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DIY Wedding Photography: Capturing Your Big Day on a Budget

DIY Wedding Photography: Capturing Your Big Day on a Budget

Key Takeaways

  • Decide what type of photographs are important to you.
  • Give your guests the chance to take candid pictures.
  • Plan your set list to get the photos you want.
  • Pick your timing to get the best natural light.
  • Research photo trends and styles that you like.
  • Incorporate a photo booth to take fun shots. 

Photographs are an undeniably crucial part of any wedding ceremony. The day you get married is a momentous occasion. Capturing you, your new spouse, and all of your friends and family looking gorgeous is something you can all hold onto for decades to come. 

But photography is not cheap, especially when you’re already footing a myriad of other wedding-related costs that can often feel neverending. Fortunately, you’ve got options!

While a professional wedding photographer can be great if you’ve got the budget for it, finding creative, low-cost ways to snap photos can add a more intimate and rewarding aspect to your celebration. Not to mention, significantly cost-effective! 

But like most DIY projects, DIY wedding photography must be done right if you’re going to create the best results. Here, we’ll provide some tips for capturing your big day on a small budget without compromising on quality. 

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Photography is a skill that takes many people years to study. But these days, most of us have daily experience snapping photos with our smartphones. It’s much easier to take professional-looking wedding pictures today than it was a decade ago!

That said, there are some useful hacks and creative ideas you can implement to enhance the quality of your wedding photos and produce a range of memorable and stunning shots, such as: 

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Place disposable cameras on your reception tables 

This is a super cute and fun way to surprise your guests with an extra-special table activity and distribute the task of taking wedding photos among anyone who enjoys it! 

Guests can snap photos of themselves, the other guests, and the reception experience to capture the event in an ultra-candid, authentic way. Disposable cameras are not too pricey, and you can place just one or two (depending on table size) per table for the best results. 

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If you make it fun and easy for guests to snap cute photos of each other, you will also have more budget and time to have your happy couple photos taken by someone with more experience. 

Take advantage of natural light 

Hiring major photoshoot equipment for your wedding day is unnecessary. As long as you have natural light and some beautiful scenery or backdrops, you’ve got the makings of a beautiful photo session. But natural light, wherever possible, should be your beacon for DIY photoshoot success. 

Not only is natural light totally free of charge (thanks, Mother Nature!), but it’s also the most flattering type of light that looks good on every skin tone and complexion. Just before the sun sets, the golden hour is the best time to take photos for that gorgeously natural glow on you and your partner. 

Make a DIY photo booth 

This is another fun way to spread out the photo responsibilities and minimize photography costs. A photo booth is a popular wedding feature that encourages people to unwind, get silly, and connect with their loved ones (and new friends) around them. 

You can have a traditional photo booth that takes automatic photos or assign a friend or family member to shoot the pictures as guests come and go. 

It requires very little photography experience yet reliably produces fun and memorable photos. Photobooths are also highly customizable, so you can decorate them in whatever way suits your wedding theme and add props that enhance the mood beautifully. 

photobooth wedding photos

Create a mood board to work from 

If you’re taking wedding photography matters into your own hands, it’s a great idea to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. 

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You likely already have a mood board for your wedding (and if not, we highly recommend it!), but you might not have one specifically for the photography aspect of it. A wedding photography moodboard can help you identify the style, color themes, and perspectives you can achieve without a professional photographer. 

Make a shot list 

Wedding photography isn’t just about having beautiful photos to post online—although that’s a big part of it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s largely about capturing key moments and memories of your once-in-a-lifetime special day. 

Making a shot list can help you identify the most important moments of your wedding day and keep photography hours to a minimum. Whether you hire externally or within your social circles, this kind of list can help you spend less on rates while ensuring all the most important bits get a chance to shine. 

Some examples of shots you can put on your list could be your first look, the first kiss, cutting the cake, or any other crucial part of the celebration you want to remember. 

Hire a (sharp-eyed) student, friend, or family member 

Dipping into your social circles to find an affordable but experienced photographer is one of the simplest and most popular ways to capture your big day on a budget. Photography skills are abundant, and you’re bound to know someone who’d be willing to provide them at a lower rate. 

That said, don’t give out the responsibility of taking your wedding photos to any random person. Every photographer should create an online portfolio to showcase their work, even if they’re new to the profession. Make sure you see theirs! 

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Practice and research 

If you are going to assign photography duties to a friend or family member, it’s a good idea to do a bit of practice and research with them beforehand to create the most professional-looking photos possible without spending professional-level rates. 

Research popular wedding photography trends and learn which cameras, perspectives, and environments will work best for your wedding shoot. 

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A practice round before the big day can also help ensure a smooth process when the day does come around. 

Snap Your Happy!

Your wedding deserves to be celebrated in style – and for that celebration to be captured in the most beautiful and memorable way possible. We hope these tips will help you to take memorable DIY photos on a budget! 

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