Here’s what I learned from my experience and how you can avoid the same mistake. I planned my wedding for two weeks, and I didn’t budget for professional photos! I was pregnant [again] and didn’t want to risk never fitting into the gown I ordered. It was a race against time, and I was a bride on a severe budget. My fiance and I wanted a small wedding with close family and friends. So there wasn’t too much to organize, save for the attire, flowers, the food, and the venue.
During the short planning process, I made sure to have everything styled to our liking and its proper place. I made sure to budget for my gown, hair and makeup, accessories, florals, officiant, and decor for the restaurant. It wasn’t until a couple of days before the big day I realized that I didn’t have a wedding photographer!
At first, I was going to rely on the guests to take photos with their cell phones. Then, I figured that I should probably find another option because I didn’t want to place that responsibility on them. I wanted them to enjoy the day. So, a family member hired a photographer friend to document the day as a wedding gift in a crunch.
The photographer called to discuss the plans for the day in detail. We also discussed the expectations of what type of photos I was hoping to get. I prefer more of a photojournalistic (candid photo) approach, with a mix of some traditional portraits too. (Similar to how I shoot my weddings!) I was grateful that he was available to do it on such short notice and even more thankful that I wasn’t paying for it. My budget had no more space for additional expenses.
The wedding day had come and gone, and everything was so beautiful. I got my wedding pictures back from the photographer rather quickly and was…, well…, disappointed! Almost every picture presented to me was a posed, smile-for-the-camera kind of image. Not candid at all. And most of the candid shots were of our backs. I knew close to nothing about photography at the time, but I knew that the pictures presented weren’t what I wanted. A guest took my favorite photo, but I can’t enlarge it (see below).
Truthfully, I get a little sad when I look back at my wedding photos because I can’t enlarge any of them due to poor quality, and they don’t evoke any raw emotion. The photographer did not capture the splendor of the day in the images, and it makes me want to redo everything all over again (but with three kids and a hectic schedule, I’m not sure when that’ll happen). I put great effort into the day’s appearance and lost sight of what truly mattered: THE MEMORIES.
You’re probably more of an expert than I was when it comes to wedding planning. I’m sure you’ve given yourself ample time to get your guest lists and numbers in order. And if you don’t already know this, photography should be one of the top priority items on your Wedding Budget and booked well in advance (more on that in another post).
Your love story lives on by way of high-quality photos and for generations to come. Feel free to cut your expenses in other areas of your wedding day, such as favors, programs, etc. Those are areas where DIY projects can be beneficial. But I strongly urge you to place a solid and purposeful investment in the documenting of your memories. Budget for Professional Wedding Photos! Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
I’m not saying this because I am an Intimate Wedding Photographer; I’m saying this because it’s the reason I became one.