Wedding Ideas

Wedding Photography 101: Can you Really DIY?

Posted At : June 30, 2010 10:07 AM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 6,632
Articles on these Topics: Wedding on a Budget,Wedding 101,Do It Yourself (DIY)
Articles about these Services: Photographers

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photo: Joel Smith Photography, St. Catharines / Niagara

Can you 'Save' on Wedding Photography Costs?

Your wedding will of course have its share of unforgettable moments, moments which you will definitely want to preserve, whether on photo or video. This much is certain! So, the question becomes how you will document those moments, which usually ends up meaning deciding exactly how much you can afford to spend!

Your Options

  • You can hire a professional, to shoot your wedding and also provide "post-production" (albums, touch-ups etc)
  • You can hire a professional, to only shoot the wedding and deliver the "raw" images to you
  • You can leave it up to your family and friends and save a fair amount of money.

What could you miss by being frugal?

Wedding photographers come with all sorts of price tags and provide a very wide variety of services. So, if you are trying to stay within a particular budget, what you need to decide is what exactly do you expect out of your wedding photographs? Which means that you first have to figure out what is actually possible or, rather, available, to start with..


We have over 2,000 Canadian wedding photographers showcasing their work in our directory, so we did a little research ourselves, looking for the "ultimate package": the most that a photographer could possibly offer you, in Canada; the things that the DIY option couldn't possibly include. So far as we can tell, that would be Joel Smith's 365° Wedding service (Joel works in the St Catharines/Niagara area). He calls it "365", because this option literally gives you access to his services for a full year around your wedding day. He documents the entire event for you.

photo: Joel Smith Photography, St. Catharines / Niagara

What a Professional Can Do

Say you hired Joel and booked his "365" Service (or someone else (nearer you!) and requested "the works")

What a "Package" Should get you

  • The photographer meets with you, gets to know you and your wedding party, shows you examples, discusses locations, attitudes & props. i.e. actually plans the photo sessions and designs them around your own personal style.
  • "Follows" you for the year, captures special planning moments, fittings etc.
  • Holds a dedicated "e-Session", for engagement pics, suggesting possible locations (based on their experience around town) and specific shots.
  • Attends stags and stagettes.
  • (naturally!) Shoots your wedding day, from morning preparations to the end of the party, including everything in between: the ceremony, "formals" away from the crowds, candids during the reception etc etc.
  • Stays with you after the event (after the honeymoon?) for a "trash-the-dress" session (some photographers will actually provide spare dresses and even help you modify them, just for your trash-the-dress! example)
  • They will also
  • Pre-screen your hundreds/thousands of images, make shortlists and touch-up as required (Photoshop!)
  • Compile a wedding album, potentially including those very sharp, practical and fashionable coffee table books (love those..)

What a Professional Just-for-the-day will still get you

You can skip the "package deal" above and simply hire a professional to shoot the wedding day and just give you the "raw" images at the end. This may still be preferable to the DIY option, since a professional normally ..
  • Uses high-end equipment for the best possible photos
  • Has a variety of lenses which allow close ups and angles without interfering with the couple and the day's activities
  • Understands lighting and can adjust easily to any lighting changes, indoors or out - indeed they will bring their own lighting, if required
  • Has backup cameras/batteries etc on hand - just in case..
  • Will bring a second (or third) photographer on site, as required, so nothing is missed

photo: WeddingChicks.com

Artistic Merit!

Lastly (but definitely not "least") you should definitely not underestimate talent! A brilliant photographer would most likely be a professional by now, yes? So rarely (and mostly accidentally!) will some friends-and-family photos achieve the results you would want from your wedding day. Take a look at our award winners from 2009, to see what we mean:

If you must DIY..

Just remember: plan, plan and then plan some more. Spend some time carefully arranging the details:
  • Scout some great locations before hand
  • Make sure you have at least two reliable friends with decent cameras, who know that they will have to do, where, when etc (and make sure they don't drink too much!)
  • Surf the Internet, a lot (bride.ca sounds about perfect!) Get some ideas for the sort of pictures you really don't want to miss. Start here: our wedding photography articles. Tons of amazing examples and ideas there..
  • Do you have any graphic designer friends? Someone who works with Photoshop? Even an average photo can be made to look sharp with a bit of "digital remastering" :-)

Remember: Your wedding photos remain as a permanent testament to the wedding day and its events. Make sure you are completely satisfied with your decision to use a professional photographer or to go it alone, as the photos will be a constant reminder and reflection of a good or bad choice...

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