Photography is another one of those things that we'd like to have, but we're not super picky about. We knew that we did not want to spend thousands of dollars on photography, but we also didn't want to pay for really terrible photos. We toyed with the idea of skipping the photographer, and simply asking our guests to send their pictures our way, or designating a family member to take pictures, but we ultimately decided on hiring a real photographer. Why? Because the one we found is both great, and cheap!
Lots of people choose to splurge on a great photographer because photos are very important to them. It's totally great that you know what's important to you, and are willing to do what it takes to get that, but that doesn't mean that you HAVE to spend a lot of money to get quality pics! My homepage on my computer is Craigslist, and I routinely spend a few minutes searching for free items, odd jobs, or lately, wedding deals. (Someday I'll write about the free invitation envelopes I scored…) What I found in my searching is that photography does not have to cost an arm and a leg! On a daily basis, I would find a handful of photographers offering their services for less than $1000. And this isn't in the middle of nowhere, this is in Annapolis and Washington, DC! These were reputable photographers with professional portfolios, years of experience, and some great prices! Of course, I wasn't going to hire the first great photog I found because she was cheaper than the average. I'm willing to be patient to get a great deal.
So, I kept looking. And then I found a photographer who was new to the area, and was offering to do a wedding for free. I e-mailed, and he said my wedding date was too far away to qualify for the deal, but he could give me a flat $60/hour for my date if I wanted.
$60/hour?? That's $360 for six hours. Less if we don't stay that long, and only $420 if we stay an extra hour… this sounded like a really great option. But can a random Craigslist photographer be reliable? I set up a meeting with the guy, and Nate and I brainstormed a list of questions and items to discuss. We met up, and pretty quickly knew that this was our guy. He was down to earth, easy to talk to, and really got what we were about. We told him about our total disinterest in the “portrait” shots and posed pictures, and that we really just wanted someone to capture the mood, the emotion, and the excitement of the people at our ceremony and reception. He really got it, showing us sample pictures that my artist fiancé was impressed with.
He told us it'd be fine if we wanted to look around at other photographers to compare, and let him know in a few weeks. We knew this would be a waste of time. Sometimes when you find what you want, you have to jump on it. So, he sent us a contract, and we checked another item off our list!