The average wedding cost in 2013 was $30,000, not including the honeymoon. If you’ve never taken a trip down the aisle, that number may be hard to fathom, but when you start pricing out the thousands of details that go into an average wedding, it’s easy to see how it can add up — and quickly.
Fortunately, using certain types of technology can be a fun and easy way to save on big ticket items like photography. The latest trend is that brides and grooms are banking on smartphone cameras and photo editing applications to save major cash by crowdsourcing their photos instead of using a traditional photographer. If you’re on a tight budget and okay with bypassing professional shots, you can save from $3,000-$10,000 by going this route. Or you can book a pro for the ‘getting ready shots’ or from the cake cutting onwards and save on costs. Here’s a guide on how you can do it:
Create a hashtag.
Come up with a simple but creative way to tag photos from your wedding festivities and then ask your guests to use it on any photos they take and upload to social media sites. This will allow you to track all the photos from your big day after the events have ended. “Digitally coordinating your crowdsourced wedding photos is really going to benefit you in the end, because it means less work for you when the wedding is over,” says Maddie Eisenhart, managing editor for the website A Practical Wedding. You want to make sure that there is a clear communication of how guests can contribute photos, like listing a hashtag somewhere on your program or linking to a Flickr pool on your website. “Just make sure it’s clear, easy to find and easy to use.”
Choose a cloud spot for your photos.
Decide on an online storage space for all of your wedding day photos to live. Some popular ones are Dropbox or Flickr. There are free versions of these accounts that you can create and access, making it a seamless transition between the photo taker’s phone and your cloud storage.
Download the desired photo app to your phone (and encourage guests to do the same).
Instagram is a favorite because of its editing tools, but you could also use Picasa. Try to limit the photo apps, though, because you’ll want to be able to find what you’re looking for easily. There’s also a free app called Ivy Gallery that lets your guest add photos from all the places — Dropbox, Picasa, Google Drive, SkyDrive and local device—into one timeline. It can be organized like a collage that everyone can view, download, comment on and save.
For people who want the most streamlined experience possible, Eisenhart suggests applications like Wedding Party that were created specifically to help brides and grooms crowdsource wedding images.
Set up online photo sorting rules.
This will help funnel all of your digital photos from the day to your photo storage location. A good site to try is If This, Then That. You can tell the program what to do with photos when they’re given your wedding hashtag. You can also try Zapier,CloudWork or Tarpipe. This ensures that instead of spending a lot of time searching for your photos later on, you can find them immediately in one storage location.
Go offline, too.
Provide disposable cameras throughout the wedding venue and encourage guests to pick them up and get snap happy throughout the ceremony and reception. This will allow the less-than-tech-savvy guests a chance to get in on the action and will add a different perspective to your big day. And if you get a chance, you and your groom should each pick up a camera and take a few candid shots too!
When it comes to crowdsourcing your photos, just make it entertaining and easy for your guests to participate in, advises Eisenhart. “It’s less about rules than it is about creating systems that make the process easy and fun.”