Photographer or not... I can't decide

(40 Posts)
fleacircus Sun 26-Jan-14 20:11:42

DP and I are planning a tiny, pretty informal wedding. Happy to be lavish in some ways - e.g. food and booze! - but generally keeping the budget fairly low. We aren't planning to have a photographer, except now I'm worrying that I'll regret afterwards not having pictures (obviously some of the guests may take some, but none of them are amazing photographers as far as I'm aware). I know I should just call a couple for quotes but I fear getting trapped in some kind of wedding machinery and I almost certainly won't end up booking any of them. But just so I have some idea what I'd be letting myself in for, does anyone have a ballpark figure for a photographer (south of England but not London), just for the (brief, civil) ceremony and immediately afterwards? Maybe one group picture, one immediate family (4 people) and one of the two of us. I know it's not time I'd be paying for, but expertise and equipment and the pictures themselves - so I don't know if the fact that they'd only be there for 40 minutes makes a difference?

Coconutsblimey Sun 26-Jan-14 21:24:30

we didn't have one. biggest regret. get one.

PsychicPaper Sun 26-Jan-14 21:27:19

Is it on a Saturday?

MsAspreyDiamonds Mon 27-Jan-14 05:01:36

You could ask one of your guests to take the pictures & give them a list of what you want. Or enquire at the photography dept of your local college/university & ask for a final year student. They would be happy for the experience to build up their portfolio of work. I did this for my wedding & asked my db who was a final year photography student to take some black & white pictures. They were amazing & much better than the official photographer at the time.

Badgerlady Mon 27-Jan-14 05:51:12

I didn't have a photographer. I asked two friends to take some groups shots and then relied on everyone else's photographs for the rest of the day. The two friends were good photographers and their photos were great. The rest of the guests took so many photographs that it was possible to sift through and find the best ones.

I thought about booking a photographer for a short period like you. But, when I looked into it, it was not possible to hire a wedding photographer for a short period. They only had day rates/packages which were, I think, £700 upwards for London. I guess if they do one wedding they can't really go off and do another.

I don't regret my choice. I have an album of great photos. And we spent the spare money on a swing band!

Lagoonablue Mon 27-Jan-14 06:01:33

We asked a friend. Photos are ok. Regret not getting a real one.

CaptainCunt Mon 27-Jan-14 06:47:02

I didn't find anyone less than £1500 (London). Friends and my mum took photos, they came out lovely.

Molecule Mon 27-Jan-14 07:18:14

Same as Coconut, my biggest regret, we only have "snapshots"' and even the group ones look pretty grotty.

I don't think it's fair to ask a friend, DB is a decent amateur and has been asked this more than once and hates it, says it makes him feel under pressure and spoils the day for him. He's always politely gone along with it but really doesn't like it.

We had a very small and informal wedding and got a photographer for the smallest package he had- £150 and we got 10 prints with the option to buy more. It was all we needed and worth the money for a few nice ones of the ceremony and group ones.

If you're in Essex/ East London let me know and I will give you his details.

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Mon 27-Jan-14 07:29:48

We had a photographer in Birmingham who did a special register office package. He arrived 20m before the ceremony, took some of the groom and ushers, captured me arriving, took a few in the ceremony and then a load of groups afterwards. We also had a few of just us taken down next to the canal.

It was £140 and we paid £200 for the rights to the pictures.

BanjoPlayingTiger Mon 27-Jan-14 07:32:21

The one regret I have about our wedding is not having a photographer. If we were to do it again it would be the one non-negotiable thing I'd insist on.

3bunnies Mon 27-Jan-14 07:40:44

Definitely get a good photographer - ten years on we still look at the photos. It brings back all the memories. The invites are tucked away somewhere but booze and food is long gone. It was the biggest part of our little budget but so worth it. A bit sad that we only have snaps of the reception though. Ours was mainly a wildlife photographer but did a bit of this on the side.

KayleeFrye Mon 27-Jan-14 07:41:38

I wouldn't ask a friend or rely on guest photos - a close friend will do it but be sad to have to basically do a lot of work during the wedding and not really be able to enjoy being there as part of the celebrations, and it's asking too much of a more distant friend. Guest photos will be terrible quality. but there are ways to do it on a budget.

If you are getting married somewhere near a University, find out if the Uni has a photography club - find out if there is a young person who doesn't have the experience or portfolio to be able to set themselves up as a professional photographer, who might do it for you for a much more modest fee (covering actual costs incurred plus about £10 per hour for their time before, during and after the event would be reasonable) in exchange for also being able to use your wedding photos as part of their portfolio in order for them to be able to get more professionally-paid work in future and a kind reference quote for them to use in advertising their services.

Haggle! I got £200 off the package we had by saying I had a budget but really wanted to book this photographer what could he do for me.

MotherOfInsomniacToddlers Mon 27-Jan-14 07:54:19

We just had friends and family take photos and have lots of lovely ones, I wouldn't bother tbh!!

Cybercat Mon 27-Jan-14 07:58:58

I would pay for one. They have better knowledge of lighting etc and you will get much nicer pictures to look back on.

whattoWHO Mon 27-Jan-14 08:13:17

I'm SE (not London) and paying £1250 for a photographer who is coming to the house for when I get ready until after the first dance.
He does smaller packages, but his work is so wonderful that I wanted
A. Him to capture the little details of my dress, bouquet etc
B. Our guests relaxing through the day.
Its the biggest extravagance of our budget but I hope it will be something to give life to our memories.

TheSlug Mon 27-Jan-14 08:36:19

I would get one. My mum and dad got married 25 years ago and my mum really regrets not having proper photos. They had a v small wedding, church and church hall, mum didn't even wear a dress, but that is the only thing she would change.

perplexedpirate Mon 27-Jan-14 08:36:51

Our photographer was £300 (North West) and was absolutely crap.
He was rude (completely different from when we met him, but of course he had our money by thenhmm), didn't take the shots we wanted, took loads of stupid posey shots we didn't want and was generally a massive pain in the arse.
You get what you pay for, and I really wish I hadn't budgeted in this area. sad

I would say it's worth having one - and a decent one. We had lots of good snaps that guests took but most of these were making use of the compositions the professional put together iyswim. Otherwise who's going to stand there telling the tall ones to stand at the back or feeling like an idiot saying 'say cheeeeese!'.

My sister wanted my DH to do this for their wedding and we recommended against it as he was happy to take photos but not boss people around, plus if you want a group shot there's always someone missing. In the end she got a very cheap professional and got some nice photos but organising everyone for group shots took a long time (think sending my elderly GM away then keeping getting her back down the stairs again for different shots, which took ages). It made me see very clearly what we'd paid for.

BikeRunSki Mon 27-Jan-14 09:07:46

Don't ask your guests. I am a keen amateur with Ok kit. Did a friend's wedding, very stressful day for me, sort while time running around worried about getting the shots right, and don't remember a thing about the wedding. An amateur who is not part of the wedding, fine, but not a guest.

3bunnies Mon 27-Jan-14 10:07:06

In terms of organising I planned the shots, making sure people didn't go in and out of photos too much - eg us & FIL; us FIL, BIL & SIL; us, FIL, BIL, SIL, DM, DF, SIS & family then narrowing back down on my side. Then our wonderful best man got everyone there who needed to be. The photographer didn't need to do much of that organisation but he did have my list We only had 50 shots so had to plan each one. If you are going cheapish or getting a student then it is worth planning your must have photos and telling them what you want.

We did use a professional, and they were good, but I have to say that after a few weeks the albums went into the loft never to be seen again. We have one tiny photo on display and that was actually one taken by a guest. But I am still glad we got the good ones done.

MrsSlobinson Mon 27-Jan-14 10:24:04

Yes - the fact that you would require them for less time makes a difference to the price, though also it depends on the date. There will be more flexibility on price for a midweek shoot, than for a Summer weekend when they could otherwise book a full price wedding.
I would also recommend using a professional.
It's great you can appreciate that you are paying for their expertise, training, and time before and after the wedding too. Tell them that and they will love you!
If you are not sure enough of your own 'eye' for a decent photographer ask another experienced photographer who they rate, as they should be able to determine the quality and consistency of the work.

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