Don't want to take out a second mortgage just for the sake of hiring a 'real' photographer?
You'll be glad to know that there is an alternative...DIY wedding photography! Don't let the naysayers put you off...
Why Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer Might Not Be For You
Let's get this straight.
There is nothing wrong with hiring a professional wedding photographer.
You want to ensure you have beautiful pictures of your special day that you can cherish forever.
We totally understand.
There is absolutely a difference between the quality of photography from friends and professionals (unless your friend happens to be Robert Evans!)
But for some happy couples, forking out hundreds, or thousands on a professional wedding photographer and subsequently ending up in debt, is just not an option.
With that being said, here are some of the main reasons brides and grooms are politely declining the services of professional wedding photographers:
1. The average cost of professional wedding photographers is making you feel nauseous and there is no way that your budget will stretch that far.
2. You have had a bad experience with professional photographers at your friend's wedding and don't want to make your guests feel as uncomfortable as you did.
3. You flipped through your parents wedding album which only had a handful of photographs and feel that would be enough for you.
4. You've applied the infinite monkey theorem and have decided that if you get enough people snapping pics, you're bound to get some album worthy shots.
5. You have a bunch of friends (even one will do!) who are pretty handy with the DSLR and take great photos.
If you're considering DIY wedding photography and you haven't heard the famous 'after the wedding all you have left is the photographs', then rest assured you will.
Relying on friends and family to capture this once in a lifetime experience can be scary, especially after hearing all the horror stories about former brides ending up with a load of crappy shots and wishing they could do it all again with a professional.
The most important thing to remember though is professional or not, you could still end up with trash bound pics (plus you might also find yourself crawling your way out of debt when you should be enjoying your life as newlyweds!)
The real trick is in the planning.
Most couples that complain about not going pro, admit that almost all of their regrets could have been avoided with better organization.
Top Tips for DIY Wedding Photography
Don't Let Your Guests Get Stressed
Make it clear that first and foremost you want people to enjoy themselves and that they shouldn't feel the need to document every single moment.
Let them know from the get go that you're all for them putting the cameras down and shaking their booty on the dance floor!
Rent Professional Equipment
From lenses and flashes to tripods or in some cases cameras, professional equipment can make a world of difference to the overall quality of your photographs.
If you've got more than one friend who can help you out with the photography be sure to share the responsibilities, especially the nerve wracking ones such as the exchanging of the vows, first kiss, speeches, cake cutting, and first dances.
This way no one person has to feel responsible for capturing the entire wedding.
Ask Your Family What Pictures They Would Like to See
Whether you're a fan of big smiling groups, chances are your parents and other family members are!
Asking your family what they want is a great way to get ideas and make them feel included in the process.
Give (Specific) Directions
Depending on how much of a control freak you are, be sure to give directions to your appointed photographers.
Not only will this help them to understand what you are hoping for and the kind of photos that you want, it will also give them the confidence they need to get those killer shots.
Buy a Polaroid
Buy a cheap Polaroid camera, along with some film, and ask a few of your friends and family to pass it around during the wedding.
You'll have instant fun, stylish and quirky photographs to add to your album.
Let the Kids Join In
Adults shouldn't get to have all the fun.
Get a few cheap digital cameras with big memory cards online, charge them up to the max and let the kids at the wedding take part in the photography too.
You'll get extra special pics from the little ones perspective.
Central Photo Sharing Site
Create a Flickr or other photo sharing account and distribute the info to everyone at the wedding.
Asking your guests to upload their images to a single location will make it so much easier for you to access them all.
Set Up a Photo Dump Station
If you're super impatient and the thought of waiting for your photos is killing you, or you fear they may get lost in translation, then why not set up a photo dump station at the wedding reception and ask everyone to offload their pics there?
All you have to do is have a a multi-card reader and a laptop at the ready, and enlist the help of a tech savvy friend.
Hire a Pro for Post Production
A professional photo editor will be able to take your favorite images from the day, and with little effort, make them look super chic.
You might not be able to afford the whole shebang, but you may be able to stretch to a retoucher to add that extra glam factor.
DIY Wedding Photography - Pros
1. Seeing what each different photographer thought was worth documenting
2. 360 degree view of your most cherished moments
3. A whole host of exciting perspectives
4. Free or ridiculously cheap wedding photography
5. Not having to wait months for editing - you'll get your hands on all the photos within a few days!
DIY Wedding Photography - Cons
After listing all the amazing pros we thought it would be only fair to list the cons.
Alas, there is only one!
1. Sorting through the thousands of images you will almost definitely end up with (if you can call that a con)
If You Must Have a Professional Wedding Photographer...
Then here are some awesome ideas without breaking the bank:
Let the Photographers Come to You
Set your budget then post your request on Craigslist spelling out exactly what you want and how much you are willing to pay.
You'll be overwhelmed by the results.
Yes, you'll get a few fools with cameras trying to make a quick buck, and most likely a whole host of hobbyists, but you'll also get some seriously good leads from reputable pros with well established businesses.
Can't get your head around why pros would be willing to accept your terms and conditions for way less than they normally charge?
Truth is it's just business.
When business is slow people will take what they're being offered.
Ring Round the Colleges and Universities
Students can be your best friend when it comes to getting cheap, or even free, wedding photography.
Drop by the local colleges and universities in your area and post a few flyers with your request.
Another way to do it is to send an email, or drop a line to the head of the department and ask if they can put you in touch with any students that may be interested in the opportunity.
Find a Newbie
If you can find a newbie photographer who is in the process of building their portfolio, you might be able to convince them to shoot your wedding for free.
When trying to build a credible portfolio, nothing beats real world experience and testimonials that photographers can then share with potential clients.
Exploit this by giving them just what they need in exchange for a day's worth of free shots.
Don't Let It Get To You
Some people will cringe at the idea of DIY wedding photography, others will see it as a creative and artistic way to capture their special day - everyone is different.
All that really matters is that you're happy!
Are you thinking of DIY wedding photography for your nuptials?
Share your thoughts or fears with us in the comments below...