After reading my last article, Wedding Photography: What’s Your Style ?, you now know exactly what it is that you are looking for in a photographer. Now on to the hard part … Where do you look for this photographer? What should you be looking for and what comes next?
Where to look for a photographer:
The best way to start looking for a photographer is to talk with friends and family members who have gotten married recently. They can often make suggestions about who they loved, why and where they found their own photographer. Having the insight from someone you trust on how a photography company handled an ACTUAL wedding is a rare and very valuable thing.
If you don’t know anyone who has gotten married recently or were just not impressed by what you found, another valuable resource is your venue’s recommended vendor list. There are often strict criteria a photographer must meet before being added to this kind of a list. Typically they must have shot a wedding (or three) at that specific venue. When venues recommend a vendor they are extremely careful about endorsing only people they know will do a good job as ultimately the quality of their vendors work will be a reflection upon them. Ask your venue coordinator about specific photography companies on the list, see if he/she has any personal insight into which companies might be a good fit for your big day.
If you still haven’t found what your looking for, broaden your search via trusted online wedding directories. A few that our brides have found helpful are: Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book and Wedding Chicks. Vendor Directories are a great tool for finding a wedding photographer. You can get an overview of the vendors that will fit your budget and narrow down your favorite choices all in one place. There are plenty of sites out there. Many of which include region or city specific searches, allowing you to find the best options in your area. You can also search by vendor categories.
What should you be looking for:
A lot of this will depend on what your photographic priorities are for the big day. Things to think about may include:
- Whether or not you will want a CD of the images with the ability to print your own photos
- If your photographer will require a travel fee to shoot your wedding
- How many hours will you need to really cover your day well
- Are you looking to have one or two shooters?
- Is it preferable to have a female photographer in with you while you’re getting ready
- What kind of products are you looking to have from your wedding day (ie. albums, guest books, canvas prints)?
- What is your photography budget?
Having answers to these questions will give you something to start your search with. When looking at photographers be sure to check out not only their website and pricing but also their blog as well. Look through past blog posts to gain insight as to the quality of work they present and the types of clients they shoot for. Be sure to pay attention to the frequency of their posts. Do they seem experienced, busy and most of all when you see their photos … does it make your heart flutter? If so, then it might be time to move onto the next step … booking a meeting!
What comes next:
I cannot stress enough how important it is to meet with photographers you are interested in IN PERSON. A phone conversation about packages and pricing will not tell you anything about the photographer’s personality, the quality of the products they offer or how well you will get along with them on the big day. After you have made your list start contacting the companies you are interested in to set up a time to talk about the wedding and find out more about what they have to offer. This may include visiting their studio, having them come to your house or meeting somewhere neutral like a quiet coffee house. Try to schedule your meetings within about a one week time frame if possible. The longer you go in between your photographer meetings the harder it will be to remember what each one had to offer and compare them to make a decision.
So now you know what you look for, you’ve made your ‘it list’ and even have a few meetings scheduled. Check back for my next article which will help you to know what to expect during your photographer meetings, things you should ask and what to look for when choosing the one.