Document your special day without blowing your budget with these spending smarts for hiring a wedding photographer.

January 07, 2015
Chrisman Studios

Be a Talent Scout

It's taking a chance, but you could hire a not-quite-brand-name to capture images and video, such as a professional's assistant, an art school grad, or a photographer who snaps pics for local magazines, say Kelly Seizert and Maria Baer, co-owners of Ritzy Bee Events in Washington, D.C. But hedge your bet by doing a test run first: Hire them to cover a shower or dinner party to see how they handle lighting and candids.

Book by the Hour

When hiring a photographer and videographer, ask for an hourly rate instead of a set fee, suggest Seizert and Baer. Enlist your MOH to document the prewedding-prep fun, and have the pros arrive just before the ceremony and leave right after the cake-cutting or first dance. (Do you really need pictures of tipsy guests at the end of the night?)

Skip the Extras

Opt for basic coverage instead of pricey packages. See how your photos (and budget) look after the fact, and then order any extras, like blowups and gallery wraps, à la carte.

Arrange Your Own Images

Time to dust off those scrapbooking skills: Buy a pretty book and assemble an album of wedding photos yourself.

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