Hints and tips on finding a photographer to suit your budget.
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Budget Wedding Photography

On a tight budget? Many brides and grooms have asked us for tips on budget wedding photography. And we're pleased to oblige.

Firstly, don't underestimate the importance of using a professional photographer. That may not sound like a great money-saving tip, but your wedding photographs will preserve the biggest day of your life. Instead of dropping it from your budget, spend time investigating the options. Budget wedding photography is about spending your money wisely – not making a decision you could regret.

Wondering how to pay for the photographer? Why not save in another area of the wedding budget, such as the cake – ask 3 friends to make a layer each, and pay your local cake shop to ice it, then decorate with fresh flowers. Or the reception decorations – make your own with lots of glass vases containing a single rose. There are plenty of things you can do yourself for the wedding – but wedding photography isn't one of them.

But don't despair. You can still save yourself money. Here are our top tips for budget wedding photography.

Obtain plenty of quotations – this will allow you to get a good price. It also gives you leverage for haggling! Use our nationwide database to find photographers in your area, and request information from all of them. Of course you shouldn't just depend on prices – spend some time looking at their work and choose a photographer who will take shots you'll love.

Recommendations and Testimonials – When choosing a photographer, ask around for recommendations. This is by far the best way to select your photographer, whether you want to save money or you have a mega budget to spend. Recommendations will also help ensure you're not just choosing on the basis of price (tempting, we know).

Credentials – Check that your photographer is accredited by the British Institute of Professional Photographers (LBIPP, ABIPP or FBIPP), The Master Photographers Association or the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, all of whom bind their members to a Code of Professional Conduct. This is your way of ensuring that your photographer will behave in a professional manner at all times.

Ask a friend – Let's be honest. It isn't a good idea to ask a friend to take your wedding pictures. Even a friend who fancies themselves as a hot shot could make a mistake on the big day, which would probably cause a bit of a rift! These photographs are all you'll have to remember the day for years to come – so we can't emphasise strongly enough the importance of hiring a photographer. However, what you can do is ask friends with digital cameras to shoot the event from a guest's perspective. Then you'll have a charming mix of professional portraiture and informal pictures, which you can mix and match in your wedding album.

Buy a pack of disposable cameras – You can order cameras in white or gold especially for weddings. Put one on each table at your evening celebration and add a tag asking guests to take some pictures and return the camera to a nominated relative. This usually leads to some entertaining photography as the wedding party gradually becomes more tipsy… You can include the results in your main wedding album, or you can compile an extra book of family photography.

Negotiation – ask your photographer whether you can keep the negatives.

Some photographers will allow you to have the negatives after the wedding. This means that after the first set of prints, you can get prints made yourself on the high street (or online) at a cheaper price. If you have relatives and friends who will want reprints, this is a good way to do it.

Buy your own album – instead of a package where the photographer puts together your album, make it yourself after the wedding. It's a fun project the two of you will enjoy, not to mention saving yourself a few pounds! If you don't have the cash for a nice album, put one on your Wedding List. Or, if you're going somewhere longhaul, why not find a unique album while you're on honeymoon? You'll often find albums among the handmade souvenirs in markets in India , Africa and Malaysia – probably for a fraction of the price you'd pay over here.

Don't forget that there are plenty more ways to cut back on your budget – wedding photography should be somewhere at the top of your priority list. Start your search using our photographer search tool. Good luck!

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