Wedding planning is a little bit…crazy. I know, I’ve been there.
But I also know that for the most part, brides have never planned a wedding before. Maybe they’ve helped a friend or a sister, but if they are newly engaged this is their first time doing this. And with anything that is new, you may not be sure how to go about it. I know I didn’t.
There are a million decisions to make: the venue, a church or outdoor ceremony, flowers, cake, THE DRESS, videographer, coordinator, and the photographer. And balancing it all within a budget, no matter how big or small.
So here are a few tips for searching for your photographer.
1. Know your personal style and what you are looking for.
Are you into the vintage look? Are you more modern or edgy? Do you like classic, traditional photos? Do you like completely candid, unposed photojournalistic shots? For example, if you love shopping at West Elm for furniture, Ann Taylor Loft for clothing, and accessorize with Fossil handbags, then you might want to seek a photographer with that aesthetic. If you love high fashion, love the fashionista scene, and can spot the Spring 2011 collections, you may want to seek a photographer who is inspired by fashion…it’s totally your choice.
2. Have a photography budget in mind, and check out what the photographers in your area charge.
I remember when I was chatting with a former co-worker about how much she spent on photography (in 2007), I had major sticker shock (this was before I entered the industry). After a little more research, we ended up spending around the same amount. Know what you can spend and find someone who can fit your budget, and who you’ll know will take care of you. To me, photography is an investment, and I want to be able to show my future children and grandchildren my wedding photos that I still love 50 years from now. I don’t want buyer’s regret for the most important day of my life (that cannot be recreated)…so be wary of the super cheap “deals” out there. It makes me wonder why it’s so cheap.
3. Check out the photographer’s work.
Not all wedding photographers are created equal. Everyone has their own style. So know that if you’re totally into modern/high fashion/avant-garde style, and you contact a photographer who’s style is more vintage and soft, they probably won’t be producing the type of photos you want. Check out their website and/or blog and see what they’ve been doing lately. Do you like their work? Does their work resonate with you?
4. Narrow you choices to your top 5 choices, then contact your favorite two. Or even just your #1 choice.
If your favorite photographer is available, awesome. Done. However, making decisions is difficult. Meeting with five different photographers and then having to make a choice is inevitably going to be difficult. What if they are all awesome? What if they are all priced similarly? What’s it going to come down to? Choosing between two is easier than five.
5. Follow up and follow through.
As a wedding photographer, nothing is quite as exciting as receiving a wedding inquiry on an available date. I like to set up a casual consultation with a potential client so I can get to know them and they can get to know me. It’s a perfect time to figure out if we’d be a good fit to work together. So if you set up a meeting with a photographer, show up! If you have to reschedule, let them know. I’ve been stood up before, it’s not a great feeling. Be honest and work something out. However, it’s super disheartening when you’ve had a great meeting with a potential client (or email exchange), and then they seemingly fall off the face of the planet. Please, please, please follow up – even if you don’t want to book the photographer, send them a quick email to let them know that you’re going in a different direction, trust me, they will appreciate it. Then you can move on, and they can move on as well.
Next time, I’ll be tackling 5 tips for contacting and meeting with a wedding photographer.
A new series I’m participating in: Thursday Tips! Check out these posts for photography advice and be sure to visit Lauren at Every Last Detail, Becky at Bowties and Bliss, Lauren at Love Milk and Honey, Mel at The Oceanside Bride, Colleen at Soundtrack To I Do, Shay Cochrane Photography, and Stremel Photography for more great wedding planning tips + more.
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