(Closed) Anyone NOT hire a photographer?

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 32
285 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I decided to go with two friends who are very talented photographers, although neither of them do it as their professional wedding.  They said it would be their gift to me to do it, which was awesome.  I am paying for any extra lenses they want to rent though, so they can get some great shots, and am putting them up for the night in a hotel.

They are going to take photos for us before and during the ceremony, and just a few at the reception, but I told them not to do too much, as I want them to have fun too. 

Afterwards, they are going to pick just a few of their favourites to work on, but not go crazy doing tons of post work. They will then send me the raw images, and if there is anything else extra I want work done on, I can talk with them later about paying them for some extra time.

It’s a pretty awesome deal, but what I do understand, and what you would have to as well if you went this route, is that if you are for some reason NOT satisfied with the results, you have no one to blame but yourself! At least with a professional if you were very unhappy or they did a poor job you might be able to get your money back or demand a reshoot or something.  With this, you get what you get.


I’m confident mine will work out great, and if you are a pretty laid back person with a couple of talented friends who are willing to help you out, I would say go for it!

Post # 33
447 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Make a list of all your family members who looooooove to take pictures (my dad, for instance, is one of those guys professional photogs hate, because he’s walking around the ceremony the whole time with a camera glued to his face, getting in the way). Ask that person if they can take some portraits of the wedding party and then gather pics from friends and family members afterward. The photos you get won’t be professional – my dad’s pictures are great, but when I put them next to a professional’s, it’s clear who does this as a hobby and who does it for their job – but at least you’ll have something. If you have a nice camera, have the wedding party take pictures with it during the reception – they can pass it off to each other so no one’s stuck with it all night. I think the key is putting aside some time so SOMEONE can take some family photos. It’s so rare to have so many of your nearest and dearest in one place – get that family portrait!

Post # 34
2368 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

View original reply
@jmaze:  +1. respect for u guys as photogs!!! exactly – in winter there arent half as many weddings so how are u meant to survive otherwise!
my photographer was $2000 and my videographer was $1000 – and it was worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY and id never take back spending the money.
its soooo worth it – after your day all you will have are your memories and some guest photos – which technically are fine but the professional photog gets photos that no guest will ever think of. small details, long and close range shots that arent blurry, moment shots like first kiss etc – that a guest wont get because they are too busy enjoying themselves.
this is the one day in your life that you will spend that money on a photographer – you wouldnt bother for any other reason, so why not? its the biggest day of your life!

trust me you will regret not getting one – IMHO!!!!!!!!

Post # 35
44 posts
  • Wedding: July 2013

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@remijp:  There are no photos of my FH’s grandparents weddings. They got married in times of hardship. But you know what? There are hundreds of photos of their beautiful lives together. Your wedding is only the begining of a lifetime of happy, special moments, some will be captured, some won’t. It’s ok not to have wedding photos. My number 1 priority for the wedding is having a nice day with FH and our family and friends.



If pro photography is important to you and you can afford it, then great! But if not, it’s absolutely untrue that “all you’ll have left” is your poor non-pro photographs… with any luck, you’ll have an awesome marriage.


I can choose to spend thousands of dollars remembering the day, or I can spend those thousands actually entertaining the people I love. I’d rather do that.


Having said that, I am a believer in having a few — a few! — formal shots. Don’t have to be taken by a professional, but posed. My grandparents don’t have any and just a single formal photo of their wedding day would have meant a lot to them… even if the angle or light were every-so-slightly suboptimal.


But I don’t think anyone needs photoessays of the bridesmaids putting on makeup, or closeups of shoes/rings/dresses without anyone inside them, or soft-focus shots of entwined hands… just a nice picture or two for posterity. If you want those things and can afford them, mazel tov. But don’t waste a minute feeling badly that you can’t.


/rant off.


My plan is to take a dozen formals and then just enjoy the rest of the event. And if my wedding never ends up in stylemepretty? That’s a-ok.


Post # 36
6351 posts
Bee Keeper

I’ll be hiring a reasonably priced one, with shared rights to the photos I just paid for (I see no reason to pay for photos I don’t at least co-own). I suggest you look at photographers who haven’t specifically marketed themselves as “bridal” and negotiate the contract with them.

I share your bewilderment about what some bridal photographers charge for what they provide, and that they are actually able to find customers!

Post # 37
6496 posts
Bee Keeper

Photography was important to us; we originally set our budget at £1000 ($1500), including albums, but quickly uppped it to £2500 ($3750), excluding albums, after seeing what was on offer at the lower end, and realising that what we wanted (very specific tastes) doesn’t come cheap.

HOWEVER: our budget is around £21,000 ($31,000), excluding rings and honeymoon (which bump it up to the £28,000/$42,000 mark); so, we did have it in the budget to spend that kind of money.

Not everyone can, or wants, to spend that kind of money; and yes, I think spending what we are on photography if your budget is, say, less than $15,000 in total, is pretty obscene. I also find it quite patronising when people feel the need to point out that you won’t get an amazing, experienced photographer for less than x amount because most people know that’s the case; they just can’t spend any more, so, it’s irrelevant. Ultimately, you get the best you can, in your budget.

If we’d had a small budget, we’d have done one of the following:

Seen if a friend/friend of a friend could cut us a deal

Asked friends/family to take plenty of photos, and hope some came out well

Spoken to local universities/colleges, and got one or two students to shoot the day for a minimal fee

Considered hiring a reasonably-priced professional whose work we liked for a smaller part of the day (eg we’re getting 12 hours coverage, so we’d have found someone just to shoot the ceremony and some formal shots, reducing the time to maybe 3 hours)

Had we done any of the above, we’d have understood we may not get jaw-droppingly amazing shots; but honestly, if we didn’t have much to spend, I think we’d have been happy just to have the day documented, even if the photos weren’t amazing.

Post # 38
74 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We will go with no pro Photogrpher. We will thou get my dad and some of our friends that are taking a lot of photos and who have good camera have a photo session with us. 

Post # 39
40 posts
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’ve kind of lucked out in this department, because I’m a photography teacher myself, and have several old friends/students who’ve offered their time for a fraction of what they should be charging. As some have already suggested, finding a student is a great option. I LOVE when such opportunites arise for my own students, and most of them agree to charge only what’s needed to cover equipment and other essentials. If you have any colleges around that have a decent photography department, definitely reach out to them. You can totally ask to see a portfolio, so you’re not going into anything completely blind. Even an ameture is better than nothing though. 🙂

Post # 40
7973 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I also find it insane that people are so aggressive when this topic comes up. I remember posting that we couldn’t afford a pro photographer on the bee before, and then I got a long rant from a pro photographer about how little she earns. I did her sums, and then said… “hang on though… you still make a lot more than I do!”

Her response: well, if you really only earn that much, you shouldn’t have a wedding at all. You should just elope.

Hang on a sec: If I can’t afford your services, I should just elope? WTF?

If the money is not in the budget, it’s not in the budget. And photography is a huge problem because it is expensive, and it’s hard to cut back on. Sure, you can ask for photos on disk rather than an album, and only have one shooter etc… but beyond that then you’re sort of stuck. That’s why people need advice.

We were going to borrow equipment from my employer, and get friends to shoot with it. Lots of people take photos as a hobby nowadays. However, in the end then a friend of a friend was starting out in the photography business and offered to do ours. Sounds good to me. Try students etc… lots of advice here!

Post # 41
289 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My sister used her husband’s Brother-In-Law as her official photograher (apparently he had some experience) and she was pretty disappointed. He didn’t really take the kind of photos she wanted (ie natural etc) and didn’t edit the photos either. She ended up going to one of thos online stores to make a photo album. 

Luckily one of her other friends was trying to get into the wedding photography business and also took photos – her work was fantastic. She was definitely lucky that this friend also took photos – these are the ones she used in the wedding photo.


Post # 42
1478 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - Creek club at ion, SC

Ahhh the dreaded photographer post!!


I seriously lucked out. I was on craiglist (seriously recommend if on budget) and there were various competition or amazing deals and stuff from pro photogs who were trying to expand into the area. I went with a photg who was a former SCAD student (someone recommended SCAD students to me on weddingbee – what would i do without this site) who was happy to come home to SC, where shes originally from and do my photos. Since that she has more than double her prices. 




If you want a cheaper photog I also recommend looking super early as to give yourself enough time to find the absolut best deals


While I understand photogs have to make a living, and i understand now why its necessary to charge what they charge. It still seems expensive to most of us when looking at pics for the first time and not what we expected cos you never had to pay that much for photos ever. It irritates me when a few photogs on her go off on a newbee because shes sticker shocked (something she will get over and eventually understand) …. theres just no need for it. 


Post # 43
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’m not hiring a photographer for my wedding in September. I have a friend who is a (very) amateur photographer who is going to take pics and is so excited that she can be a special part of our day. She is researching and practising at the moment and we’ll do some practise shots around the venue before the day. I feel like I’ll be so much more relaxed and able to enjoy the day without being directed by photographer.

It also makes me a bit sad that we seem to be basing so much of how we value our wedding experiences on how perfect the photos are. I understand that professional photo editing takes a long time, but so what if you had a stray hair? Photos for me are about memories of what actually happened while I was present at my wedding.


Don’t get me wrong though, photography is art and if that’s your priority, go for it!

Post # 44
7578 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

No one should be obligated to hire a photographer. If photos aren’t a priority to you, there’s no harm in that. I know plenty of people that just feel the photos aren’t a priority, they can’t tell the difference in professional photography vs snapshots enough to justify the cost. That’s TOTALLY fine. 

For the majority of brides photos ARE really important, and that’s when you hear people saying “hire a professional, you’ll regret it”….they’re speaking from their own heart about how important it is to them. As a photographer, I tell all my inquires that only they can decide what they want to spend their money on. If they spend 4k with me but photos aren’t important, and they only spent that much because they assumed it’s what you should do, they’re going to be unhappy no matter how great the results – becuase they don’t see the value in it. 

Obviously photos were important to me, as a photographer. However, flowers were not. I could NOT jusitfy the cost of floral centerpieces (because I had 28 tables). I would have rather put that money into food and photography. Because of that I opted for non-florals to save on money. I would not expect anyone to tell me I’d regret it, and I don’t regret it one bit!

Post # 45
7578 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@Patience88:  I think people are concerned becuase some people love beautiful photography. I think the main time you hear people argue against the cost is because they do love it. Not everyone is against seeing a person hire an amature or have a friend shoot. THe main point is that the bride has realistic expectations of what the final product will be. You can’t expect professional work from someone who isn’t professional. Everyone I know who had a friend shoot was more than happy with their photos, none of them regret it, because they did not have expectations of great photography. The main time you hear regret is from someone WANTING professional photos but hired an amature. Obviously they were dissapointed because their expectations were not in line with who they hired.

Post # 46
274 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’m not hiring one.

Why do you need a bunch of POSED professional photos, is my take on it. EVERYONE has a digital camera nowadays. And your wedding pics will be shared via facebook or just ask people to send you a disc!

I went to a wedding where each guest chair had a little notecard on it that said something along the lines of “Please be our wedding photographers. Take as many pictures as you want and post them on our wedding website or provide us with a disc and we’ll love you forever.”

They got a ton of great photos posted to their site! Just me alone contributed over 200 pics!

I think it’s silly spending so much money on something you can get for free. I’ve got better things to spend my money on.

But.. I understand I guess. I just don’t over-romanticize the occasion as much as most brides, lol.


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