**I’ve been getting emails from photographers asking if they can re-post this on their own blogs. OF COURSE you can! Please, share with anyone you’d like! Change it up and make it more applicable for portrait photography, if you’d like! Or better yet, like it as is? Just link to this post. It’s all cool with me.
It’s happened. It’s FINALLY happened!! Your ruggedly handsome beau has been saving and shopping and planning…he knelt on one knee and did it!! You’re engaged and it was the moment you’ve always dreamed of! You’re glowing. You’re showing off your amazing finger jewels. You’re mulling over the million wedding ideas you’ve been quietly bookmarking on your laptop for the past year. You’re no longer a lurker on that popular wedding forum. Welcome “2011-Bride_to_be” Then you’re hit with reality. OMG. This is going to cost a FORTUNE! It’s cool, it’s cool. You’ll cut that daily Starbucks. He can surely cut out those wonderfully hoppy Portland microbrews and deal with canned beer for a few months. Buh-bye trendy sushi place, sack lunches have replaced you.
You book that venue you’ve been dreaming of. You find “THE” dress. Now you begin your search for wedding photographers. And here it is, WOW!! THAT much just for a few hours of clicking? What a rip off! I hate to admit it, but I thought the same thing when planning my own wedding. I figured photographers surely knew that photos are a must and were merely capitalizing on my need! Here’s the thing: we’re good people! Cross my heart. I absolutely adore weddings, but I don’t adore working for free. Pricing is difficult for us. Factor in all the time involved (not just the 6 hours we spend with you on your special day, but the prep time, the meetings, the phone calls and emails back and forth, the travel time and expenses, the hours and hours and hours of editing those 50 billion images) the equipment, insurance….and so on. There are many factors that go into a photographer’s pricing, so I’ll end with that! Here are a few things I tell brides when I meet with them and I hope this is something useful for you too!
#1, what is important to you on your wedding day?
Think this one over. What do you want to take away from your wedding day (besides that partner in life that makes everything worthwhile!) Is it the venue that takes top priority? The menu? The photography and the images you’ll have after the fact? Hiring a real DJ to get your party started or begging a friend to run back and forth to an iPod? Decide what your priorities are and that will help you determine how to allot your wedding budget.
#2, what are you looking for in a photographer?
This is an important one. Look at those galleries and blog images. This will truly give you a feel for the type of photographer this professional is. If you see traditionally posed images, do not expect that you will receive a gallery of candid moments from your day! I recently had a friend tell me how disappointed she was in her wedding photographer. She met with him, liked him, but wanted casual, candid shots of their day and unfortunately his galleries and albums showed very traditional images. She hired him. Weeks after her wedding, she opened her gallery and was disappointed by all the traditionally posed images. Be open and honest about what it is you’re looking for and be sure that your photographer can meet those expectations.
#3, what you see is what you get!
Again…really look through those galleries! I know you have a budget. I understand that, I do! So again, this is a BIGGIE. Keep in mind that typically (I’m sure there are photographers out there who are the exception) the images you find on a photographer’s website are the best work they have. That, or favorite images they’ve shot. If these images do not reflect what you are looking for, don’t ignore that! I hear this a lot. There is a photographer whose work you are IN LOVE with, but they are a little over your budget. There is another photographer that easily fits into your budget and gives WAY more goodies in their packages, but…the images they have on display aren’t entirely what you’ve been envisioning of your own wedding day. Only YOU can decide which is more important to you, but try to look through those websites and imagine the photos you’re viewing are the images you have received from your OWN special day. How do they make you feel? Select what you believe is best for you and best suits your needs.
#4, look through photographer’s blogs
Typically, photographers post sneak peeks of their most recent weddings and sessions! See what they’ve been up to and what their current work looks like. Websites can become outdated (hey, we’re busy shooting and editing, cut us some slack!)
#5, love, hate, indifference
Meet with photographers before blindly booking. I always tell my couples that I will be on them like their shadow on their wedding day. If you hate me, it may make our working relationship a bit more difficult! If we communicate well and our personalities are a good fit, the experience will be much more pleasant!
I know that was a LOT to take in, but hope it helps some of you out there who are Googling madly and feeling overwhelmed by the thousands of photos you’ve browsed through!