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Cutting Costs Without
Sacrificing Quality

December 21st, 2011 by Jeannine

Cutting Costs Without Sacrificing Quality

A budget bride shopping around for a photographer may only be concerned about one thing… how much bang her buck could get. Everyone has different packages which include a range of hours of coverage, albums or album credits, or an assistant photographer. Brides wanting to save a buck may be too focused on the deals that they don’t stop and think, hey how much experience does this person have? So I ask, are there ways of cutting costs with photographers without sacrificing quality? I had a chance to meet with a seasoned wedding photographer, Melissa Welsh. She has lived and breathed weddings for the last 14 years and currently heads the board of directors of the BC Chapter of the Professional Photographers of Canada.

One factor that increases the cost of photography is coverage time. Most brides think they need to book a photographer for 9 hours or longer to get the job done. Melissa says that by tweaking a few things on your wedding day can help reduce the amount of time you need a photographer’s services. Her suggestion is to have one venue for both your ceremony and reception.

“If your ceremony and reception are in the same place, you can often save money in photography fees because you’re not traveling between venues. If everything is happening at the same place, then all your family and formal shots can be taken in about an hour. Depending on your photographer, this can save you anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.”

This way, you don’t have to book a costly all day package. If you’re willing to take photos before your ceremony, depending on your photographer and timeline, photos can be shot within 6 hours or less.┬áBut what if you want shots of the groom getting ready in the morning?

“If you’re getting ready at the same place, you don’t need to have a photographer start at 9 o’clock in the morning. They can start at noon or 1 or be there 45 minutes before the ceremony and they’ll be able to get all of those shots.”

The groom’s getting ready shots can easily be staged at another location, closer to the ceremony time as well. It may even provide a better backdrop than a regular living room!

Photographers don’t have to stay late into the reception as well. Melissa suggests doing the First Dance, right off the bat or even faking the cake cutting earlier in the evening so you can get these important shots before your coverage time runs out. This means you won’t be paying your photographer to wait around for certain events.

Another thing to consider is how efficient your photographer works. Melissa recommends that you have a good talk with your photographer and ask them to discuss how they work. Have them explain how they plan to shoot your wedding, this will also show you how good of an understanding they have about your event, which, in turn, gives you more confidence in their abilities. Ask them how they deal with family photos, with wrangling and directing people. The more efficient they are in their job, the more shots you can get in the limited time that you have, and the less time you need to hire them.

Hiring an assistant or secondary photographer also drives up the cost, not only are you paying for their time, you’ll be paying for their meal as well. There are a lot of photographers in the city who work solo and still get the job done. So the question to ask is, do you really need a second photographer? Think about the size of your wedding and ask potential vendors if your wedding is doable with 1 photographer or would it be better if you had two? Melissa recommends clarifying what exactly the 2nd photographer will do during the day. Some may simply be assisting the principal photographer, others may actually be shooting. Use this to determine if you really need one or not, and if you don’t, you just saved a few hundred dollars!

It’s no secret, wedding albums are expensive. Not only are you paying for the photographer’s design time, you are also paying for quality materials used to make the album. If you want to order an album after the wedding, have a look at your photographer’s album choices. Do they have many choices for cost-effective albums? Do they have album credits which you can use later on in the year, to give you a chance to save up? Either way, Melissa encourages all brides and grooms to save up for a proper album because it will be your first family heirloom, something you’ll want to stand the test of time and pass down to your grandchildren.

A huge thank you goes out to Melissa. To see more of her work, visit her website, follow her on Twitter or check out her Facebook page.

All photos courtesy Melissa Welsh Photography

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  • December 22nd, 2011 at 12:01 pm
    Business Photography Ltd says:

    Very interesting to hear how you can be more creative and deliver better results by thinking outside the normal wedding day. I love the idea of shooting the groom on another day and getting a better wedding portfolio for your trouble.


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