Barrie Gillies, BRIDES
The average couple spends almost 10 percent of their budget on the wedding photos. Here's how to make the most of every penny.
1. "Consider hiring an established photographer's associate," says San Francisco event planner Amy Nichols. "Since he's building a portfolio, chances are he'll charge less."
2. "Everyone wants to feel valued," says Spencer Lum, principal photographer at New York's Friday Sunday. "If you take the time to make a genuine personal connection with your photographer, he's more likely to be flexible about the cost."
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3. Some high-end photographers offer registries. Choose one, then have your parents spread the word about how much you'd love contributions to your wedding-photo fund.
4. "You're not going to get an eight-thousand-dollar fee down to three thousand," says Nichols. Find a pro in your price range, and save the negotiating for extra services (like an engagement shoot).
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5. If your budget is tight, consider skipping the getting-ready shots and booking someone only through the cake cutting, says Nichols.
6. For some brides, reception coverage isn't a priority. If you're one of them and have talented friends you trust, hire a professional for the ceremony and portraits, then enlist your besties to capture the party's key moments.
7. "If you're having a smaller wedding-under seventy people- ask the photographer if he will work without an assistant," says Nichols.
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8. Opt for the photographer's basic package. Services (editing, retouching) get bundled into one fee, making it more cost-effective.
9. Meet with a lot of photographers in your area. You may find a few with similar styles and skill levels who charge very different prices.
10. Ask for a CD of the images and a release to reprint them. That way, you can order your photos from an inexpensive online service.
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