Picking a wedding photographer is one of the first big decisions in the wedding planning process. You have to think about budget, style, location, personality… But even after those considerations, there are a few more tips that you may not think of at first, but will be sure to help. Here is a quick list of things to think about, along with a snipet of how I learned these things the hard way. Hold on tight- it’s about to get real.
- To get the best service, make sure your photographer does this as their FULL TIME job. If they have other distractions, you will not get their full attention, and this can be a huge problem. My photographer did weddings as a side job, so my pictures were not her first priority. Therefore, the quality of her work with me suffered immensely.
- Meet your potential photographer in person before you decide. This is the only way to really get to know their personality. If you love them online, but they are less than impressive in person, don’t feel like you still have to hire them. Choose someone you are compatable with. When my husband and I met our photographer in person, he thought she had no energy and didn’t take initiative in learning about what we wanted. I wish I would have take his comments more to heart, because she ended up not being compatable with us. I wish we would have chosen someone else.
- They should always get back to you within 24 hours of contact if they are a real professional. Communication is key when you are wedding planning. If you don’t hear from them after a day, maybe that’s alright with you- but two days is unacceptable! If you have trouble setting up appointments or there is a lack of communication in the beginning- it will only get worse. There were times my photographer did not answer my emails/texts/calls for TWO WEEKS. There is no excuse for this. It’s 2015, people. Don’t believe the bull that they ‘didn’t have service.’
- Make sure they can handle being a director, especially when you give them a list of ‘must have’ snapshots. Things get busy and you will forget if you wanted a picture with your second cousin twice removed. Don’t get too specific for the entire day, but at least have a list for the church pictures. This will help move things along without people getting frustrated. Be sure your photographer can direct large groups so these get done in a timely manner. I had a list for my photographer, and she didn’t get them all. She had the list on her phone, not printed out, and kept having to unlock the screen and scroll back to where she left off. It took forever, and she missed quite a few. She didn’t direct people where to stand, what angles to get, and so our pictures did not look on point.
- Be extremely specific in your contract about what you will be given in your wedding package, and WHEN you will receive it. After the wedding day is done, you should receive the items you paid for, but you should get them without too much of a wait. I would say 4-6 weeks is a very generous amount of time to give a photographer. Have a specific date you will have your picture by, even if you decide 3 months is an ok time for you- HAVE IT IN WRITING. My photographer told us she would have everything done in about 2-3 months. I was not aware that this is longer than normal, so I agreed. However this was not written in our contract. We didn’t get our pictures until FIVE MONTHS after our wedding.
- Lastly, if you are dissatisfied, ask for compensation. Your wedding day is the most important day of your life. The photographer has one of the most important jobs of the day- capturing the memories. If you get your pictures back and they are not what you expected, communicate this to your photographer. It is ok to ask for some money back if you are not happy. You paid for their services, and if those services were not delivered, it needs to be fixed. After not getting our pictures back for five months, having no communication from our photographer, and being extremely unhappy with the pictures we finally got- we asked for a partial refund. We did get some money back. While it doesn’t fix our crappy wedding pictures, at least we stood our ground and communicated how unhappy we were.
Now, I hope I have not made you afraid about choosing a wedding photographer. Remember, we are all human and have lives that can sometimes cause a wrinkle in plans. However, watch for signs that a photographer may not be the one for you. Read reviews, look at their online galleries, ask how many weddings they have photographed, ask your married friends who they would suggest, grill them as much as you want to ensure you will get exactly what you want for your big day. Once you have chosen your photographer, congratulations! Coming soon will be a suggested ‘must have’ snapshot list, so stay tuned! Happy (wedding photographer) hunting!