Post # 1
I have been looking at all the different photographers in the area we are getting married for our DW, and their prices for what we want are just insane. Before the pro photographers jump down my throat, I *know* how expensive it for everything and I am not disputing that, but I do know that you add the word ‘wedding’ to something and they seem to add an extra 0 at the end just because.
We are eloping… there will be FOUR guests, and I don’t want 500+ photos taken. I don’t need bride getting ready or whatever.. just a few snaps of the ceremony, and I would like some great family shots afterwards, and of course it’s a beach setting so lots of sunset and beach photos! We want maybe 50ish good (edited) photos and would need about 2 – 3 hours of actual shooting. There is an elopement package with one photographer that is for 1 hour, 50 photos, which I thought ‘awesome!’ but then realised an hour isn’t enough time between the ceremony (4pm) and the sunset (5:45pm) and even that 1 hour and 50 photos is $1000. The next step up is 2 hours, 100 photos, and $1600! What?! For 2 hours?
So I have found a young man who has a couple of years under his belt, his photos are AMAZING (I would post some but not sure about privacy issues etc) and we are thinking that if we pay for his flights, his accommodation, but no fee if staying 2 nights, minimal fee (<200) if staying the one night.. We can get some wonderful photos, and he can get the experience. I think if we fly him to the destination the day before the wedding, then he will have plenty of his own time that previous day and the morning of, to do whatever he wants and get some awesome pictures of his own for his portfolio. And we are talking about a NICE destination (Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia).
He has never done a wedding before, he’s very excited about the opportunity and all up having him for however long we need for the day, for flights/hotel would actually cost us less than the hour of the elopement photography package. (Probably around $800 or so…)
What would you guys do? Go with experience and fork out the dough, or give a young’un the opportunity of a lifetime (as he put it!) and risk that he messes up? If you saw his photos… wow.. stunning! If someone could let me know about whether or not I can post his photos here and how to give appropriate credit, that would be great too 🙂
Post # 3
Most people are going to tell you not to do it, because a wedding is “just too hard to shoot” for someone inexperienced, but honestly… 4 guests? I think that’s probably doable even for a relative novice. There won’t exactly be too much going on for him to be aware of it, you know?
The only reason I wouldn’t go for it is if you would be devastated if you didn’t get the pictures exactly as you envisioned. Obviously the less experienced someone is, the more risk involved, and if the worst case scenario is unacceptable to you, don’t do it.
I booked someone whose work I really loved, who has only shot a few weddings, for significantly less than the established wedding photographers around here, because similarly, we’re only having a handful of guests and no real reception, and I could not fathom paying more for the photographer than the entirety of the rest of the actual wedding. She’s trying to establish a wedding portfolio and i know she’ll really bust herself to get good shots for that, too- in some ways she has more riding on this than a photographer who has done tons of weddings would.
If the pics don’t come out perfectly or if she misses a moment… our lives will go on. And they will go on with a lot more money in our bank account. I was okay with risking that for the savings involved.
Post # 4
Not an option in the poll, but I would keep looking for a professional photographer that is cheaper.
I would never hire someone that hasn’t shot a wedding before. But I too wouldn’t pay $1600 for 2 hours and 100 images.
Post # 5
@Rainstorm77: When you look at the photos he has taken, how does he handle exposure? Is there detail in the whites? Is he able to bring out detail in shadows as necessary? Are the images in focus, is there a variety of angles? Does he take some overall shots and some close ups? I realize he hasn’t shot a wedding, but has he shot people? Do they look comfortable, or stiff and posed?
If all the answers to the above questions are satisfactory, I’d suggest going with the amateur. I cannot believe I am saying that, but in this case I think it may be a good bet, depending on the above.
Post # 6
@Rainstorm77: I’m going for the amazing, talented amateur. Her style is exactly what I am looking for and I have not found professionals in my area whose portfolios I liked half as much as I liked hers. However, she’s shooting her first weddings (4) in 2014 and i’m getting married in 2015, so I will have enough time to see what happens. On the other hand, I don’t care that much for wedding pictures … I want artistic pictures after the wedding, when FI and I are relaxed and all, and this is more important to me. These are the pictures of us I will look at. Of course I want pictures of ”the day” and with my family, but there’s no way FI and I would be satisfied of couple pictures taken the day of, with all those people around … we’ll look still and posed and awkward, no matter how experienced or expensive the photographer. I’m giving the girl a chance because we’ll be comfortable around her, the price allows us to have 2 shoots instead of 1, and I know I won’t be disappointed. I also plan on offering her a huge tip, which I couldn’t afford with a pro. On her side, she gets more experience, she gets recognition because she gets to meet potential clients at my wedding and word-to-mouth, feedbacks on local forums will help her, etc.
Post # 7
@Bubblesmcgee: If the pics don’t come out perfectly or if she misses a moment… our lives will go on. And they will go on with a lot more money in our bank account. I was okay with risking that for the savings involved.
I completely agree.
It comes down to this : are your okay with the risk. It is a personal choice and nobody can judge you for following your gut instinct.
Post # 8
Thanks for your input 🙂 I will post a couple of his pictures here, hopefully I won’t get in trouble as I’ve seen a lot of other photos on this site from other sites… and his have the copyright on them.
Post # 9
@Bubblesmcgee: I agree with you… if we don’t get absolutely perfect wedding photos, I won’t collapse into a pile of self pity, and I will feel a lot better about not having wasted a bunch of money on it. It’s just photos.
Post # 10
@KateByDesign: I have looked at a number of photographers in the area, and her prices have been the best by far :-/ the next closest were $3500 for 8 hours, even though we only want the few hours. They didn’t seem to have an option for anything less. I found you either hire them for the day or you don’t. Only the one place has the elopement packages (that I have found).
Post # 11
@Rainstorm77: photographer here. those are great photos, but they’re not photos of PEOPLE. I would hire him for an engagement session at a similar time of day and see how he does. if you like those photos, you’re all good. directing people and helping them feel and look natural in front of a camera is a whole different ball of wax than finagling settings and a tripod to get a brilliant night cityscape.
i I always tell people who are considering going with someone who is inexperienced/less experienced that the setting makes all the difference. if you’re not involving any tricky lighting situations, then lesser equipment/experience has a better shot of getting great results.
Post # 12
@Rainstorm77: also, if you find someone you like, try writing to them. Ask for a quote for 2 hrs of coverage/file. the fact that it’s a ceremony + portraits will make a difference in pricing vs just a portrait session, but it should still be less. especially if it’s a weekday, an established photographer may be willing to accommodate you.
Post # 13
@Rainstorm77: These are photos of things and landscapes. i photograph people – and I’m TERRIBLE at things and landscapes, so you need to see how he photographs people.
Also, you take a risk by flying someone in – what happens if there’s a flight delay? Where is this guy based? I’d leave at least 1 full day from when he lands to when he has to photograph you to allow for travel shenanigans.
Post # 14
I personally don’t care for the quality of those photos. I’d go for the professional. Every time.
Post # 15
@cateyes: He does have photos of people but I didn’t want to post any pictures of people that I don’t know! They seem to be good to me – mainly action shots (surfers and a guy doing tricks on his bike etc) but you have given me an idea to go and set up a meeting with him beforehand to get a little shoot going just to see how the photos come out. I am sure he’d be willing. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂
@melonseeds: He lives about 40 minutes from me, and the DW is only 2 hours flight away. We were thinking of flying him up the day before the wedding so there is plenty of time in case the dreaded shenanigans of travelling kicks in!
Post # 16
@Rainstorm77: ummm yes. That photog can cetrainly handle a 6 person wedding. I bet the shots will be beautiful. My one caveat would be: give him a very detailed “shot list” in advance because he doesn’t know better. Assume nothing!