Budget Photographer…take the risk?

posted 2 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
Member
2216 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I know your pain about not wanting to spend a fortune on photos! We found a great photographer that fit our budget after lots of shopping around- he’s half the cost of what some others wanted for the same coverage, is experienced, and his quality is the same with great reviews! We are very excited to work with him.

As far as getting someone who is inexperienced… I’m not sure how I feel about that. Weddings are a lot different than portrait photoshoots. Just because she takes good photos doesn’t mean she will be a great wedding photographer- but she does have a lot of experience as a photographer in general which is definitely good.

I would recommend doing an engagment shoot with her to see how she works, if possible.

Post # 3
Member
1471 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Weddings are a challange for photographers. Are you getting married in a church or some other place that has either low light, or flash is not allowed? These are hard conditions to photograph under. Most experienced wedding photographers visit the venues around the wedding time of day before the wedding to get an idea of what to expect. Will she be doing this? Also, make sure she knows the schedule for the day and connect her to your dj or wedding corrdinater so she knows when to anticipating what’s coming next, so you don’t miss key shots. And, give her a list of ‘must have’ shots. A big thing is; does she have back up equipment? Things happen even to the best of people and if she only has one camera and it breaks then all of you are screwed.

Post # 4
Member
1205 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I am related to a fabulous photographer who just broke into the industry in a similar way to your Craigslist find.  She’s incredibly talented and just needed to build her portfolio, so her first few weddings got an amazing deal on her…if you love what you’ve seen from the Craigslist lady, even if it’s not weddings, I would at the very least set up a meeting.  See if she’ll throw in an engagement shoot (she should) and how you as a couple can work with her.  If that goes smoothly, I’d say there’s a good chance the wedding will, too.  Just in case you might look around at photog blogs to see what photos matter most to you so you can tell her to look for certain things (ie, make sure you get a good detail photo of my whole outfit before I put it on, or photos of the table settings, or whatever).

I think someone totally inexperienced would make me a lot more nervous, but it sounds like she knows what she’s doing.

Post # 5
Member
472 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - The Villa

amanda.417:  So I booked my photog from Craigslist b/c I was looking for a deal and boy did I find one… his package is very similar to your lady’s but $700. I took a chance on him b/c his website (although limited in pictures) was really awesome. And with the bigger photogs we weren’t even looking at packages that included engagement shoots and we were already up to $2500. I wasn’t really into the whole ‘engagement session’ thing but I thought this would be a great way to judge his work and if we didn’t like him then we’d only lost the deposit and could start over. We took our engagement photos Sunday and Monday morning he sent us a preview shot of a few. I’m blown away. (sorry if this is huge)

Post # 6
Member
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

amanda.417:  This is one area my FI and I increased our budget for. But, pictures are very important to me, and if I’m going to pay someone, I want good quality work.

I know people who cheaped out and hate their wedding pictures because of it. I have planned for months and all I will have are my memories and the pictures. And really in the grand scheme of our lives another $1500 will not make a difference, but we’ll always cherish the photos and be able to share them with generations to come.

Would you be able to see the photos of the other weddings before you book her? Weddings are tricky and there’s not a lot of ‘re-do’ opportunities. A lot of things happen in the moment and it’s nice to have an expereinced professional there to just know when to get those moments so you don’t have to stress out.

Also, try talking to the photographers that you like. I researched and found amazing photographers then e-mailed them, explained what I wanted and my budget and asked what they could do for me. A lot were more than willing to work with us which resulted in me getting a photographer whos style I love and am super excited about for half her listed price.

It never hurts to ask!

Post # 7
Member
1532 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

This is one of those things that you can’t look at from a purely financial perspective. So much of the wedding hoopla is just fluff. Magazines make it sound like you might as well just not have a wedding if you can’t afford hotel welcome bags and a room full of real flowers and uplighting and hand calligraphy on your escort cards etc etc.

However, when all that is said and done and you realize that no one really cares about chair covers, the one things that you’re left with are the pictures.

I know you aren’t picture people, but are you really going to be ok with taking a risk on your photos? It’s easy to think so now. It seems like you scored such a great deal. But really think if you are prepared emotionally for this risk. Search these boards for things like “I hate my wedding pictures” or “Photographer ruined my photos” or “I hate my album” and read a little about the pain those brides felt.

It sounds like you’ve found a decent option. (It’s not like your brother’s college roommate thinks he can do it.) But just really think about it before you make your decision.

Post # 8
Member
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Priorities.  How important are photos to you?

I got a Craiglist photographer, I disliked most of his photos but we got a few nice ones and that was good enough for us.  I briefly considered doing a re-shoot but never did it.  

Some of us will have good experiences, some bad- but what really matters is how upset will you be if your photos suck.   

Post # 10
Member
2878 posts
Sugar bee

amanda.417:  We will definitely hire a new photographer. I would rather hire one who already shot a few weddings, though. I would totally trust my instinct when looking at her/his portfolio. I think unfortunately, most professionnal pics end up looking the same and I’m rarely wowed by their pictures. And many of them look heavily photoshopped, I really dislike that.

Screening through dozens of portfolios, I found that amateur photographers often have an eye for artistic settings and they tend to take less conventional pictures, so most of the times, I’m drawn towards their portfolio. I am totally okay with my pictures being less than perfect on a technical aspect. What is important to me is that our pictures allow us to remember this day and get us a few good couple pictures for us to frame and enjoy. I couldn’t care less if they’re not Pinterest-worthy. 

Also, my FI is an infographist so worst-case scenario, we can always improve a few things when we get the digital pictures.

Post # 11
Member
2791 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

I’d meet her and set up an engagement shoot. Everyone needs to get started somewhere and if you already like her other photos I think it’ll probably work out fine!

Post # 12
Member
218 posts
Helper bee

I’m stuck on your finding a venue for that many with food under 2k.   Once I get past that , I’ll give some better advice!  

Post # 14
Member
716 posts
Busy bee

What’s your risk tolerance?  If this is a scam and you never see the photos or if the photos aren’t to your liking, are you ok with that?  Even if you hire the more expensive photographer, there is still a chance that you won’t like the photos, but the probability of being disappointed in lower.

I would say that if you’d be perfectly happy with friends and family photos, then go for it.  If you would really miss quality, professional photos, then consider giving up the extra hour or the fancier centerpieces.

Personally, I needed to know that my photographer was very experienced and had many very satisfied brides.  I have zero risk tolerance for bad photos.

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