Randy + Ashley » Southern California Wedding Photographers

How to Book Your Dream Photographer on a Budget

When planning a wedding, there’s so. much. to. do. Even when you’re working with a wedding planner, there’s a lot to consider and one of the biggest factors in every decision made is the …

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Every wedding has a budget - some are a bit bigger than others, sure - but every wedding has a budget that they’re trying to stick to. In California, the average cost of a wedding is roughly $37,000* and we have seen budgets of all ranges, from a few thousand to a hundred thousand.

So how do you book your dream photographer on a budget?

We’ve got five quick tips for you!!

1.) Be realistic on your expectations and your budget.

There’s a great wedding photographer available for every budget - but be realistic about it! If your budget is $10,000 for your wedding, shopping for a $10,000 photographer is not going to serve anyone  well. Most couples spend approximately 10-15% of their total budget for photography, and regardless of what your budget is - that can still be a pretty good sized chunk of change.

2.) Start saving NOW!

Did you just get engaged? Even if you haven’t set a date yet, start a wedding budget savings account. Put a little bit in it when you can, and see those savings add up!! If you have a longer engagement, that gives you even more time to save up!

3.) Ask about payment plans!

Every professional photographer (heck, every professional wedding vendor) that we know requires a booking retainer - it can range in numbers and percentages, so we’ll just use us as an example. We require 25% of the total wedding package at booking, BUT - we also offer payment plans!! Coming up with the remaining 75% can be difficult and stressful, so we allow our couples to make payments as they go along. We’re a bit more ‘lax about it, but ask your photographer if they offer payment plans or the option to make payments at your convenience.

4.) Ask about cash discounts!

This is something that many people do not even think about - in fact, we’ve only been asked twice about it since we started our business in 2010!! On average, we spend a few thousand dollars a year on credit card transaction fees - it’s one of those “gah, this sucks, but it’s part of doing business” things. We’d MUCH rather offer a small discount to YOU and NOT pay those transaction fees!

Plus, you’d make Dave Ramsey SO proud because let’s face it: credit cards are the devil AND the last thing you want to do when you’re starting your new life as a married couple is to be drowning in debt. Debt sucks, guys!

And last but not least:

5.) Prioritize.

Decide what is really important to you both. For some couples, they dream about getting married at a specific venue. For other couples, they want to have the most kick-ass party of all time with an amazing DJ. Decide what’s important to YOU, and budget it accordingly.

But remember… after the cake is eaten, the tables are taken down, the last song of the night is played and the flowers have wilted: your photos are the only things you’ll have of your wedding. They are what will be displayed in your home, on your walls and in your wedding album. They are what your children and grandchildren will cherish for years to come.

If you like reading articles like this, be sure to check out more Advice for Brides + Grooms blogs!

You can also Pin some of your favorite articles from our Pinterest board!

* Source: This article from ValuePenguin.

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