Budgeting For Your Wedding

Ok, so it's not the most glamorous part of planning a wedding, but you need to nail down what you need and get the best out of your day without running yourself into debt. Here's a few ways to make the process a little less painful...

Work out what you want

'It may seem obvious but you need to decide the type of wedding you want before doing your sums and booking venues,' says wedding planner Julia Dowling. 'I've seen a lot of couples book the venue first, only to realise they've blown the majority of their budget and can't afford another element they were desperate to include'

Have the money do the talking

About 50% of couples foot the whole bill themselves, which means that the other half ask for help, mainly from Mum and Dad. Sit down with each set of parents individually, you with yours and your partner with theirs, and ask if they would like to contribute to your wedding day.

Add it up

Your parents' contribution + yours = your total budget. Note: do not include your credit card limits in the total. You don't want to run yourself into debt as a married couple, that's no fun is it?

Spend it wisely

Now that you have a figure, start thinking about your priorities. What do you want most? A jam-packed dance floor? Amazing food? Or brilliant a brilliant photographer such as myself? (Shameless advertising right here!) Allot the bulk of your budget there and find ways to save elsewhere.

Consider every cost

'Most people go over budget by at least 30% because they didn't account for everything up front', says wedding planner Annie Lee.
Be sure to include the following hidden costs:
Dress alterations
Weather back-up plans (tents, heaters, umbrellas etc)
Taxes (Always ask if things include tax!)
And even postage costs for invites!


Hopefully these few tips will help you along your way to planning your perfect day, with as little trouble as possible.

Why do you need a wedding photographer?

So you may have found me on Google or locally as a wedding photographer. Let's be honest right now my prices are some of the cheapest you'll find in my area, but I'm definitely not the most expensive. Also if you're reading this blog, a major factor in figuring out if you absolutely need a wedding photographer, is your wedding budget.

So let me break down exactly what a wedding photographer should be doing for you. (Yes, this includes me)
First of all, you should chat with the photographer and have a look as his/her/their work to see if they are the right fit for you. You wouldn't want to book a photographer that only shoots black & white images, if you absolutely hate them! Me personally, I find it hard to like black and white images purely because I think I overdid it as a child. These days, I only make an image black and white if I feel it really fits the mood and feel of whats going on.

Then you want to see what kind of package they can do for you, whether you want a photobooth, Polaroids on the day, how fast they turnaround the images, how many free prints are included etc. etc...

Another major question I get asked is "How many images will I get?" - At this point I put everything down, look at the couple and tell them straight. That if you want 1,000... 5,000... 10,000 images, I am not the photographer for you. Now I'm not going to knock any other photographer that does hold their selling point on "I will give you X amount of images" as there are probably some amazing shooters out there. But the majority of them don't know a thing about capturing moments, they don't know about lighting, feel, mood, poses, organisation skills. Hell if that's all photography was then everyone would be doing it, just hold the button down for 5-8 hours straight and you've got 10,000 images!
But that's not my style, I want to capture moments. My style of shooting is to try and stay hidden, and no that doesn't mean I'm going to be hiding behind the wedding cake trying not to be spotted, but rather let your day flow as it's supposed to without you and your guests feeling on edge.
If people really want a number (which they usually do) I tell them I can give them roughly 40 quality images per hour, that they will be happy with. But again, this varies on the length of your day, how much traveling is involved, how many guests you have etc.

You also have to factor in the fact that you are hiring a photographer to do one very specific job, to capture your day just as it was. Sure, you have a fancy new iPhone that captures brilliant images. But again, it's the knowledge of the photographer that makes the difference. And let's face it, you've spent thousands on your dress, rings, venue, food, cars... Why wouldn't you hire a professional to remember all those details?

What does the photographer do at the end of your big day? Is his/her/their work done? Absolutely not. Let's not forget editing all your images, building you a preview, burning CD's, creating a wedding album (probably the thing I hate most, but it has to be done, and done well!)

Hopefully me rambling on has helped you decide whether you need a photographer or not, are the things listed above important to you?


Thanks again for taking the time to read my once in a blue moon blog post, I keep telling myself I should blog more and I promise I'll fit them in my schedule when I can!

Invest in memories.

How a typical shoot goes...

So I realise its been some time since I last made a blog, but never late then never I guess, right?

Now a typical studio shoot is actually fairly simple, to me. But there's far more work that goes into it than people generally think. For starters, you need to get the job in the first place. Which is a monumental task. Considering I am a 24 year old, living at home with my father and no dedicated studio. People look down on me, don't take me seriously and/or aren't interested.

Since it's all I can afford, I use a spare room in my house as a studio. Which in fact it's more than what I need at the moment. People think that it's a bad thing, when in actual fact its good for everyone because I live in a safe area and it keeps costs down, which I pass on the savings to my customers. 

Next issue would be my age, yes I am only 24. However I have more than enough confidence to work with people, direct them, pose them, and knowledge of what I want, how I'm going to get it and what I'm doing on the day. I'm a fast learner and consider myself capable of doing any task thrown at me.

So once that's out of the way, people start to treat me seriously. I take 50% of the cost as a deposit, this is basically to stop people cancelling on me. And so far it's been working because I can't be dealing with people that aren't as serious as I am about my photography.
Next we discuss a theme, props and any possible other ideas my client would like. These usually end up being images from Google. Which we use for inspiration, but not to copy.

Then comes shoot day, this is the day I set everything up. Make sure all batteries are charged, props ready, make sure MUA/stylists are turning up, background is up and clean, studio equipment is set up and ready to go and of course I make sure there's something to drink for everyone involved.
We usually run through all the images we found as inspiration and try to mix up the poses a little, change the lighting and maybe even the background. I take any input anyone has to offer and if I think it's good or it will work, we do it! 

After that, I take the images from the memory card and straight onto the computer for editing. This is actually the most time consuming part. If I really like an image, I can spend up to 5 hours retouching and airbrushing that one single image. Picking on all the fine details, and yes, I'm an OCD freak when it comes to photography. So one speck of lint on the side of a dress, will always be edited out or I'm not happy with the image!

Finally, after editing everything I send the final images back to my client for approval. And usually that's that. But inside I'm hoping they come back to me and tell me I've missed something in an edit, because it keeps me on my toes. It also means they have really cared about the images and they want it to be perfect too. I love clients like that!

But that's it! Not as easy as you first thought huh? That being said, just because it's not easy, doesn't mean I don't love it. I wouldn't change it for the world!


Invest In Memories.