You may need to work around their schedule.

By Laura Miller
June 24, 2021
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If there's anything this last year has taught us, it's that not every wedding fits inside the traditional box, and that's perfectly fine. Whether you've just decided to get married at the courthouse or planned a getaway elopement to take place on an upcoming Thursday, every couples deserves beautiful photos to remember this special day. But in this day and age, is it possible to hire a wedding photographer on short notice? Wedding season is busier than ever before, which means vendors are currently booking multiple events per weekend. Even so, if you plan wisely and stay flexible, there's a good chance you can book a talented photographer with just days to spare.

Consider the day of the week.

This year especially, weekends are likely out-at the very least, assume a Saturday will not be an option or a last-minute booking. While you may get lucky and find a photographer with a free Friday or Sunday, your best chances of booking a pro you love is to be flexible and consider weekdays. "I've photographed an elopement on a Tuesday morning with very short notice," Karissa from Out of Twig said. "I was available, they wanted less than three hours of photos, and I offered a price I was comfortable with for my time. As a wedding photographer, weekend days are precious."

Be flexible about time.

Similarly, be open to different start times. Many photographers book engagement, family, or newborn sessions during the week, often during the late afternoon or early evening, which means they might not be able to commit to a nighttime ceremony with just a few days' notice. If you can be flexible about start time, make it clear in your initial outreach email that you're open to a morning or mid-day wedding should that work better for the photographer you're hoping to hire.

Ask about custom packages.

Wedding photographers generally create packages that provide a different amount of time and attention for different rates. If their packages don't fit your needs-say, their shortest time allotment is four hours-inquire about their hourly rate and booking for just the amount of time you need. "With a last-minute wedding, you lose some time to do details for tablescapes, a ceremony arch and space, and add the little details," said Hailey Pierce of Hailey Pierce Photography. She offers hourly rates for the last-minute couple and different packages for elopements and smaller weddings.

Ask for recommendations.

It's important to understand from the get-go that there's a possibility that the vendor your love will respond with a "no" to your last-minute request, either because they don't feel they have enough time to prepare, they are already committed to other events, or because they simply don't have the personal bandwidth. Don't feel discouraged. Instead, ask if they could recommend another vendor who they think might be able to take on the job; many professional wedding photographers work with second shooters and day-of assistants who are photographers in their own right, or else are friendly with other local vendors who's work they admire. Even if it's not the person you initially imagined hiring, getting recommendations from the professionals is a great way to book a photographer at the last minute.

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