5 Easy Ways To Save Money for Your Next Documentary Photo Session

5 Easy Ways To Save Money for Your Next Documentary Photo Session

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When asked why someone doesn’t pursue a documentary photography session, one of the main reasons given is money. “We can’t afford it.” “I can’t justify spending that.” “It’s too much.” I’m going to let you in on a secret: professional photography IS a luxury, hence the expense. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work that into your life! It just needs to be a financial priority.

Saving for a session may be the best option for you, and I am all about saving money. To get you started, I have put together a list of 5 ways to save money for your next Documentary Photo Session! Making a few slight changes to your lifestyle can help you fill up that Photo Fund quick.

Create a Budget

First things first, make sure you have a budget in place, not only for saving for a Documentary Photo Session, but for your general financial health. If you don’t know where all of your money is going every paycheck, that is a problem. By creating a budget and analyzing your spending, you will be able to determine where you can adjust your spending and shift money into your Photo Fund.

My personal favorite way to track my spending is through Mint, but there are many similar apps that can be used to have your budget at your fingertips. You can sync all of your bank accounts, assets, and loans through the app to see your overall financial status. To be honest, I check this multiple times per day and get really excited when I meet my goals that I have set through the app.

Make Coffee at Home

This was a game-changer for me, because coffee literally runs through my veins and gives me life every morning. I’ve managed to save a ton of money just by switching out my coffee habit most days of the week. I say most, because I still give myself the option to go out for coffee once a week so that I don’t feel deprived. I am a lover of cold brew coffee regardless of the time of the year. Yes, that means when it’s -7000 degrees here in Minnesota, I still drink cold brew.  

We purchased this cold brew maker, and bought our own coffee beans. Now, we get the taste of the coffee shop without having to pay the excess prices. My normal coffee order typically costs me $5.45, so I am saving $14.11 per week (since I still give myself one day per week to go to the coffee shop) after my purchase of a $7.69 bag of Caribou Coffee coffee beans from Target. We don’t go through an entire bag in a week, but we will use that in my math regardless. Continuing that for 52 weeks out of the year, that’s $733.72 in savings!

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Skip the Gym and Exercise at Home

I will be the first to admit that my gym membership collects dust on my theoretical life shelf. Whoops. But I have learned that you can get just as challenging of a workout in your basement, for free, as you can at the gym. You don’t even need equipment. I have used FitnessBlender to start working out at home, and it has been awesome. Their videos are completely free and can be tailored to your fitness level, the equipment you have available, and your goals. All of their videos have written instructions and you can utilize their services anytime, any place.

Do “Date Night” for Free

If you are in a relationship, you may feel like “Date night” is a big strain on your budget. But it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to go out together (or even stay in) that don’t require you to spend Monday. Pinterest is swarming with ideas of no-spend dates, so that’s a great place to do some research. Dates don’t have to require dinner out or movies!

I started your research and put together a list of some of my favorite no-spend date ideas below: 

  1. Indoor camp-out: roast S’Mores over the stove, hang out in sleeping bags, and snuggle up in a tent!

  2. Read a book together: pick one you both will enjoy.

  3. Game night: get out the board games and play!

  4. Take a hike: explore a new park in your area.

  5. Cook together: make a yummy meal at home!

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Use the Envelope Method

I first learned about the Envelope Method when I was introduced to Dave Ramsey via his book, The Total Money Makeover. It’s a simple way to budget your money for specific purposes. Every time you get paid, you take out half of your monthly budget for a specific category (assuming you could paid twice per month), such as groceries, dining out, etc in cash. You put that cash in an envelope and write out its purpose. You then use money for that purpose (and that purpose only) throughout the month. No using money from other sources for that budget category, no taking money out of that envelope for something else. It has one purpose, and that’s all for which you use it.


I hope these tips will help you save up toward a photo session that you will love and treasure for years to come! Have more ideas or tips that have worked for you? Comment below!

Now that you have the tools to save up, not sure what you want to document? Check out my blog for ideas on what to document through every stage of life, such as when you have a newborn baby. Find that post here!

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