Sometimes you find a photographer that you really love but just can’t afford their price tag. Here are some tips for you to discuss with the photographer to help lower the cost so you can get the photography of your dreams.
Most photographers will negotiate their packages with you so don’t be afraid to ask. Just keep in mind we are businesspeople, and we do need to pay bills and make a profit just like everyone else. You shouldn’t expect your photographer to lower his price simply because you ask him to; if you want to pay less money, you’ll have to give something up. Here are some bargaining points that might help you get a lower price.
Just have one photographer
Some studios offer two or more photographers or assistants to help cover more aspects of your wedding day. Ask if you can have a discount if you only have one photographer cover your day or one of the assistants cover it instead of the main photographer. The photographer may say no because they really need their assistants with them but it never hurts to ask. It could save you a couple hundred dollars.
Skip the proofs.
Putting together proof albums is time-consuming. Your photographer might not mind shaving off a bit of the fee if he doesn’t have to spend time making proofs for you. Try asking if he will give you your prints in a box, or even simply images (edited and retouched) on a DVD. You may even save more if you accept them unedited because you’ll be saving your photographer even more time. With high-resolution images on DVD, you can upload the images to an online gallery, put together a proof album yourself, or print only your absolute favorites. You can also wait to make prints later, when your bank account has bounced back from the wedding. Of course getting the images on DVD may also be expensive so you could ask just to have the images displayed online or come to the photographer’s studio to view them so you can choose to only buy the ones you really want.
Have less coverage.
Many photographers offer unlimited time on your wedding day, from getting ready shots in the morning until the last guest departs the reception. That is a very long day for any photographer. Consider limiting coverage to the wedding ceremony and only two or three hours of the reception. (If you do this, plan for all your major “events” such as cake-cutting, bouquet toss, etc. to fall within that time period.) You might choose to only have photojournalistic coverage and skip all the family and bridal party formals that take a lot of time on your wedding day. If you really want those formals then only book ceremony and formal coverage at the church and let a friend shoot the reception for you.
Get rid of all the extras.
A lot of wedding photography packages are expensive because they include a lot of extras like the couples album, parent albums, enlargements, guest books, engagement sessions, etc. Ask the photographer to take some of those extras out. Let the parents order their own albums and reprints. You can always order your wedding album and reprints later after you have recovered your bank account. If your photographer offers the images on DVD you can always make these items yourself.
Get married in the off-season.
You’ll have far less bargaining power during the busy season April through October. But if your wedding is between November and March you might get lucky. (This tip is less relevant to brides and grooms who live in places with year-round warm weather.) Some photographers offer deals and discounts during these months to attract business.
Get married on a week day.
Just like the slow season between November and March, photographers will offer deals and discounts to fill their week day calendar with weddings. Ask your photographer if they will discount their price if you get married on Friday or Sunday or any other date of the week. You may find that you will get discounts on all your other vendors as well allowing you to book your photographer longer and include more options with your package.
Ask your photographer if they do a gift registry
Do you and your fiancé already have everything you need for the home? Most couples do now a days so why not register for gift certificates with your photographer and let your guests pay for your photography. If you’re worried you’ll get to many certificates just give the registry out to a select few.
Ask for suggestions.
Simply ask, “What can we do to lower the price?” Wedding photographers want your business. Your photographer might have some suggestions that you hadn’t even thought of, so don’t be afraid to ask.
None of these bargaining ideas are a guarantee, but a fair and reasonable approach will go a long way toward getting you a discount on those gorgeous wedding pictures.