For Bride’s Friday: How to Find a Wedding Photographer

Hello!  And welcome to the first installation of “For Bride’s Friday”!  I’m really excited to give inquiring minds an inside look at the wedding industry and some things you may not know… and quite possibly could need some help with!  Because let’s face it… many of my fellow vendors and I have been in the wedding industry for YEARS and have experience in working with each other… and this is… well, your first wedding… like Phoebe would say, “Aw, you’re brand new!”

Ok… so today we’re going to go over a great topic… how to find a wedding photographer.  Ok seriously, we live in a day and age where people are carrying around camera’s in their pockets everyday.  Nokia now has a phone with “reinvented zoom” and produces a 35 megapixel picture… holy. crap.  We are also living in a day where anyone, literally anyone, can run down to Best Buy and pick up an amateur dslr and open a photography business… just ask your friendly neighborhood photographer with that nice magnet on the side of their car.  So what do you do?  How can you make sure you get someone that catches your vision and won’t drop the ball or lose the essence of your day?

1. determine the STYLE of photography you LOVE
– this is easy… what kind of work are you drawn to?  Do you like dark and moody images?  do you like clean, classic and bright photos? do you absolutely, positively need to see every single part of the person you love in every single frame? how much emotion do you want captured? do you like posed images that evoke emotion? because photography is really more about you than your photographer… these are questions you need to ask yourself.  from there you find the photographers that match the STYLE you like and then…

2. research
– ask your married friends and coworkers who they inquired with and who they hired. were they happy with their decision? would they choose that person if they could do it all over again? how long did it take to get their photos back? was the photographer accommodating, flexible and more importantly… did the photographer ‘get’ them?
– look up photographers in your area… check local wedding magazines, uh… google…
– and keep in mind… STYLE!!

3. inquire
– ok, so I know it’s hard… but narrow down your choices to the TOP THREE and find their contact form!
– fill out the form… (I know, easy right?)… no, but seriously… we want to get to know you!  I can’t tell you how horribly disappointing it is to get an inquiry and all it says is, “Hi, my name is X and I’d like information on your availability and pricing.” … well, duh.  My BEST inquiries LIGHT UP my comments section on my form… they give me details! they tell me what they’re looking for, what they’re excited about and they are not afraid to FILL IN THE PHONE NUMBER line! I promise that any photographer worth their salt is not going to call you at 10pm at night and pressure you into hiring them.  I have a family too, I get it. I will honestly only use the phone number if there’s a problem or if you work at bank of america, and I need to make sure my pricing information got through and wasn’t blocked by their oh-so-powerful firewall.

4. interview
– ok… here’s the fun part! we get to meet! I get to finally put a face with a name (unless I facebook stalked you a little), and we get to feel each other out.  you have questions? ask away! here are some tips to make sure you’re hiring a pro… do they have insurance? do they pay taxes? how many weddings have they photographed (ask to see them)? do they have reviews online? are they good? did they show up to the meeting with samples (if they don’t at least have an album to show you, run… fast).
– if you have a gut feeling… go with it. if anything is my personal mantra, that’s it. even if you have another meeting scheduled with another photographer… nothing can replace a gut feeling.  If you spent most of the meeting talking personal details, laughing and left feeling like you met a new friend… BOOK THEM!  because honestly… you’re going to see your photographer more than your own mother on the day of your wedding, and you need to make sure they “get” you.

5. pick your pony
– so this is a tough one… you have to decide who’s WORK you liked and who’s PERSONALITY you liked… and sometimes they don’t match. here’s the bottom line… if you picked these people because you liked their STYLE, you need to pick the person that you want to do business with for the next year. who got back to your emails? who was more upfront in their communication? who did you laugh with? who did you feel like you connected with better? HIRE THAT ONE. because more than likely… you will be happier with the overall experience rather than just your images.

6. write the other ones back
– so you inquired with more than your TOP THREE? best practice – you need to write them back and tell them you went with someone else. you had lunch with a photographer and didn’t answer their follow up email? not cool. please keep in mind that these people you’re meeting with… are people. we are taking time out of our lives to meet with you… to tell you our stories… to connect with you and hope that in this crazy, camera filled, “anyone can be a photographer” world, that you will pick us. to meet with us and then not answer our email… in the words of stephanie tanner… “how rude!” just jump in our shoes for a second… we’re okay being rejected. you’re not the first bride to do it, but it would be awesome if you could just be honest. you don’t need to tell us WHY you didn’t hire us… just let us off the hook and respond… even if you don’t like confrontation… just respond. because we’re people too.

Hope this was helpful! We’re lining up some super great posts for subsequent Friday’s so stay tuned!

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