How My Husband and I Scored $20 Engagement Photos

by Chonce Maddox

When I got engaged last year, I knew I would be balling on a budget in terms of my wedding so I tried to keep most of the expenses that weren’t that important to me low. Engagement pictures were somewhat important because I wanted to create as many memories as I could during the time, but it was not a priority so I set out to find a good deal on photos.

I lucked out when I found a great deal and scored $20 engagement photo shoot for my husband and I. Here’s how we did it.

I Searched for Photography Deals Online

The main thing I did to find this deal was head to my favorite online deals site, Groupon, for leads. I searched for ‘photography packages’ instead of ‘engagement photos’ because when people tend to hear that you are getting married, they might charge more for their products or services as a result.

It’s no wonder why the average wedding costs $20k-$30k. The wedding industry is booming and couples are often expected to pay top dollar for certain services and products for their wedding. It’s not necessarily fair, but that’s the way it works.

I came across an ad from JCPenny on Groupon for an outdoor photo session for only $19.99 (a $169 value). It included sitting fees for both of us and several prints and one digital image. Our shoot took place in a beautiful park on a crisp Saturday morning in November. It lasted about 45 minutes which was more than enough time to get some amazing shots to capture the important milestone in our life.

A few weeks after the shoot, we went to pick out our prints. While the photo shoot itself was dirt cheap and included quite a few perks, we still had to purchase a few extra poses that we wanted since the Groupon only included a few prints and a digital image of one pose. JC Penny sells portrait sheets for about $10 each and they always have deals and sales so I don’t even think we spent an extra $30 ordering extra poses. This is something you need to watch out for when ordering photography Groupons online.

We didn’t do save-the-dates because we didn’t want to add that expense to our budget along with invitations, but if you are interested in having physical prints of your engagement photos, searching for photography deals with companies on Groupon is a great option that worked well for us.

Here are some other options to consider if you are interested in getting cheap engagement photos.

See if Your Wedding Photographer Will Provide a Discount

If you’re recently engaged and want to have your wedding soon, odds are you are already in full planning mode. You should always book your wedding photographer extra early once the date is official. Why not wait a few weeks and see if the photographer you book for your wedding will give you a discount on engagement photos?

Most professional photographers charge an hourly rate so you can book a 30-minute session to save money and cut their discounted rate in half. You can do many poses and even shoot at different parts of your location all in 30 minutes.

Ask a Friend or Family Member To Do it as a Favor

You may have friends, family members, or even co-workers who are interested in photography and own a nice camera. If so, ask if they would be willing to shoot your engagement photos for a small price or a favor in return. Depending on your relationship, some people may even offer to do it for free or as a gift to celebrate your engagement.

I was going to go this route initially because my sister has a very nice camera but I found our deal on Groupon and chose to go with that option instead since I couldn’t pass it up.

Hire a Student Photographer

If you don’t have any friends or family members with a professional camera, see if you can hire a student photographer from a local college. Students who are taking photography classes have to find subjects to take pictures of all the time and would probably be more than willing to do you photos.

Take Them Yourself

If you have a digital camera or even a smartphone, you may be able to take engagement photos for free. You’d be surprised at how well smartphone camera can take photos. With the right lighting and the perfect location, your pictures can come up looking very professional. You can also take as many images as you want and even do outfit changes since you won’t have a time limit to get the perfect shot like with some of the other options.

If you are interested in creating save-the-dates, you can edit your images and add a border, different filters, text, and themed graphics and stickers all for free on

Don’t spend some crazy amount like $300 on engagement photos. Dropping that kind of cash before you even start planning the intricate details of your wedding is not necessary. Instead, try one of these options to score cheap and professional-looking engagement photos.


Heather May 16, 2017 - 9:00 am

These are great tips! I know a lot of student photographers who have some great camera work, so that is definitely a valid option. Thanks for sharing!

Jamie August 5, 2016 - 7:34 pm

When I was getting married, my photographers were just students from a local university. They were really good and went for extra mile as they were so excited to be part of a wedding for experience. Actually, I paid less than what I would have paid to a professional photographer.

Chonce Maddox August 19, 2016 - 6:17 am

That’s awesome!


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