Can we rid ourselves of our photography addiction?

Wedding photography is like the black sheep of DIY wedding blogs. There’s a lot to fight when it comes to wanting to be able to afford your wedding, starting with getting past the idea that rich-people parties are the only ones good enough. Once through to the other side though, there’s a growing tide of people campaigning for weddings that aren’t a recipe for financial insanity, and they even make an affordable wedding look charming and covetable.

For each expensive and/or crazy wedding thing, there is someone out there telling you that you can do without it, and your wedding will still be fabulous.

A crazy expensive white ball gown -> someone will tell you short dresses kick ass

Paying a crapload for a fancy-ass venue -> you can find people who say its awesome to just get married at your house

Custom-designed stationary suite -> Miss Manners says it’s cool to just straight-up handwrite your invitations

Elaborate centrepieces -> plain ol’ jars are downright fashionable now

Ridiculous wedding cake -> I will personally explain why that’s bullshit

And so on for virtually every wedding thing you can think of. Except for photography. Because even in the world of “DIY weddings, hear us roar!!” you won’t find anybody saying it’s badass when an amateur takes your photos.

At A Practical Wedding, which serves as a bastion of wedding sanity, expensive photography gets promoted like it’s their job. Which it kind of is, because the sponsors are what bring in the money. There was one time, now lost in the mists of history (2009 people!), where cheap photography was discussed, but barely a peep since then.

Et tu, APW?

And then DIY wedding queen, Hindsight Bride, was so disappointed with her cheap photographers that a year later they literally did a re-shoot of the wedding.

And let’s not pretend I don’t have Moment Junkie linked on my sidebar.

So amazing wedding photography is something EVERYONE has drunk the Wedding Koolaid on (thanks, Rogue, for that term). Why is it that this is the one thing that will not yield? Why is there no website saying “these wedding photos are amateur and awesome”?

I guess it’s because photos (and videos) are the one major artefact of the wedding, the one thing that can be kept to preserve and show a little of what it was like to be there that day.

I certainly get why people see it as non-negotiable to have really good (expensive) photography, and I covet it myself. But can we afford it? This trusty wedding calculator is a fun way to gauge what a reasonable expense for each item within a given budget is. We see that a $10k wedding has room for about $980 worth of photography. Or maybe stripping out a lot of the sillier stuff, you could have $1467 on photography. And let’s not forget, to comfortably afford a $10k wedding, you’re looking at having an annual income as a couple of about $100k, as I explain here, and saving for a year.

But it seems like great photography starts at about $2k (from what I can tell reading other blogs. I haven’t researched photographers in Auckland). This translates to an overall wedding budget of about $15k (with a lot of extras removed), which means you’re ultimately looking at an annual income of $150k. I feel pretty sure this is way above median for marrying age couples*. In other words: only rich people can afford it.

So we have a conundrum. Does anybody know a source of Wedding Koolaid that extols cheap photography?

*Incidentally, I would love to know that statistic.


4 responses to “Can we rid ourselves of our photography addiction?

  1. Thanks for this post – my fiancee and I are back and forth on the photography issue. She wants to just set loose our friends and family with their cameras. I’m worried that (1) they’ll be too busy taking pics to have a good time and (2) our pictures won’t be good or adequate or whatever. But I have the same dilemma that you’ve discussed, aka holy-expensive-photographers! And you’re right – it does seem to be the last bastion of expensive weddings even if you’re going budget.

  2. This post is straight-up brilliant. It absolutely captures the conflict going on in so many of our bride/bride-blogger minds. I know some people go the route of putting disposable cameras on every table and allowing the guests to shoot pictures, but that’s usually just a fun supplement to the main photographer (and can go horribly wrong depending on how raunchy your friends are). There are just so many horror stories of bad photography, like Christie O’s from Hindsight Bride. One of my distant cousins had her uncle do the videography for her wedding to save money, and it turned out that even though he had mad skills, he forgot to take his lens cap off. I have no answers, but I’m really wanting to explore this topic further.

  3. Pingback: I Found THE ONE! By which I mean My Photographer | Rogue Bride

  4. KT and Rogue – yeah, I really wish I had some answers to offer too. So far I have two ideas, but I’m undecided on whether they are good ones.
    1 – only have the fancy photographer for the portraits, or for portraits + a very limited time at reception (maybe capture the speeches, say? So many great facial expressions during speeches).
    2 – old school polaroids are nostalgically hip, but those old photos that are romanticised now were taken by amateurs. So you could always just run a polaroid app on the pics that guests take, and boom, blogworthy material right there. Which is probably pretty silly, if true. I feel pretty cynical right now.

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