by: Lauren

Hi, my name is Lauren, and I hired a cheap wedding photographer… and I’m here to prevent you from doing the same!

I Hired A Cheap Wedding Photographer via

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m always talking about the importance of quality photography. Well, one of the major reasons for this is because I made a big mistake that I regret- and one that I hope to prevent other couples from making.

I hired a cheap wedding photographer.

The fact is, when I was planning my wedding, I had no clue about anything. I didn’t know what to expect costs to be, what to look for, or how to even know figure out what I liked. The only resources I used were large, popular wedding sites because that’s all I knew about and quite frankly, all that I could find back then. When I used the budget recommendations of these sites and magazines, the recommended photography percentage was way below what I was realistically seeing for photographer pricing. I didn’t have anyone to tell me what the “normal” pricing was for a good photographer, or even how to know what would be considered “good”. I was counting on the resources I used to help me, and they sadly didn’t. To make a long story short, this is one of the reasons why I set out to provide realistic information to brides about weddings, and so here I am today! (Note: go here to find out what to expect wedding professionals to cost!)

I’m certainly in no way a photographer, but since I don’t want you to make the same mistake that I did, I thought it would be helpful to pass along some tidbits that I wish I had known when it came to wedding photographers…

Cost Expectation

One of the first things that would be crucial to know is the normal cost for decent photography, because I myself had no idea. According to my survey of wedding professionals, you can expect to see pricing around $3500 for a professional photographer. This of course will vary depending on location, as well as with the photographers and their experience.

Pay Attention To Quality

Oh my goodness- I definitely wish I had known more about what to look for when it came to quality! I met with 4 photographers, but I got so fixated on price that I forgot to also look at quality. It can be quite difficult to compare just based on price, because often times photographers’ pricing structures are different- not to mention that their experience and quality is going to be different too! So please, I beg of you- pay more attention to the quality than to the cost!

It’s Not Just A Day’s Work

Keep in mind that photographers are not just taking photos of you for 8 hours on your wedding day. They also have to edit the photos (which can take up to 30 hours), design the album, answer your emails and phone calls, and carry out all of the other administrative duties that owning a business entails. (There is so much more, but I’ll leave that to the photographers to explain!) Sure, it’s easy to say that a photographer is making $3500 for a day’s work, but all of the work done before and after the wedding ends up being way more than just one day.

[Note: Don’t get me wrong when I say “cheap photographer”. I paid more than what would normally be considered “cheap”- it kills me knowing what I paid, and now knowing what I could have had for that same amount. But when you consider what was included in the price (my 12 hour wedding day, engagement session, bridal session, album and prints), and then see the pretty much unedited images, then yes, it was indeed “cheap”.]

Needless to say, I’m still pretty heartbroken about my lack of knowledge when it came to choosing my photographer. Now that I look at amazing work from photographers every day, I know that my photos could have been so much better. But you live and you learn, right?

Bottom line: you get what you pay for.


If you have any questions about choosing your photographer, please ask! I don’t want anyone else to experience this regret, and this is one of the many reasons why I write this blog and why I entered the wedding industry. I want to help everyone have the absolute best wedding possible, and I believe that knowledge is the key to that!

I Hired A Cheap Wedding Photographer via

Click below to find photographers that I would ABSOLUTELY hire now!

I Hired A Cheap Wedding Photographer via


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2010 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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Founder & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

90 responses to I Hired A Cheap Wedding Photographer

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. Kristi Crosson

    Lauren, I couldn’t have written this post any better. I was married in 2005 and although I was a hobbyist photographer at the time, I didn’t have a clue about how important a professional photographer would be. Needless to say, I have only a few decent wedding photos, because I had a friend take them. I love her and she did her best, but she was by no means a professional. It was that experience which lead me down the path that I am on. Now, as a professional photographer, I share that experience with my brides. I truly care that they have amazing portraits of their wedding, and if they hire me or not, I really want them to understand how important it is to hire a professional. My 5 year anniversary is this year, and my husband and I are planning a trip to California where my professional photographer friends will be giving us a trash the dress photoshoot on the beach. I am so excited because I feel like I can finally create an amazing album!

  2. Yadira Laguerre

    Yep! I think a lot of us got into photography because of a bad experience. What triggered my portrait photography business was our first family portraits at Sears. They were fine, but I knew that photography could be extraordinary. Yet I hindered myself from delivering the extraordinary to my clients at the start of my business because I tried to price myself for those with the Sears mentality. I finally had to realize that in order to be free to give my best, I need to price myself accordingly. Still in that process. By the way, my wedding photos were exactly as you describe – $2500 for 8 hours, 3 photographers, “high res” images on disc (which were only 72 dpi – but what did I know?) and an album we never got. What I had at the time (thank goodness) was my Photoshop knowledge and I edited all my wedding photos myself.

  3. Renee Grande


    This post was written great. I am going to address and reflect on this on my blog today or tomorrow. I will send you the link when it is done :)

  4. Kristine Paulsen

    Hi Lauren,

    Do you mind if I reprint this on my own blog, with credit and a link back to your site of course?


  5. Sammy Tavarez

    I’m so proud of you for finally posting this! There are so many things that people don’t consider when talking about the price point of a great photographer. It’s not only the amount of work, creativity, and technical skill that play a part, but also the monumental costs of constantly updating equipment, maintaining business/liability insurances, advertising & marketing, continuing education & workshops, pricey editing software, and on, and on, and on… Let us not forget the fact, also, that many of the greats do invest a substantial amount of time and money into getting a quality college or art-school education. It’s an art-form that I believe – where there is true talent – is veritably priceless. I don’t think it’s okay to blatantly rip anyone off, but that applies in every facet of life and business – not just photography. When so many other aspects of the wedding planning process can be fleeting (as in, it all goes by so fast, it’s a blur!), photography is one of those that does sustain. It’s there to remind us of all the amazing moments and details we cared enough to toil over in the first place. Thanks for writing this, and for showing the wedding world that photographers aren’t the only ones who stand behind the cost of their work!

  6. Dognbird

    This is a really important post, thank you for writing up your experience. The photog is key, your imagery lasts forever!

  7. Bruce Blackwell

    Great post. As a professional videographer one of the comments I hear often from couples: “I wish I would’ve hired a professional” and “Can You Fix This?” Hiring a “true” full-time professional has its costs – but hiring a novice or “weekend warrior” also has its price – a price you really can’t afford and might regret later.

  8. Lorne Chesal

    As one of the wedding photographers who weighed in on the blog post being discussed, it is my sincere hope something very positive has and will continue to come of it. My fear however, is there are IMHO, far too many responses on it now for a clear message to be found.

    What I appreciate hearing in this post is that there is truly is more to consider than what it costs to hire a photographer.

    Good and may I say great wedding photographers ask for a higher fee because they offer in return a lower risk. They are confident in their ability to deliver great results consistently throughout your wedding day. Under any circumstance they face throughout the day. In any weather. Facing any family schism thrown at them. It is their job to be unflappable. All day. Without the need for direction and micro-management.

    They don’t *just* press the shutter button time and time again all day. They know *exactly* when to press it. Why to press it. What settings to apply to their camera before they press it. What to say to Aunt Betty before pressing it to make sure she has a great smile on her face. How to find the right lighting and background to place you in before pressing it.

    All the while having a sense of humor. All the while fully understanding the scope of the day unfolding before them to the clients who have invested a good sum of hard earned money with them.

    Those are all soft skills. They have zero to do with the gear, or the high cost of being in this line of business.

    These skills do and should *cost* more. I would want the most motivated vendors involved with my wedding. Vendors who are satisfied with their compensation for being there. Who won’t approach my wedding with anything less than full out enthusiasm and excitement. More than most vendors, photographers depend on their reputation above all. I personally consider each and every wedding I photograph as an audition for other weddings. A full 70-80% of my business comes from clients who have been at or in a wedding I have photographed. I have but one speed… full.

    When asked to cut my fee because “all I do is push buttons” it’s very difficult to not take it personally. We pour ourselves into our work.

    Please understand this when making your decisions.

    And, photographers do understand budgets. We live on them too.


    Lorne Chesal

  9. Barb Cameron

    thank you. thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t say it enough; thank you.

  10. Blake

    One of the problems, maybe, is that most of us aren’t exposed to much pro photography or its price tag before we get married. So the eye isn’t trained to distinguish between the really great and the weekend stuff, yet, and the cost truly comes as a shock, since almost every other photography is extremely commodified (e.g. the teen working the booth at Sears). Maybe you even had a family portrait at that local studio photographer who does all the senior pics — that still doesn’t begin to prepare you. Of course, later, the difference between the costly pros and college kid becomes all too clear, especially now that hundreds of AMAZING photographers are blogging their work on a weekly basis, showing us all the very best there is.

  11. Julianne Smith (@gartergirl)

    this is a great post! and i think you are so right. but, something that brides do need to consider is that it isn’t just the most expensive photographer that is the best. yes, you do pay for what you get. i agree. but, more important than the price tag is: do i like this photographer’s style? do i like him/her as a person and will i be comfortable with him/her? does his/her style fit with mine and what i want out of my photos? don’t just assume that if you’ve paid the most that it will be the best fit for you or that if you can’t afford the most expensive then you won’t have good photos. the great part about the internet and blogs is that you can really get a good idea of a photographer’s past work and their style much more than you could even 3 years ago. so, to all the brides out there, do your research and make sure you love your photographer regardless of price!

  12. Catherine Hall Studios

    Thank you for sharing you experience! As a wedding photographer myself, I can’t tell you how much this post sheds light on an issue many people don’t think about right away. Every bride deserves beautiful photos of her speacial day that she loves.

  13. Bobby Earle

    I had nearly the exact same thing happen to Lindsay and me with our wedding photography. As a photographer now, I would KILL to go back and do it again.

    Great post :)


  14. Kate McKenna

    Very well written and very much appreciated. I need to learn to better respond to the hostility that does, quite often and quite shockingly, come my way regarding the cost of a photography.

  15. Aliza Werner

    Solid and honest advice! You can’t take much with you after your wedding day, but your photographs and albums will be as close as you can get to reliving it. Another idea to keep in mind…take the time to find a photographer who is perfect for you. One photographer’s aesthetic may not jive with your point of view. If the way a photographer captures a wedding, details, scenery, and people is a way that captures your heart and captivates you, perhaps she is someone to look into hiring. The most expensive photographer, will not necessarily be the one for you.

  16. karen lisa

    such great advice! this exact thing happened to me. although my husband & I were hobbyist photographers at the time of our wedding, we were very young and allowed my parents to make the decision for us since we were planning from afar (I was finishing up my college degree). my parents hired someone they’d used for previous events, and while the images are properly exposed and we hav one or two nice portraits, they are not our style and are not even remotely near anything I would create for one of my clients. Not spending more time on choosing a wedding photographer is the one thing I regret in my entire life’s experience.

  17. Denver wedding photographer

    It’s obvious by the post comments that many of us are professional photographers and understand the importance of hiring a professional wedding photographer. It’s unfortunate that a bride even had to write such a post, but should help to remind all of us, the professionals, about the importance of educating our clients.

  18. TTL Wedding Photography

    One of the common mistakes that brides make when choosing a photographer is paying too much attention to the package product content. Believe me, it’s so much better to end up with 30 great photographs from your wedding than 3 albums and prints of 2000 pics that will always remind you that your photographer was not good.

  19. Yohti Jenkins

    I’m so happy to see someone has taken the initiative to educate brides. You are so right when you say that you didn’t know what to expect or what to look for. For most brides it’s their first wedding so it’s all a bit of a mystery as to what they need to do. I applaud you for the effort and heart felt attitude you have to help other wedding couples experience the best wedding day and photographs they deserve!
    I am a photographer in Australia and we have a network of photographers trying to do the same thing with educating the bride and grooms about professional quality etc as there is so many amatuer photographers hitting the market these days and it has just confused the poor brides…
    All the best and I’ll be sending my clients and enquiries to your blog to have a read
    Yohti from YOHTI IMAGES

  20. Dawn Bronson

    Hi Lauren,

    firstly may I say that the above email is sent to you from the wonderful caring and highly profession photographer who did a wonderful job on our wedding photos, not meaning to make you feel bad, but it took me 6 months to get all of my organising together, I actually went to about 6 wedding expo’s, this is one of the best places for any future bride to get her self some great ideas, if you do not have the money for a wedding planner, as all new brides weather getting married for the first time or second, or third time, the moment you use the W word, prices fly skyward, so it’s not surprising so many people think cheap is the best option, please ladies, do your home work, at wedding expos you can see the photographers, cake makers and anyone else who are selling there services work right in front of you, you will get prices and good ideas, even sample packs, I feel so bad that you had to go through such a horrible experience, thank you so much for sharing your very heart felt story, Dawn.

  21. Cathy Crawley

    Well said Lorne! I coudn’t have said it better! But, the curiosity has got the better of me and now I want to see those ‘cheap wedding photos’. :)

  22. Cathy

    Lauren, thank you. From a professional who has seen the industry really taking a nosedive because of the lack of desire to do the job right, this is an AWESOME article. I will be reposting. One of the first things I tell brides in the consultation is the typical range of a good photographer, and they’ve been pretty receptive. I might print off your article and give to them. Thank you SO MUCH!

  23. matt (blueflash)

    as a wedding photographer myself it’s refreshing to see a post like this… thanks for alerting everyone that sometimes it’s not worth it to save a few dollars on something like that. hope this helps future brides.

    -matt (blueflash photography)

  24. Abhi Pandya

    Thank you for this honest, and educational post. Brides often see just a package, 3 albums, a ton prints, maybe a canvas wrap…they hardly see the actual quality of the photography. Photography is not an object, it is an art. Just because somebody else offers it, you cannot simply compare price points, you are not bargain shopping for an item but rather a service and skill set.

    Would you mind if I link your post on our site/blog?


  25. Italo


    I can totally sympathize with your grief. I just finished re-building my sister in law’s album, of which the pictures where a TOTAL disaster. She paid $400 and got worse than what she paid for. Any point and shoot camera held by an amateaur photography would have been better than her intensely yellow pictures, flash burnt portraits and cry-forever album.

    You placed your words very well and I truly hope a lot of people can read your blog before choosing a wedding photographer.

  26. Jules Ko

    Thank you for posting this Lauren, and bravo for speaking out. As a former bride who rolled up her sleeves and became a wedding photographer, I agree with you 100%. Cheap rates will get you cheap images, Photographers aren’t lazy snooty artists who are trying to take advantage of the market. The average american photographer scrapes poverty level according to national survey and barely get by after paying for their bill and health insurance. But another pointer I’d like to share is, I hired a high end photographer for my own wedding, because as a photographer, photography was the only thing I didn’t cut back on. Even the high end photographers’ (we spent 30% of our wedding budget on them) work was stunted by our ‘humble’ decor and venue. Brides, you can always get albums a year into your marriage. I’d say put your priority on the photographers work, and your personality compatibility with the photographers! Best wishes, *Jules

  27. Paul D

    I am saddened that you have been treated in this way by this person…although prices change per state 2000 is still alot of money…i warn brides to beware as they get what they pay for by going cheaperand i mean below 300 as well…i have been in this game for over 8 years now…i would never release something that i would never use….you were taken for a ride as they say…now i have done packages as low as 800 for a bride to be and that is rock bottom i understand that they have a budget to go on and will work with them in many ways…

    even set up payments plans for them to work off of…thanks to a great photographer friend of mine this was brought to my attention…i will repost this on my site with your blessings of course..i know that you can never gain back that day that was special to you, but to make things right for you i would offer to do a shoot for you and your husband free of charge all i ask is for a roof overhead and a few bucks to pay for my trip back because this story touched my heart and i hate to see great people get screwed like this…

    my buddy chose the cheap route as well and paid for it…his bride is still mad at him for this…they were supposed to get an online album and all never happened…never got the proofs the pictures showed up six months later with a note in the envelope telling him here are your photos we are sorry but the photo’s didn’t turn out right and we did what we could…have a nice day…this is a local photographer so i will not mention any names just incase they are on here..

    it gives us photographers a bad name that do work hard making a living…we can recreate that special moment in time with you guys wearing your wedding dress and him in his tux…just let us know as we would love to make it right for you if you haven’t had it done yet or if nobody has offered it to you yet…
    Paul D

  28. Lauren

    Even as a wedding photographer myself, I also took the cheap route for my wedding day…I should have known better! It was an awful, AWFUL experience. However, in a weird way, my terrible experience has actually inspired me to work harder for my brides than I ever have before!

  29. Jenny

    I just want to say this, being a “cheap” photographer, its not always about the price. I don’t charge a lot because Im not doing it to make money. I was like you and paid very little for my wedding photography and got ONE use-able photo out of the 500+ that the photographer took. But the mistake I made was hiring the person without really having seen any of her work. Sure she was professional and had great schooling and such. But her work was horrible. I believe that I am a very good photographer and I do not charge a lot. So you cant just say dont go with the cheapest photographer, because Im pretty sure I am the cheapest around in my area of Michigan. I think my portfolio speaks for itself, and I have had MANY couples tell me that I should be charging more for my work. So please don’t just give up on a photographer because of their prices. There are those of us out there that are doing it just because its fun and its a passion. Like I said, I think my portfolio speaks for itself. I would like to hear what you think!

  30. Sarah

    Thank you for this post! I’ve bookmarked and subscribed to your blog. :-) I’m sorry to hear you personally had a less-than-desirable experience, but thank you for being honest about it so others can benefit from your advice. Our professional studio has been in business for three decades, and while it is frustrating for us to see the regular turnover of ‘weekend warriors’ it is really tragic to see brides taken advantage of by them each year. I’m glad there are more brides blogging about their real experiences to help everyone become more savvy. Since there is so much confusing and inaccurate information pushed out there by the so called ‘industry experts’ it is nice to see more reality checks from educated and experienced brides these days. Thanks!

  31. Denise Mack

    I agree! I have had a number of friends state that they “wish they had hired a professional” after receiving their photos-by-friends. After learning that I had gone into the business, they asked whether I could do anything to “fix” their photos. Only so much can be done in Photoshop or the like, after the fact. Composition is one of the key factors in creating a fantastic photo, versus an okay, or even a drab photo. That piece simply cannot be re-rendered. I’ve found that many people out there don’t realize the amount of time and effort put into the photos following the event. But this is meant to high-light and finish what had begun initially, while looking through the viewfinder in the first place. Not to “fix” something that wasn’t done properly. Thank you for drawing attention to all of these points. When considering who you wish to hire, cost is obviously going to be a factor. But there are bigger considerations; Namely – artistic talent & style, attention to detail, and experience. This is, indeed, what will last – to help you remember all of those fleeting moments that make up the wedding day!
    ~Denise Mack

  32. Tanya Malott

    Photographers are cheap for any of three basic reasons:

    1. They have very little experience (and want to practice on you!)
    2. They do not value themselves or their own work (I notice women are usually more guilty than the men here).
    3. Their market dictates lower pricing (either due to excessive competition or lower cost of living in the area)

    I shot my first wedding in 1991, for $200. I was an assistant back then for very successful fashion photographers, and my day rate was $75-$100, so I was thrilled with $200. I was so excited with the results that I asked to print every image myself, in my darkroom.

    For my second wedding shoot I charged $2000, and that bride is one of my best friends today. She still thinks she paid too little for her photos. I was very lucky, and realize now I had a natural ability to both see a wedding differently (back then black and white candid photos were anything but the norm), capture what I was seeing on film, and blend in with the guests at very high end affairs. Karen was right, her photos were worth a lot more, but I had a lot to learn and was grateful she gave me an opportunity when I needed one. I was cheap because I lacked experience.

    2011 will be 20 years as a wedding photographer for me. My prices reflect that experience, as they should. I know my clients will be thrilled with their photos and that I will exceed their expectations. People who hire me get what they pay for, and more, but they pay quite a lot.

    I also know there are a lot of talented photographers out there who charge a lot less. There is so much confusion in the middle (from $2000-$10,000) I know I could find someone GREAT for $2500, and someone AWFUL for $5000. Everyone has to start somewhere, but price is usually a reflection of the three points above.

    A direct word of mouth referral is usually your best bet. Looking on the internet should NOT be your first move. If you are looking on the internet or in a magazine, you have to be sure to separate editorial from advertising listings. Anyone with a few $$ can buy an ad…especially on a blog or a website. But reputable magazines are discriminating and will not post bad work. I have had a surprising number of brides call because they saw the references in New York Magazine. Those listings cannot be bought. They are editorial listings, and as a result I know brides trust them more.

    Though my website is outdated (it was cutting edge in 2001), and most of my published work in Town & Country, Vera Wang and many other magazines in the US and abroad happened before the digital age, people often still find me by word of mouth. I insist upon a meeting, because it is easy to tell if you are a good fit or not. Most of my brides become good friends, and 95% of them are still married. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

    My happy clients are my best advertising and I still think they are the best way for any bride to find a photographer. I would always start by asking friends, or other vendors who have been in the business long enough to know who is really good in the business. I am a great resource for caterers and florists and the like, since I have actually worked with hundreds of them, and a few of them many times.

    When choosing a photographer, part of the trick is knowing how to look at a person’s portfolio with a critical eye. (Key points: Are people looking at the camera or not, having a real moment or just looking at the photographer? Am I seeing mainly faces or backs and details? Can they focus and compose off center? Can they frame a shot well and still capture a real moment? Can this person handle light? Specifically what do they do when it is dark? How do they handle flash? Are the photos overworked in Photoshop and would I like them without any of the special effects? Do the brides in the photos look the way I want to look?

    Even my 11 year old can shoot a beautiful bride on a sunny day in California. But I wouldn’t trust him with a rainy day in NYC at a church ceremony and hotel reception for 300 guests with 7 bridesmaids that cost $250,000….or even a wedding for 25 friends and family in a small apartment. He’d get some good shots because he is cute, but that is about it, and people would remember him, not the moments of the wedding. Oh, and he’d do 50 shots of the cake, and then grab a piece!

    I know someone in the Hamptons who hired my former assistant, expecting to get the budget version of me, and instead got nothing she liked for a bunch of money. A friend who was there said that she took better pictures! I only heard about it after the fact, but I could have told her that particular assistant was not ready to shoot a wedding on her own. Had I known, I would have referred someone more suitable.

    Couples spending a fortune on a wedding are not going to gamble on a “new” photographer who hasn’t had enough experience to really deal with Murphy’s Law: “If it can go wrong it probably will”. Photographers charging $10,000+ have a lot more reputation on the line at each and every wedding. It takes years to build that kind of reputation, and only a few mistakes to destroy it. I would argue that almost anyone charging $10,000 is worth even more! They cannot afford mistakes, and so they will go to extra lengths to be sure there aren’t any.

    I could go on and on, but hopefully have offered a few extra tips to your smart, timely post (sent to me by a colleague who liked it as well).

    Tanya Malott

  33. Article writing service

    There are so many things that people don’t consider when talking about the price point of a great photographer. It’s not only the amount of work, creativity, and technical skill that play a part, but also the monumental costs of constantly updating equipment, maintaining business/liability insurances, advertising & marketing, continuing education & workshops, pricey editing software, and on, and on, and on…

  34. hillary

    Lauren, this AWESOME!!!! is it alright to post on my blog? I have been meeting with some recent brides whose daddy’s think it’s more important to have a full bar and etc…. then spend on photos??? THANK YOU — XOXO

    • Lauren

      @Hillary, of course you can post this!

  35. Fantacy

    I am working on getting my photography business where I want it. I have been getting paid (not always enough) for my photography for the past year and a half, but refuse to do weddings yet. I do sometimes work as a 2nd photographer for other friends who are more experienced and have the equipment they need to be successful in the field of wedding photography. I do not want to chance ruining moments and memories for a bride, groom or parent by not giving them the very best on their special day. I have had many people say “well just charge them a nominal fee and they get what they get”…I just can’t do it, so until I am up to par with better photographers and until I am able to charge $2,000 and feel right about charging that, I will stick to family portraiture. You can’t redo a wedding day in exactly the same way (I mean you could fake it or you could do the renewal, but you can’t get THAT day back) and I want my clients to always get what they pay for!
    Thank you for this post. I see all the stress and work my friends go through to do weddings and trust me $2,000 is NOT a lot to pay!

  36. Shirley Kelly

    Hi, I too got a bad deal on my wedding photos. I waited and waited to hear back from the photographer I hired to take our photos and when I did he informed me that the camera “malfunctioned” and all my photos had been “lost”. To my horror there was nothing I could do but accept his apology and his refund check. Of course he offered to take more photos but, the tuxedos had been returned, the church was no longer decorated, the reception hall was rented out to another bridal party and my guests had long since gone home. I had to call as many of my family and friends and beg them for copies of photos they took at the wedding. There won’t be any professional photos of my wedding day to hang on my walls, grace my photo album or show to our children. All I have are photos with the back of people heads in them or my husband and I posing with this guest or that one. Although I am grateful for the amateur pictures, nothing can replace having good quality photos of my once in a lifetime event. It still bothers me after 10 years of marriage to see a beautiful picture of a bride and groom. So, if you are planning you wedding, DON’T SKIP ON HIRING A HIGH QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHER!

  37. Maui Weddings

    Sometime being cheap is cost you pay more like you mentioned in the article as you are in your most important and never forget moment in your life like the marriage and you want to capture the whole precious moments to remember it forever, but cheap photographer can makes you sweat and disappointed by his cheap value camera as well as his photography. The only thing you can get is the regretfulness. So keep out of cheap in some valuable moments.

  38. John Reyment

    A great topic, thanks for posting. It is clichéd to ask what have you got left after the wedding, just photos and memories, but this is true. I have been married for 24 years now and our cheap photography decision made back then still haunts us. Admittedly, photography things were different back then and there is way more choice now but still…

    Today with a great squeeze on budgets, couples need to take the long term view. Some people say “we will never look at an album so we don’t need it.” I suspect t if they have something amazing, it will be pride of place, if it is not worth looking at, it won’t be.

    A common belief in the community is “You’ve got a nice big camera, it must take amazing photos!” It is not the equipment; it is the personal qualities and skills of the photographer. Photographers are not all the same, neither are chefs, dress designers, business consultants, doctors, accountants, lawyers, sales staff, cake makers, hair dressers. Why do people choose one business over another? Price is a factor but so is reputation, quality, service, experience, reliability. You do get what you pay for as in anything.

    Ultimately, a skilled experienced photographer with the right personal qualities for a wedding can make the day, a poorly skilled; over bearing photographer can ruin a wedding day.

    So when choosing a photographer, of course consider price. Please also include in your decision process skill, image quality, manner and experience. You only have a lifetime to live with this decision

  39. wine accessories

    The study sited is indisputable. I have got to say that tom should check his details and re-think his conclusion. The authorites have spoken and also rest of need to to respect that. Thanks for your very well laid out into.

  40. Money isn't everything....

    So, when my sister got married she spent over $4000 in 1999 on a wedding photographer that had been in the business for at least 15+ years.
    It was a family connection, but none the less he was a professional wedding photographer that has been in business since all of us girls were going up. I am now in my 30’s so that gives you an idea as to how long he has been in business.
    My sister had contracted out him and someone else showed up .(this was most likely stated in the contract, but she didn’t know that) She had problems getting her album and prints that were included in the wedding photography package. It wasn’t until she complained to the Professional photographers of America that she finally received what she actually payed for.

    Just because you charge a nice price tag, doesn’t mean you will get what you pay for.

    I have heard other horror stories from brides.

    Every bride should ask questions, lots and lots of questions to every vendor that they end up hiring for their wedding.

    For me seeing first hand what a $4000 wedding photographer does and doesn’t do compared to someone that loves what they do is a huge difference.

    Pricing is not everything….its about finding the perfect photographer that is willing to do what you want then you want. As you will be the one paying for it, so make sure you get what you want and everything is written in the contract.

  41. Chrissy Graddy

    Wow! What a great article! I found this because we are members of ispwp and they had it on their blog. We just got an email from a bride who was really interested in us doing her wedding say she changed her mind and is going to give her cousin who is going to be going to school for photography have a shot at their wedding photos….YIKES! So I sent her an email with this link and also just posted this link to our facebook fan page. I really wish her the best but hope she reads this. Thank you for the great article……I will continue to pass it on. It is always difficult when couples are going between a pro like us and then do the cheap route. Thanks again! Chrissy

    • Melissa Simon

      I’ve gotten the same response from brides too!! Ps. I love watching your work over the years! Ever since my sister Jen’s wedding that you guys photographed you had me hooked to your photography! Im no where nearly as busy as you and Justin are and I can only hope one day that I can get such a constant flow of awesome clients as you two! <3

  42. Charlotte

    I completely agree with what you say here. I’m the daughter of a professional photographer, and have often been an assistant at weddings, so I can tell you all it is a LOOOONG day and photographers put in a LOT of work. Sometimes not even getting lunch or dinner out of the deal! But when I got married, I eloped and was too broke to afford ANYTHING, let alone a photographer. I had one of our witnesses take some photos and…they’re crap! They capture the emotion, but they’re a bit out of focus and…I know what I COULD have had. And that’s the worst thing. I can now tell all of our brides that come through the gallery door that from personal experience…you get what you pay for, and it’s so SO disappointing when you don’t have decent photos to remind you of your wedding day. Planning a renewal of vows to make up for it though ;) Charlotte

  43. Ruth

    I know this is an old article, but I just read it and wanted to weigh in – my sister did the OPPOSITE – very cheap wedding, tons of DIY, BBQ instead of full catered dinner, cupcakes & cookies instead of cake, thrift shop vintage dress, BUT she spent a lot on a great photographer and in turn, the photos made the day look way more expensive than it really was!

    • Lauren Grove

      Yes yes yes! An awesome photographer can make a so-so wedding look amazing!!! :)

  44. Laura Alpizar

    Awesome article, I just found it ! It is so hard to educate clients , I always tell people, pictures is all that is left! (and maybe a ring hehe) so don’t worry! I am a photographer myself but couldnt afford a good wedding photographer when I got married, and that was the only thing I cared about since all the rest was diy. when I found the photog i wanted i told her i want her desperately , so we came up with a deal, i would second shoot for 10 weddings for my own wedding! That was fun! it was a destination wedding and all but it worked awesome!
    amazing article, keep up the awesome work!!!

  45. erica

    i couldn’t get the link to the blog post in reference to work?

  46. Kati Bear Photography

    I’d have to say that I disagree with you on some of your points. I don’t believe that the price of the photographer is necessarily an indication that they are good or vice Versa. There are many college age photographers ( i myself am one, and know many others) who provide high quality artistic photography at an affordable cost (less than 2,000). For myself, i am a lower-cost because of just a few reasons- it takes my longer to process the photos because i am busy with school and because i do not print or make photo books- just a high res disc.
    I don’t mean to offend you, but i just don’t believe that any client should judge photographers by their price, but their work.
    if a photographers photos suck, but they are expensive- don’t hire them. if a photographer’s work is beautiful and on the cheaper side, don’t just not hire them because they don’t cost enough- that is not a wise choice. it is about who the client feels comfortable with and whose photos appeal to their specific tastes and needs.

    • Marcella

      I think that’s what she’s saying. It’s not just the images you are paying for. It’s the experience, attentiveness, professionally full time dedication to their craft and on and on… so YES when you have a full time business and have been in business for more than 5 years you have bills to pay and 2000.00 will not keep any pro in business long term, passionate, driven, and constantly investing in their education to keep up on what needs to be done when you call yourself and ‘professional’

  47. Derek Friday

    Not everyday you will get married, so I strongly recommend that you manage your investment properly and though that the best way to keep these fantastic moments are in your pictures. please think twice when choosing your wedding photographer so you can get the best service and the best memories!

  48. Amy Tong

    Get the best photographer you can afford. After your wedding day is over, all you have are your memories and your photographs to pass down through the generations!

  49. Urban Magnolia

    I am a wedding planner in the Dallas area and I will tell you that it is difficult to find any photography to work for less than $2,000 without making a concession on location or timing or what you get with the package or quality. If you are having troubles finding a photographer and you live in the DFW area, then I don’t mind creating a custom package to assist with helping you find the perfect photographer.

  50. Claudia, A Day To Remember

    I have to disagree on some of these points. I don’t necessarily believe that cheap is bad and expensive is good. Yes, brides and grooms need a resource, but they don’t have the time, the knowledge, etc., to find the right one. I assure you, if they would actually invest in hiring a planner, they would be more secured in having, not just amazing photographers, but amazing professionals who will take care of their client. Having a planner will help them them select the right professional, without having to invest time and energy in hiring the right professional.

    As a planner, I’ve actually found some pretty amazing photographers that didn’t cost much, but as some mentioned, didn’t come with all the bells and whistles. Not every client wants an album, or prints…maybe they just want the CD of images. Honestly, I was one of those brides when I got married three years ago. We are all different and have different needs.

    A good planner will understand the needs and desires of their client and find a professional that will provide and exceed the clients’ needs and desires and match them to each of their client.

    This is such a great post, but it just doesn’t apply to photographers, it can apply to cinematographers, venues, designers, florists, bakers, etc. It boils down to finding someone that will work with you to commission the right professionals and lead you into the right direction….the planner!

    • Melodie

      The client that doesn’t want prints is a whole other beast- they don’t realize the value of a photograph beyond sharing it online. It’s something that a lot of people don’t realize, which is understandable but rather unfortunate.

  51. Anni Compton

    Lauren, thanks so much for sharing this – you’re so right, but I’m sorry you had to learn it the hard way. I hate that any well-intentioned couple (who obviously hasn’t shopped for wedding vendors before!) gets shafted, and I think the Knot is seriously ridiculous for posting such low estimates.

    I wanted to address something a lot of the other commenters are saying – that price doesn’t necessarily equal quality.

    While that is true, it does help with consistency and responsible business practices. Oftentimes the new, up and coming photographers may have lots of raw talent, but they may have underestimated the costs of running a business, and therefore get in over their heads. They may not have back-up equipment, insurance, or a good connection of other pros in case of the what-if situations. They may not keep back-ups of their work on a separate drive or cloud, and they may not be prepared for tricky lighting situations.

    As a photographer, I completely understand that a couples’ budget is what it is. If they truly can’t afford more than $1,000, then that’s okay – but something will have to give. In most cases, I really recommend to couples that if your budget is low, you sacrifice hours and extras over quality of photography.

  52. David Burnett (a Vendor)

    As a Pro Wedding Photographer you would not believe the times I hear this. I’m afraid the old saying ”You only get what you pay for” is so true.
    In my experience, find a photographer you can talk to and cut a deal. If the photographer is worth is salt he will accommodate you. If his doesn’t, find another. Just beware of the Crash and Burn brigade. These people are just cheap and nasty.

  53. George Ross (a Vendor)

    Agree with the get what you pay for. Somehow we all have to sell value but it is hard when “I want two shooters and assistant and all your products but I am on a very tight budget” :)

  54. Mike Yost (a Vendor)

    As a Professional photographer with so many years experience you would laugh, I have seen a trend in wedding photography that has become “scary” for many of us. Far too many brides (and grooms too) think that if someone owns a DSLR, a couple of lenses, an on camera flash, that presto zoomo, they are a “professional” photographer. Most haven’t learned how to take the camera of auto yet. Ah how I sometimes long for the days of film once again!

    Far too many of these enthusiasts are hanging out a Craigslist ad, or getting listed on “vendor” sites and haven’t a clue what they are doing. And coming in with $495 “Wedding packages” that include nothing but a DVD and perhaps a “second shooter” enthusiast trying to make a name for themselves. Yes, “Weekend warriors” who don’t have a clue about lighting, composition, or what setting controls exposure with a flash since even THAT is now “computer controlled” with their cameras in TTL mode.

    Yes, I understand that camera makers want to sell cameras that anyone can start with nothing and take decent photographs. But in the hands of a professional who understands the real concepts of creative photography, in camera, can make phenomenal photographs. Few couples see this as a “value” they want and go price shopping for the lowest, digital images only with print rights “Package” they can find.

    Do they understand the countless hours we have spent perfecting our craft? Most won’t even make a phone call to discuss their needs (which is mistake #2 in my opinion) and see if the photographer is a good match to their personality. And a face-to-face meeting is almost impossible- they want to “text it in”. Sadly, the value of great PERSONAL service is so low to many of these young brides and grooms, I often wonder how they are going to survive actually dealing with people.

    One couple I recently worked with, and didn’t hire me, sent me links to their Pinterest board. They wanted those AMAZING photographs clipped from some of the best wedding photographers in the world made, and an album full of those photographs, all the full resolution images on DVD and the Copyrights to the images- all for $500. They didn’t want any “edits” done, since they could do Photoshop themselves (which is WHY they wanted the copyrights), but me to build their album slugs and they would order it themselves.

    The sad part of the story is that they found someone who would do what they wanted. And the Karma part of the story is they came to me wanting me to “rework” their digital photos so they could have SOMETHING presentable to use. I had to laugh at them, face to face, and politely tell them “they should have hired me, spent the $2500 to begin with” because I wanted $3000 to do what they asked. AND if the photographers who did their wedding would give me permission to do so, I wanted it in writing and they could pay whatever they asked in order to do so. The bride left crying and mad at the same time. And yes, their images were just that bad.

    One wedding vendor I work with is a “designer” who does setup and planning. She has some of the most awful wedding photos I have ever seen. She was married about 6 years ago, and because she brings me so many good referrals, I have offered to “redo” many of her photographs for her. Totally free since she deserves something she loves and can have to share with others. She was so reluctant to even show me her originals since she really does cry every time she sees them. I only saw one or two “keepers” out of the entire DVD. She went “cheap” on her photography since her money was so low at the time and she failed to plan accordingly.

    There is so many more “war stories” I could tell, but I wish I knew the magic formula to get couples today to really think about what they are doing in selecting their photographer. If someone knows, feel free to let me know.

  55. Brian Davis (a Vendor)

    I’m a wedding photographer and I have to say that you hit the nail on the head. In fact, I met with a client last night and had this very same discussion…fortunately she already had the right idea.

    The photos are really the only thing you take away from your wedding so it’s worth the investment. I can’t tell you how many people that I talk to that wish they would’ve done their homework before selecting a photographer.

    Thanks for bringing this issue to light!

  56. Menning Photographic (a Vendor)

    Thank you for the great article, Lauren! We’re sorry about your experience, but we’re so glad that you’re selflessly sharing it so that other brides & grooms hopefully reconsider and don’t make the same mistake! Going cheap ends up costing more in the long run- the cost is regret and sadness that your one wedding day cannot be remembered in the beautiful way that you’d like to remember it.

  57. Stuart Meyer (a Bride)

    Good article. I commend you for publishing this. But, I would add something that, as a professional wedding photographer I tell my clients whether they like to hear it or not: be careful of very trendy styles in image processing. This will be a look applied to all of the images. The stronger the look, the more it will be out of style in 5 or 10 years. In 2003 it was selective color on BW. In 2005 it was the journalistic 45 degree angle. In 2007 it was very high contrast. In 2010 it was 70’s color processing. In 2012 it was the Instagram filters. Currently, it’s the backlit, low contrast images with a washed out blurry background and over-sharpened features. Of course, there’s the ever-present glowing eyes. I tell them my goal is for my clients to be proud to pull out their wedding album in 5 or 10 years (and 30 for that matter) without being embarrassed.

  58. Stuart Meyer (a Vendor)

    Good article. I commend you for publishing this. But, I would add something that, as a professional wedding photographer I tell my clients whether they like to hear it or not: be careful of very trendy styles in image processing. This will be a look applied to all of the images. The stronger the look, the more it will be out of style in 5 or 10 years. In 2003 it was selective color on BW. In 2005 it was the journalistic 45 degree angle. In 2007 it was very high contrast. In 2010 it was 70’s color processing. In 2012 it was the Instagram filters. Currently, it’s the backlit, low contrast images with a washed out blurry background and over-sharpened features. Of course, there’s the ever-present glowing eyes. I tell them my goal is for my clients to be proud to pull out their wedding album not just today, but in 5 years, 10 years, and in 30 years.

  59. Ly Sue (a Bride)

    Lauren…such a great article!
    I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying! As a former bride I went through the same experience and I so wish I could go back in time and change it. As a professional photographer now I educate my couples not to make the same mistake I made.

  60. Lauren Carnes (a Vendor)

    Lauren, wow, what a fabulous article and reminder of the need to research and find out exactly what you’re getting and make sure it’s what you want! Thank you for always being so honest and open on ELD! Always love your posts!

  61. ashley (a Vendor)

    girl! i love this post! i would love for you to have wedding pictures that you absolutely love!!! let me know if you ever want pictures!!! i would be more than happy to take them for you! <3

  62. Amanda - Amanda Douglas Events (a Vendor)

    Ah, this is so sad but it happens so often. It’s amazing how much you don’t see if you don’t know what you should be looking for. I always go through photographers websites with my clients and point out the good and the bad (for example sake, not to rag on anyone) so they know how to shop properly for the right person for them. And it’s amazing how often people don’t think about the style of photography but pick a photo based on the decor in the photos. Great post Lauren!

  63. Steve - Budget Wedding Photography (a Vendor)

    Some great advice in there. Expensive or cheap, always look into the photography in detail – it happens once so get it right!

  64. Nurihima (just curious)

    I read the site very carefully. Thanks for showing some awesome photographies. I think, Jemma & Scott is a famous photographer.

  65. Phil Cooper (a Vendor)

    I agree and disagree with this article. just because its cheap doesn’t make it bad, I think you have to like the style of the photographer and have a connection with them. my advice for Brides it just do your research and meet with a few Photographers before you make a decision . You only get one chance

  66. Cece Campbell (a Bride)

    I’m a first time bride and I have no clue has to how to pick a good
    Photography, what to expect. I
    Know I’d like to see their work as far a portfolio. Is their anything I need to ask them before hiring???

  67. Jessica (a Bride)

    I just wanted to add that sometimes its not about the price but rather the style and passion of the photographer. I do it for fun but am beginning to do more events. I am “cheap” because I don’t view myself as a professional. I do all digital and give my clients all images on flash-drive or CD. I have a natural eye that my clients love. I absorb myself in the moment and have had many compliments. One client said her friends were jealous of her wedding photos after paying 3X times more than I charged and wasn’t happy. So maybe I am the exception, but I do believe it truly depends and a matter of doing some homework.

  68. Rebecca (a Bride)

    This was very insightful! However, I only ever read about going too cheap, or not getting a second shooter, or hiring a friend, etc, as common mistakes. I’m still confused why I hired an expensive, award winning photographer and second shooter… And the photos were just average? A few stood out, most were very boring and repetitive and formal, and some were just “what were they thinking?”
    We paid $2600 for 5 hours of coverage, all images w/copyright, and 50 pg album… For what we got I wish we paid someone cheaper but gotten more coverage time! So many things were missed during reception, my prep photos are really pathetic, our bridal party photos are awkward and not fun like the examples I’ve seen her do. Worst is her customer service! She’s very rude once she’s gotten her money and the show is over. My husband and I have been going back and forth to get our album ordered. Why would an award winning, experienced photographer be such a pain to a client? Honestly I’ve never been so mistreated, it’s just hurtful because we can’t fix it and she won’t offer to help either:(

  69. Mood Republic Studios (just curious)

    Expensive does not equal hi quality work as cheap does not mean you don’t get the best deal, good images and a quality service. It can go either way.

    You just need to identify your budget limit and do your due diligence that the photographer you are hiring within your budget is what you really want and the the images they present are something you can be happy of.

  70. Ashley Cottee Photography (a Vendor)

    Thank-you for sharing Lauren and sorry to hear of your experience….sadly it is not the first time we have heard it or seen it. This is often why couples look at having Rock-The-Dress (Trash-The-Dress without necessarily trashing the dress) as a way to have additional photos in their collection.

    Yes, “you get what you pay for” sometimes holds true. The value of what you get out of it though is based on your investment……and it’s not all about money. Take the time to invest the time into doing some local research – not all blogs and pricing examples are created equal.

    While price is usually a factor and quality is important, we urge all couples to consider an engagement session. It gives everyone (couple & photographer) to have a chance to gel a bit, to get to know each other better. Something many couples don’t think of is the fact that they are likely to spend as much (or more) walking time on their wedding day with their photographer as they do with their significant other! If you select a photographer based only on price and you don’t get along, chances are you might have some awkward looking photos – even professional models/professional photographers can have that result…..

    If you like a photographer (their previous work and/or their personality) but they are not within your budget, sit down and talk with them. That’s not to say insult them by asking them to reduce their rate by half, but sometimes there are options with regards to the schedule for your special day and/or revisiting how much coverage you want. IE. is it better to hire a photographer you hate (but is cheaper) for 14 hours fearing bad photos, or a photographer that you love for 12 hours……

  71. David West (a Vendor)

    Hi Lauren
    I am considered a cheap photographer being that my prices are below £1000. The reason I charge less is to keep my diary full, but I have had so many couples tell me that the photos they have received are better that they expected. Not all cheap photographers are the same. Some like myself give a dam good service at a very reasonable cost.
    David West

  72. Brent (a Vendor)

    Great article! I’m a pro wedding photographer in the Washington DC area. Getting what you pay for is not exactly correct either. I believe a good reputation, referrals from previous clients, and a good portfolio is going to go a long way before just considering price. If you do your research well and give yourself a great amount of time to do it, you can certainly find a competent photographer that suits your budget and style. I’m really saddened when I see photos that could have been shot with an iPhone and the $6000 photographer took them. In the business I see so called pro photographers that deliver poor work like that all the time. In many cases its someone that purchased a decent camera at an electronics store and is trying to have you pay for it while they use you to learn photography. On the flip side, I’ve seen photographers that have been in business for over 30 years but have been doing the same crappy work for just as long and never improve. Research is key. Many couples also do not know a good well composed, processed photo from a bad one. In fact, most of my wedding packages include a wedding album and most of the time, the couples choose the worst photos for their album. And by worst, I mean a lot of the candid snapshots that just about anyone with a modern digital camera could have shot. They want the Facebook, selfie type photos, yuck. The ones that still tell their story but look like photos that you would hang on a wall for generations are often less chosen. It makes you wonder why the heck did they hire a pro photographer in the first place. We also have couples that look at a photographer’s portfolio, hire them, and then start sending them Pinterest photos that is not the photographer’s style of shooting. When you refuse to comply with that wish,” you’re not skilled enough to do that?” No I’m skilled alright, but this is not my style of shooting. If you use Pintrest or some other source of inspiration for your wedding ideas, look at these sources before choosing your photographer; not after to make sure they are a good fit.

    I agree with most points mentioned here. However, “weekend warrior” and “part time” is no indication that somehow because the photographer chooses not to do this full time they are anything less than professional. The word professional is used very loosely today as well. Many people equate it with earning a living at it. To me professional means quality and someone that has the technical skills, personable, and business sense to deliver a superior product that their client is satisfied with. I work mostly on weekends because I choose to, but I have a passion for it and my clients love my “professional” results. I’m in my mid fifties and have been at it for many years.

    Sorry for being long winded here but wedding photography is a team effort and a mutual appreciation of both the client and photographer.

  73. Steve Rubin (a Vendor)

    Lauren, this is a fantastic article. As a wedding photographer that strives for the highest quality at a reasonable price (your pricing was right at the top level of my pricing) I struggle every day to help brides understand that there’s such a difference in “professionals”.

    I was actually at a wedding as a guest (the bride new a friend so they decided not to hire me as I was friends with the grooms parents). My wife saw the photographer and was not only surprised at the lack of of professionalism in the way she handled herself, but also in the lack of the equipment she had.

    In any case, you certainly have hit some very valid points. I’d love to connect with you via email if you have the time to help me get more of your perspective as I continue to try to help brides understand what to look for, whether they hire me or not. Thanks in advance for consideration of the reach out.

  74. Eva (a Bride)

    Ah, I was so disappointed when I did not get good photos for my wedding. It seems like photographer took ugly photos of me on purpose. I have round face-he shot front and lower – resulting in a very chubby face (otherwise I’m not fat) and many wrinkles. I have specifically told him in advance “we are not so young please edit pictures if we have wrinkles”. No, I got really ugly images. Not all, if they are very from far away, blurry or grainy-what most of them are anyway. And so for the other guests in photos. It is not acceptable to take photo of an elderly guest close up, from lower perspective, high sharpness on (all details-meaning wrinkles, hair etc is visible). Heh even young and pretty women in their 20’s turned out quite bad (hey my pretty cousin does not look like that!). If I had asked a friend, that would be understandable somehow more acceptable, but I paid for him, no matter if it was much lower than standard. I keep thinking should I complain? I could make huge list what I did not like with examples. Starting from the fact that he was late-I wanted to capture moment how groom sees me. No, before ceremony I have to call photographer and ask where he is. Luckily some of friends of family had good cameras and took some decent pictures, but this is surely nothing what wedding or professional photography should be. And when I even pointed out that maybe people would look slimmer if he took pictures from higher up, he talked back! And continued shooting while almost crawling. My dress seems not to “fit the frame”, people looking different directions and just very unflattering positions for everyone and choice of light, ugh… Ah, and remembering the time when I took photos for my friend wedding myself and took lot of time editing faces from all not so nice things….People were happy…. This “photographer” considered that “editing” means turning photo black and white or pumping up sharpness (as if that’s very needed-on face especially). And the worst photo-where we actually look good-has some people in background, behind my head, so I think he used standard free program to remove that person, it looks like I have some ghost behind me. Should I lough or cry? I get angry and depressed each time I look at those photos, and not sure what should I save next for, maybe botox or a lift? I ask myself, do I really look THAT bad??? Is that the feeling i should have after looking at my own wedding photos? Or maybe it could be better to promise myself never ever in my life to go cheap on photography where it matters. Or if I can’t, like in this case we we tight on budget, maybe short studio shot and friends with cameras would have been enough…..

  75. Curtis Wallis (a Vendor)

    Love that you posted this! It is such a difficult area to explain to a couple. Thank You

  76. Ciprian Vatamanu (a Vendor)

    Sometimes cheap is not the answer :)! And when we talk about wedding photography, cheap is not good at all. Of course, if you don’t know the pricing, you can’t evaluate if a service is cheap. The unfortunate fact is that if the photographer was a bad choice, the mistake can’t be repaired after the wedding :|.

  77. Katherine Bejerano

    This happened to me & im totally living with the regret of pictures I will never have and always dreamed of having :( gotta get over it…

  78. Nicole Amanda Photography (a Vendor)

    I hope more people read this post. Price is important but should be maybe 3rd on the list I’d say. My philosophy is CONNECTION. If you feel awkward around your photographer, that is all you will feel when you look back at your photos. Who wants that?!? Second being quality/you like their style. THEN affordability!

  79. Bogdan Terente (a Vendor)

    I agree with you! With some rare exceptions, cheap means poor quality and inevitable regrets!

  80. Yvonne (just curious)

    I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I paid a professional photographer $5000 to take pictures of my wedding 10 years ago and I never picked up my album, nor did he send me my negatives. I know this is hard to believe, but I was overwhelmed after the wedding and having a hard time pulling up those digital photos on a website (our network was as slow as molasses) where he said I could see them. I had assumed I would get little photos I could choose from and would be able to place everything out on a table. Then I immediately turned all of my energies into getting pregnant, traveling the East coast to see doctors. It took 5 years to get pregnant. I had twins which were born early and all of my energy went into them and work. I know this sounds outrageous, but my life is only settling down with their getting into elementary school. I had professional family pictures taken of my family that cost even more, but this photographer sat down with me, weeding out photos until we got down to the number we agreed would be in the album. I told her about my wedding album and she said that’s too overwhelming to do alone, you’d never get it done. I’m sure there are brides that do get it done, but I was on a time clock to get pregnant and honestly didn’t have that much time to weed through 400 pictures. During the first year, the photographer did try to put an album together for me, but it didn’t include some shots I know I wanted in my album and included shots I didn’t care for. I called his office and left a message, but I’m scared he might call back and say sorry Charlie, it’s been way too long and I’m going to give you the album I created years ago or even worse, I threw that stuff away and I have nothing to give you. Can either of those things really happen to me?

  81. Pedro Bellido (just curious)

    Great article! It is true that we have to find a connection with family and friends to make everything possible. Thanks for sharing!

  82. Lauren Marie (a Bride)

    So important! There are no redos for weddings!

  83. sabrina (a Vendor)

    It’s so sad. I met a couple while filming their wedding whom regretfully hired a cheap photographer. They now have a lawsuit against this woman because she never delivered the photos. There were bad signs, such as; she was late, she wouldn’t return phone calls or texts, she only brought one camera and one battery for a 10 hour shoot. Luckily we were able to provide video of the entire event but it’s just sad to see this happen when they expected photos too.

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