Great Wedding Photos Without Spending Thousands of Dollars

bride & groom standing on a pile of cash

Great wedding photos without spending thousands of Dollars is very doable. It starts with hiring a great wedding photographer. In turn, that starts with knowing you want great wedding photos. But what if you know you want great photos but think you can’t afford them? Or what if your BFF wants to do your pictures? Or what if your aunt just got an expensive new camera and you’re going to let her try it? These are very real scenarios. And they allow you to spend little to nothing on your wedding photos. But they also come with consequences.

A professional wedding photographer knows how weddings work. They know how brides and grooms interact. They know when to be ready. They know where to be to get the best shot. They anticipate better – which is crucial to getting amazing wedding photos. Wedding day moves lightning fast. There is no time for a do over. You either get the shot or you don’t.

So let me ask you, will your BFF still be your BFF if she misses too many special moments? Is the friendship worth this pressure? Wouldn’t you want her to be more with you than working for you? Will she understand she is working? Will she enjoy not being part of the festivities?

Will your aunt know the settings of her camera well enough to capture fleeting moments in fleeting light? Will she be ready to expend the energy all day? Will she tire and need a rest at precisely the worst time? How will future visits and holidays be with her? Will you have resentment toward her for how she didn’t get all the shots on your wedding day?

I hear these stories all too often. I know you’re trying to save money. And high-quality photos can be really expensive. But I also know you can get a photographer within your budget.

The #1 Wedding Myth – High-quality wedding photos cost thousands of dollars

One of the biggest wedding myths is high-quality wedding photography cost thousands of dollars. It often does, but it doesn’t have to. Some photographers are more expensive than others – with good reasons. However paying more doesn’t always mean you’ll get better photos. I am so convinced of this I guarantee it. If you visit with me and I can’t create a photo package within your budget, I will give you a FREE gift certificate for a one-hour massage at The Retreat, one of Knoxville’s highest rated day spas. That’s right, a massage because wedding planning is stressful.

Consequences of not hiring a wedding photographer

Before I share my 5-step process of hiring a great wedding photographer, I want to share some common consequences of being unprepared.

Once the date is set get busy hiring. Or you not get the photographer you want. might

Once the date is set get busy hiring. Or you not get the photographer you want. might

  • Booked or not available– If you love your wedding date then chances are hundred or so other couples love that date too. In 2017, according to www.theweddingreport.com, the greater Knoxville region had 5,713 weddings. That’s about 110 weddings every Saturday. Do not wait. Book your photographer now!

  • Price Increase – Offers and discounts often happen for really hot summer months or very cold winter months (off season).  Some offers are for a specific duration. But just like everything else in the world, prices go up.

  • BFF or Family is your photographer  - Life is busy & you keep meaning to do some research.  Wait too long and you’ll be forced to use your BFF or your aunt. They may even have an expensive new camera. But that doesn’t help any more than a shiny new stove will create an amazing meal. I routinely hear stories where a bride had to use a family member who didn’t have a clue. As a result they look back in regret at bad photos & wonder about the lost moments.

The Benefits of using my 5-Step Process to Hiring a Wedding Photographer

My process yields amazing photos you will cherish! You can share with loved ones today, but also share with kids and grandkids for generations to come. In time, they will become one of your most treasured artifacts.

Sunset was a top priority for this couple. So we found them a killer spot a few minutes from the ceremony site.

Sunset was a top priority for this couple. So we found them a killer spot a few minutes from the ceremony site.

  • You get quality time with your BFF instead of them working.

  • You get to hug your aunt when you see her instead of scowling in resentment.

  • You’ll breathe easier knowing you got the best photographer for you!

  • You’ll have confidence knowing a seasoned pro will absorb stress and find creative ways to keep you and your guests smiling on your wedding day!

  • You’ll know the important moments were captured in a creative, artful way.

  • And you’ll know you found the best photographer for you at a price that works for your budget!

NOTE: I am making the assumption you have a date set and a budget, or at least a price range. If you do not have these two items then you can’t effectively hire a wedding photographer.

The 5-Step Process to Hiring a Wedding Photographer

The dress was very important to this bride. We made sure it was fully featured in the most flattering light.

The dress was very important to this bride. We made sure it was fully featured in the most flattering light.

Step 1. Identify the Pieces of the Day

List the pieces of the wedding day that you want photographed. Each wedding is unique. But there are some common components that occur more or less at each wedding. Don’t know all the pieces or where to start? Ask me for our base list to choose from.

Step 2. Prioritize the Pieces

There are 3 primary parts of a wedding: before, during and after the ceremony. Within these 3 parts are some 25+ pieces that create a wedding. You must prioritize the pieces. The ceremony is probably the top priority. Maybe it’s all the action at the reception. Maybe it is the family photos. Maybe it’s killer groomsmen photos because it’s something your fiancé has been planning for a while. Prioritizing saves time AND money. I can help you prioritize the pieces too.

Step 3. Choose photographer(s)

The first 2 steps you can do fairly quickly. But step 3 will take time & research. Research images you love. Look for stylistic qualities. These things are all over social media. Pinterest is your best friend. Do you prefer photo-journalistic (candid) images? Maybe you prefer a trendy look. Maybe you already have a combination of styles in mind. Maybe you love subtle and sublime, classic and timeless photos. Pick a photographer with samples of styles you prefer.

Step 4. Location, location, location

A quick walk around the venue with a bride can provide amazing insights. I can spot issues and concerns that you might not have considered. I look for background noise like cell phone towers, utility poles, possible glare/reflection issues and on and on. But finding great light is everything. Great wedding photos are all about great love, but to be amazing they need great light too! There are plenty of venues that are poorly set up. With a couple of tweaks, light for your ceremony can be better. The same can be said of your reception.

This veil was her great grandmother’s & very delicate. She took the veil out and made a dash for shelter! We had to juggle the schedule because of threatening rain. Planning & flexibility made this shot possible.

This veil was her great grandmother’s & very delicate. She took the veil out and made a dash for shelter! We had to juggle the schedule because of threatening rain. Planning & flexibility made this shot possible.

Step 5. Timeline & Driver

The above steps are each critical. A wedding usually has a team of helpers – some paid & some not. Managing time will prove to be the most difficult task. Time flies on your wedding day. If you don’t have a clear, realistic timeline you’ll miss moments. On your team, you must have someone to drive the timeline. The timeline driver is the most overlooked part of many weddings. What or who is the driver? They are the person running the show. Maybe you hire a planner or coordinator. Maybe you don’t. Either way someone needs to have the timeline in hand and keep all the people moving. Often folks want me to play this role. I can’t. I am taking photos. If you overlook this part, all the listing & prioritizing, love for your photographer & planning go out the window.

Conclusion

So that’s it. With the date set & budget you are ready to follow the 5 steps:

  • Identify the pieces of the wedding day

  • Prioritize the pieces

  • Select your photographer

  • Visit the venue

  • Create & follow your timeline

Then breathe easy. You’ll have the wedding photos you want for your budget. And those photos will be amazing, worth sharing and a treasure to you & your loved ones. And you’ll have proof that the great wedding photos do not have to cost thousands of dollars.

NOTE: All the photos in this report came from real weddings photographed by us. We helped them identify and prioritize the pieces. They chose us to capture their day. We visited their venues. They had clear timelines and someone to drive the timeline. Most of all, they all had tight budgets.

If all this sounds like something you want to be a part of, contact me at al@milemarkerimages.com or text at 865-446-0487 and let’s talk it over. If I can’t create a package for your budget I will treat you to a 60-minute massage at The Retreat, one of Knoxville’s highest rated day spas.

Thanks for reading our blog post to getting great wedding photos without spending thousands of dollars.