(Closed) 3k or less budget brides – how much for photographer?

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
1359 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My Fiance and I are both artists, so we’re picky about photography, and yet we are having a small, intimate wedding and not spending a lot. Definitely no more than 5k, but hopefully closer to 3k. Anyway, this is what we’re doing – we’re going to get “wedding” portraits made the morning of our wedding, basically it will be like engagement photos except we will be in our wedding gear. This way we can choose who we really want to work with … I expect to pay somewhere between $400 and $600 depending on who we go with. Then we will have a few digital cameras (that we already own) and give them to people we trust to have a decent eye and ask them to just photograph the day as they see fit. 


It’s probably not for everyone, but for us personally we don’t care about capturing all the traditional “moments” and group shots, we just want a record of our day and us looking fabulous and being in love. 

Post # 4
1398 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Any professional website you look at will probably be a lot 🙁 I would still leave maybe 4-500 in the budget for a photographer and do this:

First post on craigslist asking for a photographer willing to work with a budget.


Next go to local colleges where you know there are photography classes. Post flyers there, and ask their career services department if they can help you find a student photographer.For $400, I bet a student would jump at the chance to put that in their portfolio! (I went to art school and I know people did this all the time)


Allocate a family member or two to get all your necessary pictures, and leave money in the budget (instead of hiring a photographer) to hire a retoucher – I work in photoshop all the time, and giving photographs a vintage or soft look is pretty easy, and with all the photos you can get after the wedding, I’m sure you’ll be able to put together at least 50 that you love.

Post # 5
4582 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Our budget is somewhere around $7 – $8K, but my fiance is bad at budgeting so I honestly have no idea how we’re doing with that (awful, I know).

We chose the middle package of our photographer’s three options, which is around $1500. We primarily chose him because he did the weddings of two other couples we know, their photos came out great and the guy is just so nice and such a pleasure to work with.

Post # 6
3977 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Our budget is around 5k and I’m paying $1000. If you want a professional that’s about as low as you can get.

If you need to go much cheaper, you’ll have to get creative. Friends of friends. Craigslist with a lot of consultations/trust. Or just a friend if you’re not really interested in having perfect pictures.

Post # 8
2 posts
  • Wedding: April 2011

Our budget is $3000. The photographer we are choosing is charging $700. She does it par time, but she does amazing work and we really like her and her personality. I thought $700 was reasonable. We get 6 hrs of coverage and each additional hour is $50. We get the First Glance which is included. We get a mini session for me and one for him, the bridal party and family pics, color enhancements, minor image edits, and everything is uploaded to the online gallery. The only thing I wish is that we could get a cd. We can, but there will only be 100 images on there. Anyway, I think we are getting a good deal for the price and we are sticking with her.

Post # 9
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

We went a little untraditional here.  We have a great girlfriend who is doing our photography.  She is a professional, but only does on location work.  We are having a destination wedding, so we are covering her over night expenses and giving her $500.  This will not include any printed pictures, but she will give us every picture retouched on CDs.  She is guessing we will get a few hundred.  We will have the added expense of printing our own, but at least this way we can get what we want and when budget allows. 

Post # 10
42 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

We are spending quite a bit on our photographer 1500. BUT she is a personal friend and is listed in national bride magazines so 1500 is cheap for her.

My suggestion would be to find amatuer photographers who are just starting out.  Of course, make sure they have a portfolio or proof of their work.  They will be most likely to chop down to a LOW price and some will do it for almost free because it will build up their portfolio.

When I first started looking, I went on modelmayhem.com and sites like that where there is a definite mixture of professional and amatuer photographers.  You can search by state and post a want ad.  They will flock to you then. And the site is nice because their work is usually posted.  Keep in mind though, that because it is a model site, there may be limited wedding pictures, but you will be able to see their style of work regardless.

Hope this helps!

Post # 11
17 posts
  • Wedding: December 2012

I have to tell you, if you hire amatuer – you will get amatuer work!!!! THIS IS YOUR WEDDING! The most important day of your life. Wedding photos are an investment well worth the money to hire PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS that way you know you will get the best representation. I’m sure not going to hire any college people to take my photos. I want the BEST!!! If you’re going to spend good money on a cake, a dress, food, flowers, why would you skimp on photos!??????

I just got engaged but I have several friends who used this photographer and their price is very reasonable…so I’m going to hire them too.. If I were you I’d check them out …. http://www.MistiMorningstar.com


Post # 12
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I budgeted around 10-12% for photography and videography.  This was tough but we found someone we were happy with that created a package for us.  

Post # 13
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We’re budgeting 1500 for photography.  All of the photographers i love are between 1500-3000, they take beautiful pictures & do cool effects & editing. Luckily found one that I love & will give us a discount actually putting us under budget!! I looked everywhere! I was shocked to find amazing pro photographers on craigslist!!

Post # 14
1312 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Our photographer is going to be the same person who did our family/engagement photos. She charged us for the engagement session $75 for the sitting fee and then I bought the home right to all photos (all ohotos edited on a CD) for $500. I will end up doing the same for our wedding pictures.

Post # 15
4109 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

My budget is 4k and we’re going w/ a graphic artist/designer/photographer who my fiance already knows, so we’ll be paying basically nothing, but I have budgeted for a nice surprise tip for him as a thank you. I’d say either go w/ the amatuer idea or scour craigslist/colleges as mentioned above (that’s what I would do if we didn’t have this option)- just because somebody is young and/or just starting out does not mean they aren’t talented or that your photos won’t turn out beautiful IMO. 

Post # 16
609 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We are trying to keep the total budget around $3000-3500. We got lucky and  I have two options for a photographer depending on where I finally settle for the location (I’m having an out of town wedding). My best friends sister in law is starting up a photography studio, she did our family pictures back in November & only charged me $50 & then I paid for the prints which she ordered through a professional site. The pictures turned out great! She may do the pictures & is getting me a price quote for it but then again I’d have her the entire day. My aunt’s bestfriens daughter owns her own studio & has shot pictures for a lot of weddings, etc & her prices are amazingly cheap! For the entire day & the highest package I think its just at $1000. But even for an entire day but not as much included its half that price.

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