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Create Lasting Memories without Breaking the Bank: Wedding Photography on a Budget

So you’re getting married in 4 weeks, that castle on the hill is costing you a pretty penny, and between the catering, the wedding cake, the entertainment and the plane tickets, you’re not sure how you’re going to make it through the biggest event of your life without putting your new family into serious debt. That’s not even including one of the most essential components of any wedding, your wedding photos. Fortunately, you’re pretty handy with a DSLR, and you’ve got a nice network of friends who are into photography themselves and are willing to help. While you might be able to shave up to 10% off your wedding expenses by dropping the professional wedding photographer, can you really trust something as important as your wedding photos to friends and family? With a little planning and finesse, it turns out you can—here’s a quick guide on how you can leverage your resources to do your own wedding photography on a budget.

Tap Your Network

If you’re reading this blog chances are you’re into DSLR photography, and since “birds of a feather flock together” chances are high that there may be friends and family who are handy with a camera. They don’t have to be professionals, but pick 3 or 4 photography buffs and christen the one with the most experience as the “lead” photographer.

Create a List of Poses and People

A little bit of planning can go a long way—before you can divvy out shots to your photographers, you need to know what photos you want to have in your photo album. Check out the standard offerings and wedding packages of professional wedding photographers to get started on a list of poses you’ll want to have in your wedding album. To help you get started, you can generally break up a wedding album into four categories: before the wedding, during the ceremony, formal poses, and the wedding reception. You can even do your own engagement session a week or two in advance before the wedding.

Acquire your Wedding Photography Gear

Wedding Photography on a Budget - Beach Camera Blog There’s a reason wedding photographers are expensive—the cameras, equipment, software and experience that goes into producing high quality photos are not to be underestimated. That said, a photography enthusiast might already have some of this equipment and software. Check your inventory and rent what you don’t have. Here are a few suggestions for helping you capture that chic wedding photography look,
  • Acquire a Polaroid Camera and Film—Super simple and easy to use, one snap is all your amateur photographer needs to generate a classy vintage wedding photo.
  • Poladroid is a free downloadable software that allows you to convert your digital photos into polaroids—handy if you want to save money on expensive polaroid film.
  • Tripods, softboxes and lighting—if your friends are wielding DSLRs this will help you achieve that “wedding look.”
  • DSLR Camera - The Canon EOS 5D is what a pro might use, but any DSLR will do with the right lighting and software and there are plenty of affordable kits available like this Nikon D3200

Shooting the Wedding

Put your best photographer on the important shots—walking the aisle, the wedding kiss, and cutting of the cake. One trick that has worked for brides in the past is to take advantage of the infinite monkey theorem and use sheer numbers to get the shots that you want. With the right planning, you can divide up 4-5 desired shots among your fleet of photographers, and pick out the best at the end of the event. Take care not to go overboard with the cameras though, because nobody likes having the paparazzi flashing cameras in their face.

Post Processing

What self respecting camera buff doesn’t have Photoshop? Still if you don’t think you or your network have the skills to properly post process all those wedding photos, consider hiring a pro to do the post processing for you—you’ll have already saved a ton by forgoing having a professional photographer at your wedding.

The Wedding Album

There are few ways you could go about making the actual wedding album. These days it’s as simple as sending your favorite photos to the album maker of your choice. Try BrideBox or Milkbooks for traditional custom orders, or create your own using Blurb and DIY tutorials on the web. The possibilities for creating your own album are endless, and with the money you’ve saved on wedding photography you can create an album that will last generations.  
Wedding Photography on a Budget - Beach Camera Blog
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