Hello to all you newly engaged ladies out there!
Let’s face it, you’re probably so overwhelmed with happiness and the shiny glimmers radiating from the new bling on your finger. Your thoughts are all over the place and now you’re beginning to think about wedding planning. Planning a wedding is a BIG DEAL and this blog post is being typed just for you ladies that need a little help when trying to book your wedding photographer from the perspective of a super optimistic Virginia Wedding Photographer / newlywed herself. I apologize in advance for using ALL CAPS, the word ‘totally’ and for all the exclamation points.
5 things you should be doing:
Step One: Determine the style of photography you like. I know this can be a relatively hard thing to do, because there are lots of different styles out there and a lot of them ARE amazing. From traditional to edgy and bold , documentary, light and airy, moody and muted, clean and vibrant – Trust me, there’s something for everyone and there is a photographer for everyone, but you need to make sure when you choose the person to capture the biggest day of your life, that you’re choosing them because you trust that they will capture your day in the way you also envision it being captured.
Step Two: Make a list of the photographers you’re considering and do your homework! Make sure you read their reviews – that’s THE biggest piece of advice I can give you. Check to see if the photographer you’re looking at has a Wedding Wire account or a Facebook Business Page and actually read the reviews (you should be doing this for all other vendors as well). Odds are they have some type of platform for reviews and you’ll be able to see what their past couples thought about their performance. You may even find a one star review that says “She was drunk at the wedding and lost my files” – BUSTED! Probably not the photographer for you.
Step Three: Set up an interview with the photographers you are having trouble deciding on. Maybe you’ve been able to break it down to the two photographers that you feel are the best for you and your fiancé, but you’re still having trouble deciding. Asking for an interview is the best thing ever for you and for them + they’ll probably buy you coffee too(and I LOVE COFFEE). Not to mention, you get to meet with the person you’re about to drop some serious cash on + get to know their personality and see if it clicks with yours + have your questions answered!
Maybe you want to know if they offer payment plans or maybe you want to know what exactly each package entails. You can even request that they bring an album that shows off their work. If you do, make sure you look over every little detail. The color of their prints, the crispness of their images, the quality of their posing, everything. Seeing this stuff and being able to ask questions in person versus seeing and asking it online is a pretty significant difference.
Step Four: After you’ve met with who you’re possibly considering (assuming they have your date available), compare, compare, COMPARE! Maybe Photographer #1 didn’t include and album but Photographer #2 did or perhaps Photographer #1 had a great personality that totally clicked with yours and Photographer #2 was…boring. It’s funny, but it totally happens. Don’t pick your photographer just based off of their packages. Pick them because you know they will work well with you and be able to capture the essence of your day without making you feel disconnected. Remember, your portraits are an INVESTMENT and I know for a fact that we, as photographers, love building friendships with our clients. So, maybe even look for that quality.
Step Five: Now, that you’ve chosen THE photographer for your big day, you get to breathe a little easier. However, just one last thing on your list to do. It’s a common courtesy to email the photographers that didn’t make the cut and let them know you decided on another photographer. Why do this? Again, it’s common courtesy and it shows respect.
TRUST ME when I say this, WHENEVER I get a contact form from a newly engaged couple looking for photography – I SCREAM FOR JOY! It’s so exciting for photographers, because we know that we’ve at least grabbed your attention with our work that we put our heart and soul in. We took the time reading through your email and making sure the date is available. Then, we emailed you back and made sure we somehow impressed you with our feelings of joy. When we don’t hear back from you, especially after the first email…it makes us well…sad. It makes us ask questions like “Maybe I was too much? Maybe I rubbed them the wrong way? Maybe they forgot about me?”. Not to mention if you live in the same town it can be a bit awkward running into each other, and no one likes awkward. Plus, they may be temporarily holding the date for you (maybe for a day or two) because they know you might be interested. If they don’t hear back from you, they could lose another potential client in the process.
Now, if the photographer doesn’t respond back in a timely manner – please call or email us again. We care about you and WANT to talk to you. However, we get lots of emails from prospective wedding clients, other photographers, portrait clients, and so on. Add that to an already hectic schedule and we can get a bit scattered, just like anyone else. Emails can get overlooked or not even come through.
So, take the time to copy and paste the same message to each photographer you didn’t choose. Something like “Thank you so much for taking the time to send information about your wedding services. As it turns out, we have found another photographer that fits our needs better.” – and that’s it.
PHEW! Now, that wasn’t THAT bad to read. I hope this helps put some things in to perspective from a newlywed / photographer’s point of view and hopefully gives you a little brain food while planning that wedding of yours.