What makes this wedding interesting? Jennifer, a recent Graphic arts graduate that designed her own wedding and made almost everything. She has a typical story. A broke college student in love. The question I ask, do they deserve great photos or great anything for that matter even though they are broke? I think they do. As a former wedding photographer I have shot weddings from the price of $1500 upwards of $11,000. I do not do shoot many weddings anymore since my focus is mostly commercial, but I still love a good wedding.
What makes this wedding unique is I shot this for $0. There was something about this couple. I felt they deserved better than what a limited budget might get you. She went to the college I taught at and we were talking about her story. She mentioned that she was going to have to hire a friend to come and shoot the images. The first thing that went through my head was "oh don't" The whole "your wedding photos are so important…" was racing in my brain. Her wedding sounded so wonderful. She was getting married in the park where they like to go a lot. I love natural outside weddings. I knew it would be cool because of her design ability.
I kept my mouth shut as she continued talking about how the photographer she hired had not shot a wedding before but wanted to build her portfolio so she was willing to do it for next to nothing, I think it was $200.
I hear about folks like Jennifer and Elijah a lot and read stories like this on Craigslist. "Poor college student needs photographer for wedding…" Many times they offer to edit the images for the photographer and hope that someone will take the offer that is needing to build there portfolio.
Professional photographers hate hearing about these stories and often say, if you can't afford it why are you getting married? Or, you pay for all the other stuff like flowers and the dress and the cake and the service and… Well, they do have a point but.
Is a broke couple then not worthy of good vendors?
I'll take you back to the year 2000 where a recent college graduate (1998) was just starting to work as a commercial photographer. Yep, I'm talking about me. My wife and I had no money and were living in my parents house. We wanted to do a nice wedding (of which I knew NOTHING about) We booked a popular spot and started looking at photography. At the time I did not know good from bad wedding photography even though I was a photographer. I am empathetic for couples going through the wedding process, especially when you do not have much money. It is insane.
To make a long story very short, we ended up getting married at the MGM in Vegas. I have a friend that worked there at the time and got us a deal. I flew my coworker (photographer) out to shoot us. I ended up working the day after our wedding because, since we were going to Vegas our boss figured that would make a good destination wedding story for the Magazine I worked for. Her dress was a $99 job we bought at a warehouse. MGM provided most of the stuff. Our entire wedding for everything cost $2000
I want to believe that my wife and I our the typical "cool" client that most wedding photographers want. We are open to ideas and love to do the cool stuff. I even wear makeup. (former glam rock band thing) But there is no way we could have afforded a photographer. Yep we would have been lucky to put together $500 for a photographer and I KNOW how important those photos are. (ours were not great but they are ok and I'm thankful that my coworker offered to shoot us.)
Back to Jennifer and Elijah. After hearing about her wedding I just told her. "You know what, I'll shoot it for ya. no cost. I'm free that day and not doing anything." (it was only a few weeks away.) "If the person you were going to hire wants to come help she can." "And you can edit whatever you want" (Jennifer knows her way around PS as well as I do)
So, I believe that they did deserve at least someone that has shot many weddings. She did not have to stress. She did offer some of her design services for me but I ended up not doing that.
Here are a few of the photos. Nothing was edited in PS, Just quick edits in Lightroom – Most Lightrooms own presets that come with the program.