Happy Couple
March 19, 2014

Tips for Affordable Wedding Photography


With so many parts of the wedding budget screaming for attention it’s hard to know where to put your money. We’re of course biased so we think you shouldn’t skimp on the photography. Here’s a list of ways to ensure you get the best wedding photography possible without sacrificing what’s important to you:

1.  Non-Primetime weddings – Most people get married on Saturdays in the summer. During these peak wedding times, vendors services are in high demand and getting a discount is nearly impossible. Just about any day other than Saturday and any month other than May, June, July and August is considered off peak. Most photographers, venues and other vendors will offer reduced rates if a wedding date falls within this timeframe. Stark Bellamy Photography certainly will offer discounts for off-peak weddings.

2. DIY where you can – We’ve seen it time and again. Our clients tend to be talented and resourceful and they know what they want for their wedding day. They make their own bouquets and boutonnières to save money for things like quality photography or a stunning venue.

3. Prioritize – It’s easy to blow the budget spending on the wedding of your dreams. In the real world, hiring a helicopter to make your exit might not make sense. It’s easy to get dragged down by what you could have if the budget didn’t exist. Make a list of what you absolutely want for your wedding and prioritize that list. If you’ve decided that you won’t budge on the venue and hiring an experienced photographer like Stark Bellamy Photography makes sense, then you have to ask yourself if you really need to spend $500 on that wedding cake. And, as Eric likes to say, the wedding cake is the sand mandala of the wedding world – nothing remains of the cake afterward but the photos.

4. Plan ahead…Far ahead – If your getting married in two years and you’ve just put a deposit down on the venue and photographer, guess what? You have another year to spread out the costs on that wedding. Also, some vendors will offer a discount on weddings if they are booked at least one year out – Stark Bellamy Photography is one of them.

5. Destination weddings – Believe it or not, you can save on the cost of the entire wedding if you book one out of state or out of the country. Depending on how you plan it, you may only have to pay travel expenses for yourself and the meals for the people who can afford to come. Sorting out the politics of who can actually afford come is a real concern but you can ponder that as you honeymoon on the beach following the ceremony.

6. iPod instead of DJ – This can go wrong. I’ve seen it. But if you do decide to ditch the DJ and play music from an device like an iPod, just know there are certain things you need to be able to live with if things go awry. That trusted uncle gets drunk and forgets to press play, or plays the wrong song. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to were good because the DJ kept the atmosphere exciting. Omitting this important person from the day probably won’t ruin it but it might be the difference between an event people talk about for years and one they leave early. You’ve been warned.

7. Hire the right photographer – The right photographer will include engagement photos and digital archive with the cost of their services. There are no hidden fees and they won’t hold your photos hostage until you or your family buy a certain amount of prints. Stark Bellamy Photography always offers a free engagement session. We can’t guarantee a sunset like the one in the above photo but we’ll be sure to make some stunning photos for you. And, you’ll get a digital archive with print release after the wedding.

8. Choose a less expensive venue – Sure the venue is important. You need a place to get married and usually that means renting a place. If you’ve done any research you know that all venues aren’t created equal. Some all-inclusive places are designed for weddings and command a high fee. That might make sense if you need catering and a bartender anyway, but if you’re having Chipotle cater it and your college roommate will tend bar, maybe you can find a venue that’s a bit easier on the budget.

9. Spend where you can’t skimp – As I mentioned, we’re a bit biased. We think you should spend your hard-earned money on quality photography. Some will suggest that hiring a less experienced photographer is a good way to save money. If all goes well, that may be the case. But, a seasoned photographer will know what to do when things go off script. We’ve seen our share of small disasters. Most don’t ruin the day but if that inexperienced photographer may not know what to do when the cloudburst forces the party inside. Saving money on terrible photographs is never a good investment.

If you think spending your money on quality photography is a good idea but want to know more about how to make it affordable, please drop us a line. Years of working as photojournalists has made us resourceful. We would love to help you think outside the box to make sure your day becomes a reality without breaking the budget.


Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.