Happy September! Thursday Tips are back.
I saw a great post by graphic designer Kelly Ashworth titled “How to be besties with your graphic designer” and thought I could put my own spin on it to help brides and grooms foster a great relationship when it comes to finding and working with your wedding photographer.
In client meetings, I tell the prospective bride and groom that the last thing that I’d want for them is to work with me, but not have them like me as a person. That would be torture for all parties. I love when I meet clients and we click almost immediately. We like similar things and could see us being friends even without the photography relationship. However, if during a meeting it’s feeling like an awkward first date (you know what I mean) and we aren’t able to communicate well, it’s probably not a good fit.
So for my Thursday Tips, here is my advice on how to be BFFs with your wedding photographer, no matter who you hire.
1. DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT MONEY
Beginning an email/phone call with “Can you send me your pricing?” is a surefire sign that I am not the wedding photographer for you. You’re essentially saying, “I probably haven’t seen your photos. I don’t even know who you are but I decided to send out a mass email to ten to twenty wedding photographers in Dallas. I’m price shopping. I don’t place any value on your talents and expertise, I just want a good deal.”
Tell me a little about your wedding. What makes you most excited about getting married? I want to be able to get to know you a little more before we move forward in working together. Not every photographer out there is desperate for work – if you make it all about price, I may just choose not to work with you.
2. DON’T ASK ME TO WORK FOR LESS
I know that everyone has a budget, and some can afford my services and others cannot. And that’s okay. But please don’t tell me, “Oh my goodness, I love your work and you, but we can only pay you $500 for ten hours of coverage, an album, and the digital negatives.” This isn’t Let’s Make a Deal. I know how much my time is worth, how much products cost, and this is a business, not just a hobby. I pay taxes, pay bills, and I have to eat, too! Wedding photography is an investment, don’t take it for granted.
3. DON’T WASTE TIME
If you found your photographer, great! Book them, their open dates don’t last forever. If you’ve met with other photographers and you’ve made a decision, let the other prospective wedding photographers know! It’s the worst when I get my hopes up for a great client and then they go radio silent. Please just send a quick email stating that you’ve decided to go with someone else. It’s okay. It means we can open the date up for other couples.
4. DO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Have an idea of the style of photography that you like and contact the appropriate photographers. While I’m flattered you contacted me to photograph your wedding, if you ask for “posed photographs and selective coloring” (think red rose on a black and white photo), then I’m probably not the wedding photographer for you. And please don’t expect me to shoot that for you if it’s not what I do. If you’re looking for urban and edgy photos, contact urban and edgy photographers. If you’re looking for natural light photos, contact natural light photographers. Be honest about what you want, and if your desires and the photographer’s style don’t mesh, it’s okay. There’s a photographer out there for you.
5. DO COME WITH IDEAS
I love it when clients know what they want, especially when it comes to their engagement session. I love creative couples who want to infuse their engagement session, bridal session, and wedding day with their personalities, hobbies, pastimes, heritage, or cultural traditions. This means that your photo sessions will be true reflections of YOU. Those are my favorite types of clients. While I’m open to helping clients figure out what they want, it’s very helpful to come ready with some ideas.
6. DO BE OPEN TO MY EXPERT OPINION
There are certain times of the day that are not conducive to my style of photography. If you are dead set on having your engagement session photographed at 12:00pm in the middle of summer, I will be suggesting another time. Unless the look you’re going for is “Sweaty Hot Mess”, just sayin’. You hired your wedding photographer not only for their photographic abilities, but their expertise as well. You may want to shoot lying down in a certain field, but it may be infested with ant hills (I kicked one over last year!). So I’d suggest shooting in a different field. In general, be open to our expertise, it’s what you’re paying us for, right?
These tips are not meant to be the end-all, be-all. If you are a wedding photographer and have any to add, please do!
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