With this year’s wedding season underway, I have been receiving a good amount of inquiries for next year. Most inquiries follow the same pattern: “We love your work and were wondering what your packages are.” First, thank you for the compliment. Secondly, I would love to help! But, just like 8th grade, not every relationship we have is going to work out. Some couples I meet, I am not a good fit for. Others, it is like we are long lost friends. Below are 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer, written by a photographer.
1. Provide us with the important information up front.
I field probably 50 emails a day, or which 40 of them are important and need addressing. We live in an age where we expect an answer yesterday to a question we asked today. Make communication as easy as possible with your vendors. At the bare minimum, provide potential wedding vendors with:
That way, we can check to see if we have the date available. We can also address our experience and knowledge about those locations. If it is a far drive or a destination wedding, we can be upfront and address any additional charges that may occur. If you would like to provide additional information, the following can also be helpful:
This last point is incredibly important. We as photographers need to be silent chameleons. Catholic ceremonies I am normally located in the back of the church and NEVER go behind the altar. Indian ceremonies, I am invited up onto the “altar” and don’t wear shoes! Quite the polar opposites. You want to inform your photographer about the type of ceremony you will be having so they can act appropriately and research the cultural norms associated with it.
2. Ask to see a whole wedding gallery.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room and said, “this doesn’t look like the photos on their website?” My fiance and I right now are house shopping; sometimes I laugh while visiting a prospective house and say, “Man, that photographer really got creative with their camera angles. This room looked MUCH bigger online.” Point being, photography isn’t always honest. Even the best photographers can get lucky. What you want to do is look a whole wedding gallery or even multiple wedding galleries. Do you see consistency in their style? Lighting? Posing? Storytelling? If so, that is good! What you don’t want to do is make a decision based on the 20 images you see on their homepage or portfolio. Want to see mine? Take a look. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
3. Grab a coffee.
Great! Now that you have seen a large body of their work and you have a wedding date that works, grab a coffee with them or schedule a time to have a FaceTime meeting. Nothing builds trust or allows you to better understand a person as actually meeting them. Not only do I encourage couples to meet with me for their consultation, but I try to have an experience with them before their wedding, whether it be seeing a baseball game or grabbing dinner with them, to better forge that relationship before their wedding day. After all, we are all on the same team both leading upto and including your big day. Keep reading for more 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
4. Be flexible.
As a photographer with 200+ weddings under his belt, it is my job to not only capture the beautiful moments of your wedding day, but to also help guide to to those moments. Sometimes, brides will come to me with a list of locations and shots that they would like for me to capture. The locations criss-cross the city and would require hours of shooting in the timeline. No one likes hearing the word “no.” Be flexible and open to suggestions. Chances are, we know some hidden gems for locations that would work perfect for you.
The same is true when it comes to your timeline. People tend to underestimate how long everything takes on their wedding day. Be flexible! Not enough time in your contract for your photographer to shoot the groom getting ready? No problem; a nice window and wall at the church is all we need to get those prep shots. Ceremony starting at 5:00 and cocktail hour at 6:00 in October? Looks like you will need to do a first look or else all of your formal photos will be at night time.
Some of my couples are so flexible, they book their wedding date around my availability! (I love you!)
The good photographers will always try to find a balance and guide to living out your best day. We need you to be a bit flexible too. No wedding is executed to perfection. That is what makes them so special and unique.
5. Match styles.
Think about when you go clothes shopping; not every piece looks good to you, right? Very few articles of clothing can be deemed universal. Instead, you buy clothes that support and create your own personal style. Guess what, photographers are the same way with their art. Don’t book someone who calls themselves a “natural light photographer” if you like the more dramatically lit images. Sure, there is some wiggle room in our styles.
If you request a portrait with you and your friends, any of us can make that happen. But if you are looking for all candids or “vintage edits” or fashion-inspired lighting, you are best off going to someone whose style specializes in that.
So there you have it. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer. What tips can you share with our readers?
BTW Photography is a Detroit wedding photographer who offers his readers 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.