My Photographer Dilemma!

Over the past week or so I’ve been looking for a new wedding photographer. I had a family friend who was going to take our wedding pictures for free as a gift to us, until the flash on his camera broke when he was taking pictures at a baby shower a couple of weekends ago. He said to replace the flash is going to cost $700 which he does not have.

This is a real bummer, because having this service for free was really going to save us a lot of money. I started looking around for photographers and I couldn’t believe the prices. The really good ones are anywhere from $2000-$3000. I do want really nice pictures, but not at that price. I started looking for recent university graduates that were trying to break into the industry and build their portfolio. I found one that I really liked, so future hubby and I went to meet with her on Monday.

Everything was going quite well in our meeting, I had my questions laid out and she answered them well, until I asked her about a contract. She said she doesn’t do contracts. Huh?! No contracts I said, and she said no contracts as if I was crazy for asking. I knew we wouldn’t be using her services at that point, but since we were already there, I started asking more questions such as how many locations is she willing to go to for pictures. Such as my place, the church, park and restaurant. Some photographers have a limited number of places they will travel to, so I thought I would ask. She then tells us that she doesn’t have a car. Huh?! Hold on, what’s your occupation again? How are you a photographer and don’t have a car? She said I would be responsible for getting her to the different locations.

photographer dilema

I could just see this playing out on the day of my wedding. We plan to use my brother’s convertible to transport us on the day and my immediate family will drive my car. So if we actually agreed to this madness, the photographer would drive with my family in my car with her big bag and tripod as she put it. I could just see my family in the back seat with this girl wondering why I was so cheap to hire a photographer that doesn’t drive.

Anyway, that won’t be happening! Her price of $500 for 8 hours and her beautiful pictures on her website is what made me reach out to her, but now I am wondering if the pictures are really hers.

I am now on the hunt for another photographer. I have contacted a few more and have checked out some packages online and the prices seem to be $1000 for 8 hours. To go from $0-$1000 is a hard pill for me to swallow. I really don’t want to spend that much, especially since I am trying to keep this wedding on a budget. This would definitely put us over the amount we want to spend.

Talking to family about this hasn’t been helpful because they think $1000 is cheap and I am thinking it’s expensive to take a few pictures. I don’t even want printed pictures, because I am going to do a photo book.

Do you think $1000 is too much to pay for a wedding photographer? I forgot about taxes, that means it will actually be $1130, Gheesh! Maybe they’ll take $1000 if I pay cash.

24 comments

  1. I have been into photography for years, and always find it amazing to hear people are charging $1000 – $1500 for a wedding. I understand the gear is expensive, but its a little crazy for me.

    I think I need to reconsider doing weddings and investing in some more gear!

  2. My brother did our photography with a $150 camera. Photos were fine for our needs.

    Just a thought, if hiring a photographer would cost more than it takes to replace the flash on the friend's camera, why not just pay him the $700?

  3. Michelle says:

    I would be 100% confident with your photographer. The number 1 regret I hear from people I know is that they went too cheap or didn't research enough and have horrible pictures.

  4. bogofdebt says:

    I'm with Edward Antrobus on just paying your friend the $700. Yikes that one photographer sounds a little…off. I'm researching photographers or will be for my reception and I know that I don't want to go extremely cheap or get a horrible one. And maybe try the university again but look for students? Some are trying to buuild up portfolios before they graduate I'm sure.

  5. Madison says:

    We were on a pretty small budget for our wedding a few years ago too. Most photographers I came across online that I liked were way out of our price range. They were charging $1500 for bare minimum.

    I happened to be browsing around on craigslist for some reason one day and came across a wedding photographer package someone was offering. It was 6 hours for somewhere between $800(can't remember). Turns out they were mainly a sports and portrait photographer that were trying to get into the wedding business. What they had in their portfolio already was amazing. They had done one wedding already and those pictures were stunning. Ours was their third wedding. They were offering this great deal to just get more clients and expand their portfolio. And they did a fantastic job with our wedding. Their packages now range from 1400-2500.

    All that was to say that maybe you could find an up and coming photographer to use. It worked out really well for us, so maybe it would for you too. Otherwise, I'll third Edward's suggestion and pay for your friend's camera to be fixed.

  6. Madison says:

    whoops, apparently I forgot to add that it was between $600-800.

  7. I was going to say the same thing — buy your family friend a new flash if that's the route you were going to go with in the first place!

  8. Kylie Ofiu says:

    I'd go the 'buy the flash' route as it will probably be cheapest anyway.

    Wedding photography in Australia is usually $5 – 10K, so $1000 woud be a bargain. As it is, we didn't have a photographer at all. We had photo's taken, we had a camera of our own friends snapped pics for us on and my relatives all wanted shots on there own cameras, so they all offered to send their fav pics to us. My most treasured pictures from the day are a couple my uncle took that no one realized.

    My brother just paid $10k and while there were lots of nice pictures, it wasn't worth $10K.

    I'd be wary of that photographer you saw. A wedding photographer really should have a car I think. Other photography it's not so important, but wedding it is.

    Good luck!

  9. Here's what I'd do if you have a $1,000 wedding budget.

    Put up an ad on Craigslist and ask for photographers who can meet your budget to email you their info and website. I'd say for $1,000 will probably get you 3-4 hours with a newish but not-brand-new photorpaher.

    Go through the responses and websites and get a shortlist of 5-7 photographers. Ask to see pictures for an entire shoot (i.e. not just the best pictures from 10 different weddings, but all the pictures from ONE wedding). See if they fit with the style you envision for your photos.

    Make sure to skype / meet potential photographers. Make sure to have a contract. Make sure you get "user's rights" to your photos – this ensures that you have the rights to use your pictures for personal purposes.

    I think you can get what you want for $1,000. Good luck!

  10. If you need to pay $1000 to a photographer you don't know then why not paying the old one $700 for now and asking him to return as much as he can later on?

  11. I have a friend who took similar pictures. He charges around $600. So do you have any other friends who are expert photographers?

  12. […] up for my newsletter in the right sidebar. Thanks for visiting!If you’re just tuning in to my photography dilemma, I am on the hunt for a photographer for my wedding. There’s been a bit of drama, but I am […]

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  15. Hannah says:

    As a student photographer, even I know 1000 is very, very cheap for wedding photos. If you want any type of experienced person, they will charge at least 1500+. And those are the people who are just decent. Real photographers who specialize in weddings have thousands of dollars invested in their equipment. Their 4 lenses will all cost 1-2k and the camera 2k+. Their backup camera too. I didn’t even mention their flash or their second shooter. What about that 2k computer they use to edit or that Wacom tablet?? They will have reliable transportation and use software costing around 600+ to edit your photos. They will be spending 4 hours planning, 8 hours photographing, and 20+ hours editing. And you will probably only get 250 photos back.
    People always think photographers have an easy job and make tons of money for snapping a couple pics and putting them on a cd, but a true photographer will do so much more and will not settle for a low price.

  16. goals says:

    […] planned a somewhat stress free wedding in 7 […]

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