Jason of Dundalk, MD - courtesy of wildbluebug.com - not for use without permission
Hiring a photographer for your event or portrait needs is not always in the budget or an idea that comes to mind in the planning process.
Here are some alternatives to hiring a professional photographer.
Buy disposable cameras. This will run about $2-$3 a piece depending on the deal you find on places like ebay.com. Leave them on tables with a sign or note inviting your guests to use them or hand out a camera to each guest. Have a designated area where the cameras are to be returned. Plan for additional cost to develop the film, prints, and digital images for use online.
- The downside: low quality, not sure what kind of images you'll get, post processing cost
- The upside: low cost, fun for guests
Rent a photo booth. Baltimore has a few companies that range from $800 - $1000 that rent photo booths. According to Craig Weiman at PhotoBoothBaltimore.com, "Our booths are very easy, you just push the button, the booth goes through the sequence and about 15 sec. later your prints come out.
The booths currently start at $1000.00 for 4 hrs. There are additions like a custom designed skin for the booth, a live slide show projected, props, a custom printed photobook of all the strips, just to mention a few of them. " This is also a great opportunity to get in some self-portraits.
- The downside: no professional editing, moderate quality images, cost.
- The upside: fun keepsake for your guests, creative idea that's hands-off.
Use your own camera or borrow a friends. Digital cameras have made leaps and bounds in ease of use. Make sure you have time to capture the moments or designate someone to walk around and shoot both candid and group photos. Fun, casual photos sometimes make the best memories. Jason of Dundalk, MD was just laying on the couch watching television when the above photo was captured by a friend.
- The downside: no professional editing, not sure what you'll get, not enjoying the event because you're taking photos
- The upside: free, moderate quality images
Barter with a photographer. You may decide that you just can't do without the quality or hassle-free nature of hiring a pro. If it's not in the budget, as a last resort, maybe you have something you can barter. Depending on your event, many photographers work for food, publicity, and/or a trade in professional services of equal value.