Wedding Wednesday: Saving on Wedding Photography and Videography

***Check out the previous posts in this series, “Tying the Knot without Breaking the Bank,” including posts on saving money when setting a date, picking vendors, and choosing invitations and save-the-dates… emphasis on the saving money part.


So far I’ve doled out some of the tips and tricks I picked up while planning my own 250 guests-winter-time-orange-and-green-money-savin’-machine wedding.  I feel that I’ve been more than a little budget conscious in my advice, almost to the point of cheapskated-ness.  Today is… well, not so much the case.

Wait.  Keep reading.

At the end of this post, I will absolutely provide you with ways to book photographers and videographers on the cheap (and there are plenty of ways, let me tell you).  However, if I’m going to be completely honest with you fine GPP readers, I did not go the traditional GPP route with the photographer.  (Gasp!  I actually spent some money!)

Here's a tip: place disposable cameras at each reception table and encourage your guests to take pictures. (Expect for some of them to be blurry and/or borderline offensive.)

Rewind… Story time:  Right after I got engaged, my mother and I decided to go to one of those bridal expos (which I actually do recommend — it’s a great way to meet local vendors).  We saw a lot of stuff that was interesting, picked up a whole slew of brochures and goodie bags, sampled waaay too many salty hors d’oevres and too-sweet cakes…  and we met a fabulous photographer.  Needless to say, this last part was the highlight of our day (and totally worth going just to meet him).

I’m not sure what it was — fairy dust, ideal star alignment, a wedding cake induced sugar high, something— but as soon as we saw jk Dallas Photograhy’s display booth and met the founding photographer, we were smitten… well, as platonically smitten as you can be with a potential photographer who just emanates “I am exactly what you want in a wedding photographer.”  Not to mention, it’s a family business, so there was not just one, but three fabulous photographers (though we didn’t meet the other two that day).

Some people make their #1 priority their wedding dress, or the venue, or the date; we made our number one priority booking jk Dallas Photography, come Hell or high water.

All of my bridesmaids had fabulous legs. It was a requirement. (Photo by jk Dallas Photography)

And just so I dont mislead anyone:  jk Dallas Photography is not the most expensive company out there.  Nor are they the cheapest.  The average person would have no internal struggle over choosing them.  But you know, I’m super cheap.  And for those of you who read this blog, you know that anything more than the cheapest option is usually not a typical Courtney choice; my style is more like… getting a photography student to do it for free for the purposes of … portfolio building… or getting a good friend with a DSLR and a steady hand.  However, we decided — even before we met the Dallases — that getting a professional was a must.  And since there couldn’t be a wedding day do-over, we had to get it right the first time.

While everything felt perfect with the Dallases, we did explore other options — just to say we did — however, we kept coming back to jk Dallas Photography… Nothing else felt right.  So we caved.

And we never looked back.

Except when we look back at pictures of our wedding… And then we do figuratively “look back” so…


Photo by jk Dallas Photography

We were practicing standing-sleeping like the astronauts do. (photo by jk Dallas Photography)

One of our personal faves (by jk Dallas Photography)

Another fave (by jk Dallas Photography)

Our very own American Gothic. But less pitch forky. (by jk Dallas Photography)

(Check out their website!  They also submitted our wedding photography to a couple of publications and they were published!  Check ’em out here:  The Knot and the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers.  Yeah, jk Dallas Photography is kind of a big deal.)

***For all of those inquiring minds out there, though jk Dallas Photography is based in Columbus, GA., they can and will travel most anywhere if they’re available.  And did I mention they are awesomesauce?!

So, photographers: booked.  However, we decided we weren’t interested in videotaping the wedding, so we didn’t bother with any of that.  But, two weeks before the wedding, we changed our minds.  We decided, while we didn’t need cutting edge, Scorcese style stuff, we wouldn’t mind having the ceremony and dancing documented for posterity’s sake.

(And did I mention we planned on singing to each other at the reception?  Independently of each other, and completely by surprise, we found out the others’ plans two weeks before the big day.  Chock it up to coincidence… Or not.  We are two nerdy musical theatre kids, after all, so it shouldn’t come as any real surprise.  Spoiler Alert: I sang “Come Rain or Come Shine” and he sang the Elvis song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”  Swoon.)

We played rock, paper, scissors to decide who got to sing last. (Josh won.)

Josh, winning. (Photo by jk Dallas Photography)

Love song singing and all, we wanted to get everything documented, but we didn’t want to spend the big bucks.  Fortunately, we have many multi-talented friends, one of who happens to be a videographer (when he’s not excelling at the other 547 things that he does), and he was able to help us out.  Hooray!


Well, “fin” for story time that is.

Like I said, photography was our big (and only) splurge.  But through my research, I did explore a few less expensive options, we just didn’t go with them (but you know the story).  However, if photography and videography are not as important to you, or if your budget is really teeny tiny, there are other ways to get your wedding photographed (and whatever you do, don’t not get a photographer — you hopefully only get married once, and you will definitely want to look back at those pictures).

Wedding Photography Money Saving Tips:

  • Contact the photography department at a local art school.  Explain to the professor that you’d like to have your wedding photographed by a few burgeoning photographers and try to sell it as a way to help them build their portfolios, offering to pay for their meals and travel that day (or more, if you feel so inclined).  As long as you set the conditions, you can definitely get some good photos and save money whle you’re at it.
  • Do you have a friend with a fancy camera and a steady hand (like I mentioned previously)?  As long as they don’t mind spending their time taking pics (instead of doing more wedding guest-ly things), this would be a great solution.
  • Instead of booking a photographer for the entire day, get a partial package.  For example, just get them to cover the ceremony and reception (as opposed to some of the getting ready stuff that’s usually included in most photography packages).
  • This next tip should be of no surprise — I am the Sunday-morning-in-January-wedding day lady after all:  book a photographer off-season (January, February, and March) and you actually save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
  • Skip the leather bound album thing.  They’re super pricey (in my opinion, usually overpriced), and quite frankly, a little dated.  There are so many great (free) services out there where you can create your own albums for a much smaller price tag, and you can take your time doing it and customize it to your exact wants.
  • Research, negotiate, rinse, repeat.  You know the drill.

Opa! (photo by jk Dallas Photography)

As always, feel free to offer your own tips in the comment section, and don’t forget to check the other posts in the ongoing series “Tying the Knot Without Breaking the Bank”!

Setting the Date

Picking a Venue

Picking a Caterer

Saving on Invitations and Save-the-Dates

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