The first steps in finding your photographer and other vendors can be a challenging process. I narrowed down the top 5 things to look for when you are looking for your wedding photographer. Hopefully this helps you in your search!
Here are some key points for when you are starting your search for a wedding photographer -
1.Do you like their pictures. This might seem remedial, but it is a very important aspect. Look at their pictures – look at the style – are the pictures appealing to you? Do they make you say “ Awww “, “ That is gorgeous “, “ Look how pretty that is “. The pictures should evoke some sort of emotion in you.
2. Check out their about me page – Most photographers have an about me page telling you some information about who they are. Check it out – read the whole page and any extra pages they have. Out of every vendor (unless you have a wedding planner) The photographer/s are around you the entire day – 8+ hours. You should want to invest some time in learning who they are and if they are someone you would want to be friends with.
Picking a wedding photographer is almost like dating a little bit. You want someone you two can click with, be friends with, be able to communicate easily with and be on the same page. It makes the wedding day and any correspondence go so much smoother when you click.
3. Rates/Pricing/Investment/ whatever you want to call it – how much you have to pay for your photographer.
All photographers fall into one of the three categories for pricing on their website
1. They don’t list any numbers at all and just want you to email them for the info.
2. They have a starting out rate listing their base collection.
3. They list out all of their collections and pricing for all of them.
1. If you are looking at someone who has nothing listed for pricing- Email them. You might think oh my gosh they have nothing listed so they must be expensive. They might fit your budget perfectly – Email them and find out!
2. A lot of photographers – myself included have a base collection rate on the website. This lets you know that our base collection is X amount. This helps when you have a very strict budget that you are working with. There are always exceptions though – most photographers will make custom collections for their couples. If a couple asks then I am more then happy to make a custom collection for them. This custom collection might end up being less then what that base rate is that is listed on the website or it might be more depending on what they want. The bottom line is – Email them – Even if they look like they might be out of your budget it doesn’t hurt to find out more information and see if they are willing to do a custom collection with the hours and items that you would like.
3. There are also several photographers that have all of their collections listed out on their website. This gives you easy access to all the information to see if there is a collection that fits what you want and what your budget range is. I don’t list everything out on my website because I think it helps and it hurts. It helps in the way that you are able to see all of the collections and pricing right away – I think it hurts though because it can close the conversation on custom collections. I know some couples think what is listed is written in stone for the collections – it usually isn’t. There will always be photographers who are set in stone about what is in the collections and what isn’t in the collections. But, like I said above most photographers will work with you to get the items you would like into a custom collection and the best way to do that is to email them.
The bottom line for all three is Email the photographer!! Even if they list nothing, list everything or what they have listed fits in your range… email them for more information. It can’t hurt.
4. After you have contacted them – how long does it take them to respond back? What information do they give you? Do you have to answer questions?
These are all little things, but they can be big items depending on what is important to you.
How long does it take to respond back - Does it take them 7 hours, 7 days? I try to respond within 24 hours, but even I have busy times where I don’t get to my email for a day or two. It happens. It is life. They might have had something going on in their life – flu, child sick, moving, etc. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt in how long it takes them to email back the first time. Now – if it is a constant thing of them taking 7 days to email you back after you send an email might be something worth mentioning.
What information do they give you in your email back - Do they answer your questions that you emailed to them? I emailed some general questions when I was looking for photographers and almost all of them answered my questions. Some had questions for me which is great and I was happy to answer them. This leads me into the next item -
Do they have questions for you? General questions are great – where is the ceremony, where is the reception, how did he propose, when did you two meet? I always ask my couples how they met because I find the stories fun and it gives me some insight on what you two like to do and personalities. These general questions are great since this gives you a chance to tell the photographer what you are planning and give them some insight on who you two are as a couple and your personalities.
5. Finally meet with them. If you are in the same state as them then set up a face-to-face meeting. If you are out of state then set up a Skype date. This is your best chance to see who they are and if you two like each other. This is always a great chance to check out more of their work, check out any albums and get an idea of their products. I have a welcome packet that I give all my couples and go through it with them during their meeting. It comes with information about the collections and contract, Engagement session tips, timeline information, shoot lists, and paper examples for save the dates, thank you and escort cards. If you are out of state then I have PDFs of all this information plus album information so that you are able to have it pulled up on you computer when we Skype and I can mail you the paper samples for the cards.
5.5 . Make the final decision. After you have met with the photographer and looked over everything - then you need to make the decision on if they are the wedding photographer you want. By now you have already figured out if you two click or not, if they have a collection that fits what you two want and also fits in your budget range, and if you want your wedding images photographed in a way that they photograph weddings. Make your decision and get pumped for the engagement session and the wedding!!
I hope this has provided some insight in how to pick your wedding photographer. If you have any questions feel free to email me and I will be happy to answer them on this subject – firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an awesome day!