CREATING A SHORTLIST
You've found the ONE - that special someone who makes your heart sing. That best friend, the one that you can see yourself rocking on the porch with, old and grey and still holding hands, that one in a million 'The Notebook' love story person.
The wedding date has been set, the venue found. Your very next step is to find the next ONE - the wedding photographer. But there are so many!! Where to begin? Read on for three easy steps to create a shortlist and some key questions that you should ask/consider.
Having been a wedding photographer for many years, and also having gotten married myself, I understand the process from BOTH sides of the coin which gives me a bit of unique perspective. SO if you want my two cents here are.......
YOUR THREE KEY CONSIDERATIONS:
1. Style - That's right, budget should not come first! After everything else is over, the photos are the ONLY remaining tangible record of your day and will become a family heirloom. So choose the RIGHT style. Questions to ask yourself? Do you love love love what you see? Can you see yourself in those kinds of pics? Are they posed or candid? Do the people look like they are having fun? Do you like the light? Do you like the editing style? Is there enough drama/too much? Do the visuals match your VIBE?
Keep it real - if you are looking at amazing architectural images of tall skinny brides on the staircase of a grand hotel yet you are petite and sporty, rocking the casual vibe at the beach, this is not a great match. Look for images that represent the kind of wedding that you will have.
2. Personality - yep, still not on money. The photographer is the only wedding vendor who is with you ALL day. You may spend more time with your photographer than with your bride or groom to be so you want to be damn sure that they are good to be around. I realise 'good' is a bit of shite word BUT - what energy do you want to have around you on your wedding day. Do you want someone loud and bossy? Do you want someone who melts into the background? Do you want someone super calm? Do you want someone who can make you laugh? If you want my two cents - you actually need a sensitive human being who can read the situation and adjust their vibe to match the events of the day.
Weddings can be beset with all sorts of challenges from wardrobe malfunctions to drivers who don't show up on time, to rain, to hysterical family members and you need someone who can cope with all of this appropriately. So MAKE SURE you talk to the photographer. Definitely meet with them face to face if possible or at least on zoom. ASK them about how they deal with these challenges if they arise and DO involve your partner. There is nothing worse than turning up to photograph the guys and having to ask who the groom is!! (Trust me - has totally happened - and then he turned out to be a bit rude with a few anger issues - I would have liked to turn those clients down!!) Check out testimonials and read what other wedding couples have said about your photographer.
3. Budget - OK I put it in there......Obviously if you have $5000 to spend there is no point talking to the best photographer in the country about their $9000 package. There is a wedding photographer to suit every budget but be aware that you will get what you pay for. Experience, artistry, equipment, technical ability, demand/popularity, hours covered will all govern what your wedding photographer charges. Personally I would be suss of anyone under $2000 for full day coverage.
There is no such thing as the average price, the range is massive. To give you an idea, in 2007 I paid $3500 for 4 hours of photography from someone quite well known. I made the foolish error of choosing someone on their reputation alone and we ended up not liking our photos as we just weren't a good match.
Research research research! What do you actually get delivered and how much time do they cover? In this digital age, you should be supplied all of your images. The photographer has to edit them all anyway so I don't believe it's good business to withhold images.
Check how long they stay and whether there are any value add ons like wedding albums. I personally also find it strange to see packages that only cover 3 hours - OK maybe if you are having a casual beach wedding and BBQ with 10 family members but otherwise......there is SO much going on, why wouldn't you want to record the full story of the BIGGEST day of your life?
Don't be afraid to ask for a custom quote if you don't see what you want in the packages but you love the photographer - a good business person will want to provide for the needs of their clients.
I sincerely hope you find this useful, check out my other blogs for other tips for helping your big day run super smooth and dreamy. You can read all about my wedding services here.