Book with an all-day photographer
This is one often overlooked, why? Because couples have an idea in their heads that nothing is going to happen. Well, I am here to tell you on wedding days with so many moving parts things can and often do go wrong. Now I don't want to frighten you with a good team of vendors you might not know of these problems before we fix them, however, when things happen it can set a timeline back. Some photographers might work with you and some might say I am out sorry we could get what you wanted unless you want to pay me more.
I personally only offer all day or 8hour coverage that is what you get with me on an entry-level. I do put an hour on there but if things were to happen I would stay longer and I let my couple know that during our consult call.
Opt-in for payments
Yeah take those payments if you can, it will help that sting of having to pay all at once. The way it normally works (but again I can't speak for everyone) is to have you pay a retainer to save the date. Then set up a payment plan that works for you. So if your photographer offers payments take them upon.
Your events time of year or week
Now, I am not saying you will get a discount but sometimes certain parts of the year are cheaper than others due to the lack of work that traditionally happens each year.
Weddings tend to happen a lot around the Fall months or late August to early November (love that band, haha) so I wouldn't think it would hurt to ask about a discount or offer if your wedding is happening in February through March possibly early April.
For us here in St Louis it is still semi-cold around that time which is why there is not much work. I wouldn't flat out ask for a discount but ask if they offer anything for a wedding that happens around that time of year or during the week even.
"Cheap" is not the best
What is cheap for St Louis wedding photography? I mean "cheap" is a relative term. Something that may be cheap for one person may not be for the next. You can look up and see how much wedding photographers get paid in the St Louis area. I will not say here because things change from year to year.
That being said you might find an awesome photographer that costs very little, but if they are a full-time photographer they are going to charge more.
Here is the difference, for the full-time St Louis wedding photographer there is little that will stop them from making it to your wedding to photograph for you, for the part-time person if they are not depending on providing that service for income, then they have no real ties unless they are trying to become full time. But how can you tell?
That's right do your homework, look at their body of work. Check Instagram for new posts. If they are updating and trying to stay relevant then you can be sure they are going to work to the best of their ability.
That brings up the next point, their abilities, their gear, their problem-solving.
When you start looking at all this you might be paying a little more for your photographer, remember when I said earlier things go wrong these photographers will know (most of the time) how to fix the situation or find a way around it.
With the money you pay comes a sense of ease and reduced stress, because you are hiring a professional who has experienced problems and worked through them, has updated gear with backup cameras and lenses, knows where to put you in order to light you in the best possible way, or knows how to use lights (flash) to light you in any area or in creative ways. All of this comes with experience and just like in your own career St Louis photographers get paid for their experience.
Book sooner rather than later
Why would this matter? If you book the soonest your wedding photographer will allow then you will save money just due to inflation. Photographers can raise their prices as they see fit odds are if you wait a year to book with the photographer you have your eye on and truly want to book with, you might end up paying more.
We are a business and have to adjust with the cost of everything else that goes up. When things in the world inflate, those things include the software, gear, albums, even prints inflate up in price.
Do research for your area
This last point was tricky and I was hesitant to add it but here we are. Because I live in Missouri I am going to use this state as my example. Let's divide it into three equalish parts.
Top, middle, and bottom.
Each part of the state has a different cost of living so odds are if you hire a photographer that is close to St Louis or the top it might cost you a little bit more. Now, this is all very loose of course but if you book with a photographer somewhere around the middle of the state they might cost less. So just research your area investments are different everywhere when it comes to photography. If you are booking a photographer that is close to the city you might find yourself paying just a bit more. Again this is all very loose.
Wedding photographers are prices different everywhere, I hope this helps you a little on what to look out for and help you find a photographer.
I will leave you will this, wedding photography is one of the only things you will walk away with after your wedding all of your memories of a day that moves at blazing fast speeds.
So make sure to find a photographer that you truly like, you will be looking back on these images for the rest of your life and what you will be passing down for generations. Don't look for "cheap" look for affordable and what you feel provides the most value to your needs.