How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 02/20/24
How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography

How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 02/20/24

Part of the Wedding

How to Save Money on Wedding Photography and Videography

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 02/20/24

Your wedding day is filled with many precious moments you want to remember, so wedding photography is one area of the wedding cost couples don’t want to skimp on. According to the Knot’s annual Real Weddings Study, the average couple paid around $2,300 for their photos. That being said, there are ways you can save on your wedding photography and videography to stay within your budget. 

It’s not easy finding cheap wedding photographers, but here are our top 8 tips that will help you save money on wedding photos & videos.

Plan Ahead & Book Early

Planning ahead is always wise; it gives you time to consider your wedding budget, check out average prices and shop around. So, ensure to include photographers in the early stages of the wedding planning process

Some photographers offer discounts for booking early, so consider securing your photographer shortly after you’ve set a date. 

Note that even if you don’t get a discount for booking early, you could still save money if the photographer’s prices increase over the year.

Consider a Newer Photographer or a Student

Student Photographer
If your wedding budget is lower and you cannot justify the cost of a professional wedding photographer, consider hiring a new photographer or a student from a local university. Students or not-yet-established photographers are a great way to save money on wedding photography.

Hire a Local Photographer

Depending on the location of your wedding, the photographer may charge extra for travel to the wedding venue. So, consider hiring someone local – this is particularly important if you are considering a destination wedding

Additionally, if you have the ceremony and reception at the same location, you can save money on photography. Not only will you save money on travel between sites, but it will be easier and take less time for portraits between the ceremony and the reception.

Get a Referral

If you have friends or family who were recently married or are in the wedding industry, they may refer you to a great wedding photographer. Or, if you’ve found a photographer you love who is outside your budget, they may recommend another local photographer that fits your budget.

Look at Wedding Photo Packages

Many wedding photographers will have wedding packages that can bundle their services to save you money. Before looking at the packages, determine your priorities for wedding photos and the most important moments to capture so you can get the best package and aren’t convinced to include something you don’t want to or need. 

How to figure out what photos you want to prioritize:

  • Do you want engagement photos? Some couples want to have engagement photos for themselves, while others use these for their wedding website. Some photographers may include an engagement shoot as part of their packages. 
  • Do you want to capture pre-wedding moments like getting ready for the ceremony with your wedding party? Putting on your wedding dress or suit?
  • Which moments of the wedding are most important to capture? Many couples want to capture the ceremony, the first look, the first kiss, the first dance, cutting the wedding cake, etc . 
  • How much of the reception do you want to be captured?

What’s Included in a Wedding Photography Package

What is included in a wedding photography package?
Wedding photography packages will vary depending on the photographer, but here are some things you can expect to see:

  • Photography coverage on the day (typically a certain number of hours provided)
  • A second photographer
  • A pre-wedding session (can be used as an engagement photo session)
  • Wedding photographs – Album of digital images that are edited, digital photo files, raw images, or some combination  
  • Printed photos or album

Another option – your wedding venue may have photographers that can be included in the price, which may be cheaper than hiring an outside vendor.

Limit the Hours

Photography time
Once you’ve determined the photos you want to prioritize, you can choose the hours you want to have a photographer. If you can limit the overall time you have with the photographer, you can likely save some money. 

The biggest questions to ask yourself when determining the hours you need a photographer to shoot are:

  1. Do you want to capture pre-wedding moments like getting ready?
  2. Do you need them to capture the entire reception?

If you’re on a tight wedding budget, you likely don’t need them to capture getting ready or shoot the entire reception. Plan to have the crucial moments of your reception, like toasts, cake cutting and the first dance, earlier in the night to limit time. 

Forgo the Videography

No videography
It appears less common for couples to spring for a wedding videographer, and choosing to do so could help you save money. 

But how do you decide if a wedding videographer is worth it? You’re already paying for a professional photographer, after all, right? 

Pros and Cons of Wedding Videography

The biggest con of hiring a wedding videographer is the cost. A wedding videographer can cost as much as a photographer, which effectively doubles the amount you spend on capturing memories at your wedding. 

The two biggest reasons you should consider hiring a videographer are capturing the memories with sound and capturing the event more holistically.

A videographer captures memories differently than photos – you’ll be able to hear the speeches and vows, not just see the still images of these moments. Additionally, you may be able to see moments you didn’t see the first time because everything goes by quickly, and you and your partner aren’t able to be a part of every guest interaction. Many videographers can also create short films that tell the story of your wedding day in a way that is easy to rewatch and share with others.

Hiring a wedding videographer is a personal decision that should be based on your budget and priorities. A wedding video can be a beautiful and emotional way to capture your special day. Still, weighing the cost against your other wedding expenses is essential. Ultimately, the decision should be based on what’s most important to you and your partner.

Alternatives to Professional Wedding Photography and Videography

One effective alternative to hiring a professional wedding photographer or videographer we already mentioned is hiring a newer photographer who may have lower rates or a student photographer, but are there other alternatives that can save you money but still help you capture your wedding day?

Friends with a camera is one option to consider. Some couples have opted to have disposable cameras on the tables at the wedding reception for their guests to take photos and later get developed. Additionally, most of your friends and family members have a smartphone. They will likely be taking pictures anyways, so consider asking them to share the photos they take with you. Consider setting up an online album where guests can upload their photos or have a wedding hashtag where guests can tag any photos they post on social media for you to find. 

Consider asking if any of your friends or family have a DSLR and are interested in shooting your wedding. They may consider shooting your wedding for free. It is also possible you have a budding photographer among your guests. 

Of course, there are downsides to opting out of a professional wedding photographer or videographer, mainly the photo quality. So, ensure you’ve thought it through before entirely opting out. 

Wedding Photography FAQs

Why Do Wedding Photographers Charge So Much?

One of the most significant factors that lead to the cost of wedding photography is the editing time. Many photographers take dozens of photos seconds apart to ensure they capture the moment. In the editing process, they have to go through each of these photos to find the best ones before starting the digital editing portion. You also have to consider all the time they invest before even getting to the wedding; this likely includes the initial meetings to discuss booking the photographer and what you’re looking for in your wedding photographer and any pre-wedding shoots. 

How Many Photos Do You Get?

Typically, you can expect approximately 100 photos per hour of shooting, which would be between 400 and 800 wedding photos, depending on the length of the wedding. 

How Many Photographers Do You Need for a 150+ Person Wedding?

To ensure you capture all of the critical wedding moments and all of the wedding guests, two photographers is best. 

Is a Second Wedding Photographer Worth the Additional Cost?

Of course, it’s up to you whether or not you want to have a second wedding photographer shoot your wedding (and the number of guests is a factor). However, adding a second shooter on your wedding day allows you to add a large number of photos and get more coverage during the ceremony and more creative angles during portraits and moments like the first dance. 

Saving money on wedding photography is possible with some planning and creativity. 

Visit The Groom Club for More Tips

At the Groom Club, we help grooms up their game at every stage of the wedding process, from the proposal to the honeymoon. Ready to propose? Learn how to make it perfect. Not sure what to wear to your engagement party? We’ve got tips. 

Make the Groom Club your go-to spot for all the latest on how to make your wedding unique and memorable. Discover all our latest articles today and subscribe to our newsletter for more TGC content.


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