Art and Photography

Finding a Photographer in Metro Vancouver on Tight Buget?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 19th, 2019 6:23 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2012
2127 posts
282 upvotes
Vancouver

Finding a Photographer in Metro Vancouver on Tight Buget?

Hi

I am wondering if anyone knows of where I can find amateur, semi professionals or photography students that will come to take pictures for a wedding. I am doing a small wedding on a tight budget and don't need a super all star but I am having trouble finding people who charge around $50/hr or is this just so unrealistic price?

I tried Craiglist and Kiji and been like 2-3 (waiting to hear back from any of them).

I am not sure if there is any other sites, where you can post sort of what your looking for and the price you willing to pay and see there are any takers
27 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2010
1139 posts
766 upvotes
Montreal
Be extremely careful when hiring cheap photographers. I have heard enough horror stories involving them. From photos never delivered to scammers.

Your best bet is to ask a family member. The photos might look horrible but at least you'll get them and not get scammed.

The right thing to do is understand that weddings are special and no matter the size, spend the money for the unforgettable day that cannot be redone.

My wedding budget was very small but still spent $3000 on photos, cutting back on other things. Photographers are cheaper in Montreal where I live as wages are lower so paying 4000 in Vancouver would be the norm.
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4135 posts
1498 upvotes
Calgary
I would echo the statement above. I do wedding photography on the side in what I consider the mid range of pricing. My starting rate is 1450$ for a 3 hour elopement package, to give perspective.

50$ an hour just does not exist (a 10 hour full day wedding at that rate is only 500$), unless you want someone who is a a beginner pretending to be a wedding photographer. Expect amateur results at that price at best, beginner level most likely. Craigslist and Kijiji will get you bottom of the barrel soccer moms who recently got an entry level camera, took a few photos of flowers at artistic angles and shot some outdoor photos at their friends wedding and now claim to be wedding photographers (without a business license or insurance of course). Note that almost all of the photographer in this range will have their wedding photos done outdoors in optimal conditions, with little to no photos ever indoors.

I pay my 2nd shooter 40-50$ an hour.

Don't skimp out. Photographer is the one place that dollar does make a significant difference for your wedding, yet easiest to skimp out on and often seen as an afterthought. Photos and the rings are the only thing that remains after the wedding day is over.

If you are really set on paying 500$ max for your wedding, Facebook has wedding groups and is the best place to shop around. Be warned, you usually get what you pay for (if the photographer shows up at all, they will complain about the lighting conditions not being great). You don't get a do-over on your wedding.
Deal Guru
Jan 27, 2006
11566 posts
4802 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Don't expect miracles for $50 an hour.

I did some wedding photography in the past and I won't do any today unless it's for friends and family as it's a lot of work and very long days.

Your best bet for half decent results may be to go to some of the places that offer good photography courses and put up some posters or ads and see if you can get anyone. Keep in mind that they will be students so the results won't be great but they will generally have semi-decent equipment and probably won't skip out on you as they want to build a portfolio.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 5, 2010
1157 posts
432 upvotes
Remember that photographers aren't just taking the pictures and giving you the memory card on the spot. The works after (selecting through thousands of photos, editing, etc) are longer than the day of shooting. And no photographers will leave you just the memory card and skip the selection & editing. After thousands of pictures, there will have a couple of missed focus, under or over exposed, unrealistic white balance, etc pictures that you don't want anyone to see especially your clients.
Deal Guru
Jun 15, 2012
11894 posts
5959 upvotes
Southern Ontario
As suggested above, if on a tight budget, get a good friend or family member, have all your shots done in daylight outside after the ceremony. You'll probably end up with snapshots like most people who share their events on facebook, the kind where subjects stand together randomly and smile, basically capturing everyone with you on that day in various pics, nothing wrong with that.

It's a huge gamble paying a newbie with little or no experience who doesn't know any of you. They may even use your day as their testing ground producing images they can't fix, delivering few keepers.

So my friends/neighbours went on vacation and hired the resort's photographer. One of them was this one on the left, it's supposed to be already edited! I did a few quick fixes in Lightroom but I can't change the way they're standing. What the hell is she doing with her left hand, and why is there a phantom hand coming in over her waist, yes I know it's his. I could have flattered her figure by quickly telling her how to stand and shift her weight, pose them with soft relaxed hands, touching, not awkward. It’s like she decided to grab a quick pic with the resort gardner lol. Subtle details, and that’s just posing.

Image

On the topic of wedding photography, my favourite is journalistic emotion like this one, it's volumes of candid joy, love and sadness. I get choked up just imagining what she's feeling because her father can't be there. Why I hardly ever put down my cameras during a wedding, there are opportunities at any time.

Image
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 16, 2012
2127 posts
282 upvotes
Vancouver
kangmlee wrote:
May 13th, 2019 4:04 pm
Be extremely careful when hiring cheap photographers. I have heard enough horror stories involving them. From photos never delivered to scammers.

Your best bet is to ask a family member. The photos might look horrible but at least you'll get them and not get scammed.

The right thing to do is understand that weddings are special and no matter the size, spend the money for the unforgettable day that cannot be redone.

My wedding budget was very small but still spent $3000 on photos, cutting back on other things. Photographers are cheaper in Montreal where I live as wages are lower so paying 4000 in Vancouver would be the norm.
Well our entire budget for the wedding is $4,000 so we are going extremely small then and why I came out to around $500 as everything else has pretty much been priced out and that is all we got left for photos. That's why we where essentially looking to pay someone who is just dedicated at taking photos(as we want our friends and family to enjoy the time not be obligated to take pics) with a some skill so we get some good 8 out of 10 shots.

This is what we did with our engagement photos, we know someone who was wanting to start a photography business on the site and did it for free to build his portfolio, he took like a 100 photos and did "editing" which resulted in like 20 photos and we really only liked liked 5 of them. We still were happy with the result as you know they were free and we only needed a handful of nice pictures, so it was worth dealing with someone who like AncasterRFD described did not know how to position us correctly and stuff like that.

Would have used the same guy, but asked him how much he wanted and he wanted $110/hr which was way too much (was thinking more around $25/hr max based on his skills) and apparently that was "friendly" rate lol.

My bigger concern you bring out and this thought crossed my mind was being scammed.

AncasterRFD wrote:
May 14th, 2019 12:28 am
As suggested above, if on a tight budget, get a good friend or family member, have all your shots done in daylight outside after the ceremony. You'll probably end up with snapshots like most people who share their events on facebook, the kind where subjects stand together randomly and smile, basically capturing everyone with you on that day in various pics, nothing wrong with that.

It's a huge gamble paying a newbie with little or no experience who doesn't know any of you. They may even use your day as their testing ground producing images they can't fix, delivering few keepers.

So my friends/neighbours went on vacation and hired the resort's photographer. One of them was this one on the left, it's supposed to be already edited! I did a few quick fixes in Lightroom but I can't change the way they're standing. What the hell is she doing with her left hand, and why is there a phantom hand coming in over her waist, yes I know it's his. I could have flattered her figure by quickly telling her how to stand and shift her weight, pose them with soft relaxed hands, touching, not awkward. It’s like she decided to grab a quick pic with the resort gardner lol. Subtle details, and that’s just posing.

Image

On the topic of wedding photography, my favourite is journalistic emotion like this one, it's volumes of candid joy, love and sadness. I get choked up just imagining what she's feeling because her father can't be there. Why I hardly ever put down my cameras during a wedding, there are opportunities at any time.

Image
We are still figuring out what to do, we may ask an acquaintance who might want to make a few bucks on the side or who just wants to help out and give them a decent camera and have them take tons of pictures and combined with anyone else who takes pictures we may come out with like 10 decent photos.

I think it is the best we can do as it seems this is the way to go or you go professional, otherwise sort of just wasting money.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2010
1139 posts
766 upvotes
Montreal
xiaobao wrote:
May 14th, 2019 7:59 pm
My bigger concern you bring out and this thought crossed my mind was being scammed.
Scams, not showing up and horrible photos (worse than an amateur with an iPhone) are very commoon with cheap photographers.

$110/hour is actually super reasonable for someone that showed up, took photos, edited them and had them delivered. At $25/hour, if he were to show up, I would expect someone with a disposable Kodak camera and not get the photos back.

A basic wedding photography setup starts at $4000 for the photographer. $25/ hour comes at a loss when considering the shutter life of a camera and basic maintenance. A photographer would break even after around 20 full day wedding **IF** nothing breaks or/and gets lost. And $4000 is at a low end. For myself, my wedding gear is worth $10,000 and that's still well below average from what I know.

That said, any photographer worth something shooting for under $50/hour is basically paying you.
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2004
4135 posts
1498 upvotes
Calgary
xiaobao wrote:
May 14th, 2019 7:59 pm
Well our entire budget for the wedding is $4,000 so we are going extremely small then and why I came out to around $500 as everything else has pretty much been priced out and that is all we got left for photos. That's why we where essentially looking to pay someone who is just dedicated at taking photos(as we want our friends and family to enjoy the time not be obligated to take pics) with a some skill so we get some good 8 out of 10 shots.

This is what we did with our engagement photos, we know someone who was wanting to start a photography business on the site and did it for free to build his portfolio, he took like a 100 photos and did "editing" which resulted in like 20 photos and we really only liked liked 5 of them. We still were happy with the result as you know they were free and we only needed a handful of nice pictures, so it was worth dealing with someone who like AncasterRFD described did not know how to position us correctly and stuff like that.

Would have used the same guy, but asked him how much he wanted and he wanted $110/hr which was way too much (was thinking more around $25/hr max based on his skills) and apparently that was "friendly" rate lol.

My bigger concern you bring out and this thought crossed my mind was being scammed.

We are still figuring out what to do, we may ask an acquaintance who might want to make a few bucks on the side or who just wants to help out and give them a decent camera and have them take tons of pictures and combined with anyone else who takes pictures we may come out with like 10 decent photos.

I think it is the best we can do as it seems this is the way to go or you go professional, otherwise sort of just wasting money.
We need to be realistic. 4000 is very low for a wedding, and there's nothing wrong with that (I question the need of 20K+ weddings myself for a single day when the money can be spent elsewhere). That said, considering you were not happy with your free engagement photos which are wayyyy easier to do and stress free than wedding photos which are about capturing moments in non controlled environments, are you ok with receiving blurry or out of focus shots of the wedding kiss, the dance, etc? If you are ok with mediocre photos and missed shots, 500$ can get you that. Heck you can still get that with a 2-3K photographer if they are not consistent and overcharging. Would you have paid for the photos you got for free from your engagement photographer?

I bolded the 25$/hr 'worth' part, because that irks me. He put his price at 110$/hr which is still very much on the low end, and you are laughing at his pricing based on his skills? He's valuing his experience level (which you have experienced and expressed as mediocre) at ~1100$, what do you think 250$ would give?

Everyone would love amazing magazine quality and get them for free, or under 500$ if it existed. The problem is that anyone who has done a wedding knows the work involved and how difficult it is compared to controlled photos. Note that any photographer charging only 500$ is likely not licensed or insured (really need to point this out in case something happens).

Do not go the friend route unless they are fully willing and have some experience, it will put undue pressure on them and feel bad if they fail to capture your wedding well. If you have any friends who have experience in weddings, expect them to politely decline as 500$ would amount to minimum wage for a full day wedding and not worth the time spent (1-2 hours of editing for each hour of shooting)

Just be prepared for disappointment and lower expectations to the level that you may not get usable wedding photos at 500$. People are fine to pay 2k for a venue, 1000$ for a dress, etc, but the photographer tends to be an afterthought these day when it really shouldn't be, and should be one of the biggest budgets.

Don't be this:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-bri ... 2018-04-04
5 brides share their wedding regrets (hint: don’t skimp on the photographer)
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
1752 posts
188 upvotes
Toronto
Based on my research from a few years ago, the average cost of wedding photography in Canada is around 3000 (plus 5-10% in major cities).

Student/newer photographer can work at a studio to gain experience and make more than 50/hr. And they often don't even need to do any editing or deal with the client before/after the wedding.

With your budget, best bet is to buy a polaroid cameras and let the guest have fun with them.
Deal Guru
Jun 15, 2012
11894 posts
5959 upvotes
Southern Ontario
xiaobao wrote:
May 14th, 2019 7:59 pm
We are still figuring out what to do, we may ask an acquaintance who might want to make a few bucks on the side or who just wants to help out and give them a decent camera and have them take tons of pictures and combined with anyone else who takes pictures we may come out with like 10 decent photos.
Make sure your acquaintance shoots in Auto Mode, dead simple like a phone, NO playing with settings, and in good light. It's not so much the camera, you simply won't get quality pics inside, in a dim church or reception without large aperture lenses and flashes/strobes used correctly. So I'll reiterate, get most of your keepers done outside in daylight. Pre-plan a spot at one of your locations that involves no distractions in the background. The shooter should also take several shots of the same subjects using burst mode. You don't want to look back at one of your few keeper photos and someone has their eyes shut.

There's nothing wrong with going low budget because those are the only funds you have. Don't have any high expectations and like I said, you're basically documenting who was with you, nothing special or artistic.
Deal Addict
Aug 22, 2009
1397 posts
1102 upvotes
What we did for our wedding:

1. Hired a good photographer. Money well spent.

2. Made a Facebook group titled: ________ wedding photos. Invited everyone into the group and asked them to upload their pictures. It worked really well and this was before smart phones.

The professional photos were the ones that would go into a frame.

The uploaded ones from FB were awesome for photo books, laughs, etc. So many amazing candid shots that the professional photographer would have missed.

From a non-wedding photographer point of view. If you’re looking for pictures to hang on the wall spend money on a good photographer. They will know how to compose the pictures, pose, edit, etc.
Member
Apr 24, 2012
472 posts
545 upvotes
Vancouver
xiaobao wrote:
May 13th, 2019 3:53 pm
I am having trouble finding people who charge around $50/hr or is this just so unrealistic price?
I'm in Vancouver and can do it for $50/hour. I agree with people saying that is too little for professional wedding photographer. I'm not one, but just a hobbyist who mostly does environmental portrait, architecture and landscape. It usually takes as much time or longer to process photos in Lightroom as it is to take them, so it comes down to less than $25/hour considering that, but, as people say here, it's fine for someone who is not a professional.
Have Sony a7R II, will travel :)
Sr. Member
User avatar
Nov 4, 2016
900 posts
561 upvotes
Firstly, try to have your wedding on a weekday, preferably Wednesday. You will be able to cut a good deal with basically any vendor, because no one wants to have a wedding on Wednesday due to inconvenience. But if you want to save money this is what you got to do.

Secondly, be as cheap as possible on your wedding/engagement ring, wedding dress, suits and make ups. Rent a dress or buy one second hand. The bride can do make ups herself by learning from YouTube videos. You can even use cheap make up and perfume, the difference is minimal. Just got to practice. You are much better off being cheap on her wedding dress, suits, rings and make up, than being cheap on a photographer. I will stand by this statement every day.

You can even be cheap out on the food. Have a snack after the ceremony instead of dinner, so you have a half day wedding instead of a full 10-16 hour wedding.

Thirdly, you are much better off negotiating with established photographers and see who will give you a good deal. At least you know you are getting some quality. You can always pay some no-name young guy $500, but you are playing lottery. Maybe he/she is good, or he/she is worst than your uncle Paul. You don't know. You are better off chasing after a sure thing at a discount, than chasing the unknown.

$500 is way too low. But maybe they would do around $1000 for a 4-6 hour job on a Wednesday. Plan your own schedule according to those 4-6 hours. If your time and date is flexible, work that with the photographer of your choice. If a photographer has to cancel other obligations to do your job, he/she won't give you a discount. But if you make it convenient for them, you might be able to work something out.

And tell them you have no time limit on when they will deliver the photos. This means they can do their Photoshopping in their spare time and give them to you in a few months. Of course realistically, they will give you the photos within 1 month either way.

As for references, I have a personal good friend, Jonathan Desmond, who is a professional. I know for a fact he is very good. His specialty is "capturing the moment" instead of posed/staged shots. You can contact him and see. Once again, think at least $1000 for a few hours on a weekday. You are better off spending $1000+ and get something, instead of spending $500 on the unknown. (I don't know his current rate. You have to ask.)

http://www.jonathandesmond.com/

My wedding photographer was Robert Demeter back in 2017. And we are one very happy customer. Relatively he does more posed shots than "capturing the moment". You should look at both Jonathan and Roberts (and others') galleries and see which styles you like. Contact him and see what he can do for you.

https://www.robertdemeterphotography.com
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Jr. Member
User avatar
Dec 4, 2009
177 posts
40 upvotes
GVRD
Wow..
Budget is $500 and want 8 good shots out of 10...
Nothing will last long but the photos will.. Spend more.
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