2a-1f6e7110b27aPost:84344ba9-2487-45af-8b47-674ba0ef7500">Re: Budget Photographers</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Budget Photographers : Yes but that does not make the photographer any good does it?
    Posted by carolburnett[/QUOTE]

    Well you saying you're a caterer doesn't mean you are a good caterer now does it?   Unfortunately nothing is guaranteed in life, including the perfect wedding photographer.  We are here trying to help someone who has a very little budget for pictures that she is going to want to cherish for the rest of her life.  You have to be the most ignorant person I have ever encountered. 
  • carolburnettcarolburnett member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I never said I was a good caterer or do I profess to be;

    I am trying to help here its called reality check!

    Nicey nicey words and fizzle fazzle will not help someone - it ALWAYS pays to tell the truth.

    Getting a photographer is EASY but getting a good CHEAP one almost impossible - There is a price you HAVE to pay for things and no matter HOW you disguise it or moan or groan or say nice words it still does not get you a good one;
    If you have not got the budget for GOOD vendors then simply put it off for another year or get more money for you budget;

    I see MANY upset BUDGET brides time after time when they booked bad cake makers, DJs and Photographers and other vendors - is it worth risking all this for your wedding day?
    Either get the right amount to afford the right vendors or do not do it at all - if you go below industry standard pricing for vendors your are going to have problems PERIOD....that is the truth and that is neither RUDE or is it ignorant;
    Get a REALITY CHECK!
  • cinndawgcinndawg member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My photographer, Liz Mesler, custome made a package for me in my price range and only includes things I wanted. Most packages include way too much stuff and with Liz I did not get forced into parents books and a big fancy album. I would say she is worth checking out. You can find her online. The work she showed at our first meeting was outstanding. I also have a friend who used Everlasting memories and they were very happy with the price and with the quality.
  • cutypy0516cutypy0516 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Carol--the problem lies within the brides who want a $500 photopragher expecting a $2000+ photographer.  In times like these, it is smart to set a budget and try and stay within it.  If you find something or somone you love, it may be worth sacrificing other aspects to get what you want.  If someone hires a photographer for $500 expecting $500 worth of photography, they will not be disappointed.  It's the mental attitude of the champagne dreams on a beer budget.  It's like the girls looking for an expensive designer wedding gown for $300.  It ain't gonna happen, but there are other beautiful gowns for $300.  Some brides just need a reality check.  If you feel that a bride has to go big or go home to have a nice wedding, then it's you that needs one.  I have been on this board a long time.  I had an engagement, called it off, then found the real man of my dreams.  The mistake many people make is focusing too much on the wedding and not enough on the marriage.   The party's fun, but it's after that that has the real importance.  It would have drove me nuts to have a 3 year engagement just to have the creme de la creme.  I took a second job to help pay for things I wanted, because yes, I wanted the right people in many aspects of my wedding.  Would an extra $10,000 stepped up my wedding, maybe, and that would have been fun, but it allowed me to marry my price charming earlier and get our lives started, because that was what mattered to me.
    Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but the amount of moments that take you breath away. - Anon
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