Photography vs. Practicality

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: What kind of wedding photography should I have?
    Hire a professional or you'll regret it! : (143 votes)
    88 %
    Go with the photo booth + friend with camera! : (18 votes)
    11 %
    Do both and go into debt - you can't take it with you, right? : (1 votes)
    1 %
  • Post # 3
    325 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2016

    I think when you look back you’ll regret not having pictures of your day. No matter how laid back and geeky it is, it’s still your wedding day. You don’t need 500 pictures of your friends being silly. 

    Post # 4
    2630 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @cassclaw:  Are you 100% you’re okay with not having the quality and shots that a professional would capture? Be totally honest with yourself, and you’ll have your answer. Another option would be to contact some of the good photographers and ask what their rates would be for, say, two hours of shots to get the formal portraits and ceremony at a minimum. For the reception, you could set up a photshare website ahead of time, print up some cards with the site and instructions on how to upload, and ask your guests to take and share what they get! 

    Other options for photographers could be students who maybe would charge a low price in order to get material for their portfolios. You could also look through Craigslist for photographers who are just breaking into the wedding industry and are also looking for more exposure and portfolio material. That what I did for my first wedding and found a total steal of a photographer who now charges five times the prices I was quoted!

    The same advice goes for photobooths in case there are events businesses that are just getting off the ground. Alternatively, you could also DIY a wedding booth. There are several threads from bees who have had great success with theirs. Good luck!

    Post # 5
    11772 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2013

    The only two things you get after the wedding is the memory and the pictures (and I guess the marriage!)

    So I would definitely get professional pics!

    Post # 6
    1110 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2013


    I hate the ridiculous prices for photography too, and had to choose between a professional photographer or a photobooth as well.  I picked photographer, and I have NO regrets at all…

    I decided to splurge on the photography, but JUST the photography – no album, no prints, nothing. Just a thumb drive with all the digital images, and printing rights.  $1800, and I don’t regret a single penny of it.  I love the photos he got, and I know that I would have missed most of them if I went with a friend and a camera.

    I really love the photobooth idea. I originally wanted one, but ultimately couldn’t afford it, since I chose to go with the professional photographer. I love my pro photos so much that I don’t care that I didn’t have a photo booth (no regrets at all!!). 

    I had asked some of my friends before the wedding if I should have a photobooth, all of them said “yeah, go for it!! That sounds awesome!!” and sounded super excited about it.  However, afterward, when I brought it up, they all felt it wasn’t necessary. There was so much else going on, so much music, dancing, food, and celebrating, that it wasn’t like the party was “missing” anything. 


    So as much fun as a photobooth sounds, I personally chose the photography… and I’m very happy I did.

    HOWEVER… if the only photographers in your budget only take “meh” photos anyway…… it may change your decision… but if you go with option 2, I’d recommend anyone BUT a bridesmaid!!! Have a guest that isn’t quite as “involved” to take photos from the outside, especially for the ceremony. AND, be sure to have a list of “must have” photos for them to try to get!


    Best of luck on your decision, and congrats on the upcoming wedding!!

    Post # 7
    10384 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2010

    $500 won’t get you a pro, so either way, you’re basically getting a “friend with a camera”.

    I’d cut your budget somewhere else and up your photo budget.

    Post # 8
    785 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: March 2015

    @cassclaw:  honestly.. The only thing you’ll have left from your wedding are pictures. If you don’t get a professional photographer,  and a good photographer at that, get a videographer. Will you watch the video every day? No. Will you have something to remember your wedding day by? YES.

    One of the number 1 wedding regrets is either not getting a photographer or videographer or not getting a good one. 

    Post # 9
    93 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    You can get a decent photographer for 500, not someone that does it professionally but someone that does it on then side, that is what I charge for a friend of friend kind of thing. Either make a post of your Facebook to see if anyone can or on craigslist! You can find someone. I wouldn’t go without one though!

    Post # 10
    2133 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    I would splurge (within reason) on a photographer with wedding experience and try to cut costs elsewhere. I seriously look at our pictures probably on average once a week.

    If you’re SET on spending less than a grand on pictures perhaps look on Craigslist or something like that for photography students or aspiring Photographers wanting to start their portfolio? Not something I personally would want to do, but you never know! You may luck out and find a great deal! Good luck! 🙂

    Post # 11
    1109 posts
    Bumble bee

    I agree with lots of other ladies here, you aren’t just paying for a professional photographer’s time and your prints, you’re paying for their expertise. They know what is good lighting and what is bad and what kind of white balance they need and most importantly they know what happens at a wedding and what kind of pictures a bride usually wants.

    I would absolutely not hire a friend unless if they have a portfolio and have already done some weddings. Call me picky, but if you’re paying a lot of money for a wedding you should have pictures that reflect the amount of thought and time you put into it.

    Post # 12
    5162 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    MOST people value photography highly.  It sounds like you don’t.  There is nothing wrong with that.  As long as you are being realistic about what you’ll end up with, it’s ok.  (Suggestion, ask a friend if you can see the guest pics of her wedding vs the pro-pics.  Can you live with those guest pics?)

    In your case, I’d go for the fun photobooth that you actually sound excited about and other than that I’d depend on free/extremely low cost options for your photography.  Here are some links to articles with ways that different people have dealt with photography on a shoe string.

    The one thing I would NOT do is spend a signifigant amount of money on something that you think is just “meh.”  Sure, $500 is not a lot for a “normal” wedding photorgraphy budget, but its’ still a lot of money.  Don’t throw it away on something you don’t truly care about.  

    Post # 13
    3813 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

    Sorry, but I am also going to say that you will regret not having photos.  That being said, I think a previous poster already mentioned trying looking at craigslist, or maybe you can put out an ad at your local community college or school that does photography lessons.  Anything is better than nothing, and I don’t think you’ll regret capturing the memories.  ESPECIALLY when the day flies by SO fast.

    Post # 14
    2878 posts
    Sugar bee

    I probably won’t hire a professional. I can’t afford it, and to be honest, I’ve seen amateur pics that I loved way better than pros’. I’ve looked at dozens of professional portfolios until now (of photographers in my area), and none appeal to me. On the other hand, I saw beautiful pics taken by amateur photographers who’ve had this passion for years and have invested into good quality cameras over the years. One of my friends is a good example, she’s had a camera in her hand ever since she’s 12. Her photo sessions, which she posts on Facebook, are beyong amazing. 

    I’ve met a girl recently, she just turned 17 and she has been learning photography ever since she was 11. She still needs to perfect her art, but she’s extremely talented. FI and I looked at her portfolio and we were impressed. A professional probably wouldn’t and it’s okay, I understand they will see lack of technical aspects that we don’t know of. But as clients, we are looking for a particular feeling, and should I say a particular universe when we look at pictures. We found that in that young lady’s portfolio and we were enthusiastic about it. And we’re seriously thinking about encouraging such a young talent and hiring her. Plus, my FI being an infographist, I’m not worried about the end result; an amateur might not be as confident with the touch ups, but it’s my FI’s job ! 

    All that to say … there are many options you can consider before debts. If you can afford a professional and find one who will share the same ideas and aesthetics as you, do it ! If you can’t afford that money, look around : students, people who have been doing this and learning all by themselves over the year. Browse through many kinds of portfolios. And you can still have beautiful pictures even if they’re not ”pros”. 

    Post # 15
    4751 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I’ve never met anyone who regretted having a professional photographer, but I meet a ton of people who regret NOT having one.

    At the end of the day, you just need to decide if you really want it and if you value it enough to pay for it. At $500, you won’t get a professional in any capacity. In fact, at that rate you’ll probably end up with even a really bad amateur. You’d get the same quality at that rate as you would from a friend doing it for free – so save yourself the $500 and do it for free.

    Personally, I cannot imagine not having beautiful wedding images. It’s important to me. I love photography, and as a wedding photographer myself, it was a huge priority for me. It’s not a priority for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s all about managing expectations. 

    I would contact a photographer you love and see if they would quote you a rate for 2 hours – enough for the ceremony and formals only. Chances are, depending on your date, they won’t book a wedding that small until last minute but you aren’t planning on having a pro anyway you really won’t be out anything if they aren’t available. 

    Post # 16
    2305 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    I didn’t vote in the poll, because your situation presents a bit of a dilemma.

    I ADORE our wedding photos. Adore them. It’s 8 months later and I still flip through the photos on my laptop a couple of times a week. Not to mention I had a lot of close family who asked us to share our pro photos afterwards so that they could order prints (think: grandma).

    However, paying $500 for a ‘professional’ photographer isn’t going to get you those kind of pictures. And there is NOTHING worse than feeling like you threw money away.

    I’d try to cut some money from a few other areas to up my photography budget.

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