Photographers can cost anywhere from $500.00-$5000.00 depending on what package you choose and what kind of photographer is needed for your event. If you can afford it definitely hire a professional, but if not check out some tips I have to get the best bang for your buck.
INDIVIDUAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY
Call a photography professor at your local college, and ask for his three best students. Tell them you are looking for someone to help photograph your event or wedding and that you would like to trade their expertise for (name your price here, I would suggest at least $200 for time and effort), use of the photos in their portfolio, and hopefully a RAVING review from you as well as three or more referrals for more work for them. Students are usually starving and really looking to have professional experience before they leave college to be able to compete in this world today. You never know, you may get someone to just do it for the experience and 20 bucks an hour. Do the same for your videographer, but call your local college and ask for the journalism department. MAKE SURE YOU SEE ALL PORTFOLIOS AND MEET WITH EVERYONE FIRST. Make up a contract as well if you feel more comfortable.
Do not have the photographer print your photos!!! You can request your professional not to print the photos, just ask for them to be put on CD. This way you can print whenever you want, however you want, how many you want of which…etc etc etc, this just gives you the best control and you are not obligated to the photographer for actual prints. Most photographers will include a CD instead of prints, but you will still be obligated to package requirements. Don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t need all the bells and whistles for your special day and see if they are willing to work with you, if not, move on.
This is not my favorite route to go but I have to include it. Disposable cameras, *I cringe*. The up side is that you can have your guests take the photos and that gets them participating in your event as well. The downside is that I think you will end up with a bunch of pics that, well to be honest, you will not like.
NON PROFIT PHOTOGRAPHY
For non-profit events find a volunteer who is also a shutterbug, it’s free!
There are two different corporate photography functions, event photography and headshots or business portraits. This is where you will need to carefully choose a photographer. Events are usually in the evening and have ambient lighting, so you really need someone who will realize that your event “isn’t the same as shooting outdoors”. Also you will want someone artistic to take pictures of food and decor, not just of people. Again, I will hail the college route, just make sure you see plenty of event pictures from a students portfolio. They will usually be happy to work for the exposure for less than a professional. Headshots and business portraits? Well if you’re a corporation you can afford to hire some decent talent for this. I wouldn’t skimp here. After all you do want your representatives to look their best and feel confident about their professional portraits.
Lastly, it never hurts to ask for a payment plan if the total is not within your budget at the moment!