It's nearly the end of a great year and I am now fully booked for Weddings in 2016. As a new set of bookings for 2017 is beginning, I thought it a good time to do a blog about this - Choosing your Wedding Photographer.
Firstly most of my bookings come from word of mouth or guests meeting and speaking with me at the wedding. People definitely feel more secure after seeing you in action and building a rapport as they can picture how you would or wouldn’t fit in on their day. The other main way my bookings come in is through Wedding blogs, like Rock my Wedding. If I had no idea about photographers or where to begin, this is definitely where I would start. Wedding blogs are very current and showcase the latest styles and unique ideas. Also if a photographer's work has been blogged, it's a pretty good sign - if I may say so myself.
Obviously you need to fall in love with the images and their unique style. There are many different types of photographer's styles - Lifestyle, Traditional, Artistic, Documentary...As you look through different websites you should naturally start to narrow down photographers with a ‘similar style’ and that will become your preference to go for. (This is if you haven’t got your heart set on a certain one from the get go for whatever reason that may be). Then you will contact the photographer and ask for prices, this is where I become passionate. PLEASE don’t pick a photographer down to price. PLEASE don’t look at a list and think “which one is the cheapest - yeah we’ll just go for them”. This is such an important day and you will have these images for the rest of your life. If you aren’t bothered about photographs then for me personally (and I'm sure for the majority of photographers who truly respect their work and time) I wouldn’t accept the booking, it wouldn’t be fair on myself, or on another couple who may want that date and who are absolutely passionate about their photos and sure on their photographer!
Once contacting the photographer and asking for prices, you will instantly start getting impressions from how they respond on the phone or emails. This is so important - what is your initial gut feeling and do you think you would get along with them? This is more difficult if emails are going backwards and forwards but I send a detailed brochure rather than just a ‘price list’, to prospective clients, so they can get an idea of the kind of person I am and how I work at Weddings; BEFORE getting to the prices because like I say, liking me (your photographer) is more important than price. Obviously everyone has a budget but a lot of photographers have a starting price on their website which you see before you contact them so you already have an idea.
Then you would normally meet or Skype together or maybe just have a phone call if that suits you both. There needs to be an instant rapport otherwise it is just going to be awkward on the day. Your gut is always right and this is the same from the photographers point of view! I have had instances when I have had to decline a booking because I could already see it wouldn’t work due to different style preferences and ways of working, or it could be that we just didn’t instantly click. I am also doing them a favour by doing this as they will go on to find a photographer who is perfect for them - I wasn’t! However I am very lucky that my website and work mostly attracts my ideal clients and vice versa, I have only had a few instances where couples didn’t book me after initial meet / chat. Usually you hear nothing but on the odd occasion I have received the “unfortunately we are going with someone else” email, but I don’t see it as unfortunate, I see it as a great thing and I tell them that! I am equally pleased as when I GET a booking because we obviously weren’t right for each other. I only want to attract the right people for both our sakes. I hope this makes sense and doesn’t make me sound horrible or dramatic. Not everyone is for everyone and when it comes down to choosing your wedding photographer you do need to take it seriously, even if you think it isn't your priority. Believe me.
Of course it's also about the quality of work, what you will receive and how long your photographer will stay etc etc....All these questions need to be asked before you go ahead and book so you are absolutely clear and happy about what you're getting for your investment. I always let clients read their contract before going ahead and finalising the booking; just so if they have any queries, they can be straightened out, meaning we are all on the same page.
So here is a list to breakdown everything I am trying to get across, as I did get very passionate with my keyboard whilst typing this blog.
- Ask people you know about good photographers and definitely search Wedding blogs.
- Visit the websites of the photographers you like the look of, how does it make you feel? Read their 'About Me' page. Don’t just click ‘prices’ but obviously gage an idea if they are in your budget or make the decision to stretch if you think they are so right for you. Go through their wedding galleries. Read their testimonial page. Are their blogs up to date, what have they been up to? Do you like them? If yes - put them on the list. Do this until you have a few favourites OR you might get very excited about one in particular and have your heart set on them, tell them how sure you are about them being the right photographer when contacting them!
- If you email “hi. how much you charge for wedding?” I personally find it hard to even respond. This shows you don’t care at all, that you just want a cheap price, and a quick booking. Like I said before, I am very lucky that this doesn’t happen to me much and I receive lovely emails off wonderful people. But, anyway, you get the idea.
- The above point is also the same from the photographers side. Don't even go there if the photographer replies to your email "hi. £300. When do you want to book?". I'm just being silly now, surely.
- Skype / meet / call your photographer. Find out everything about the packages and what you will get. Ask any questions you want, even if you think it's stupid. Decide whether you like them as a person and if you could imagine them being the photographer on the most important day of your life. Usually it works if you are similar in a way or have the same sense of humour. Laughter is the best way to anyone's heart, romantic or otherwise!
- Make sure you read the contract before going ahead and booking so you are all on the same page. If the photographer doesn't have a contract - don't book them.
- If you like two photographers equally as people and like their work the same then it will obviously come down to price….but if you feel more comfortable with one over the other by even 1% - pick that one!
- Decide and go for it!
If you do all of the above I can guarantee you will make the right decision, end up with images you’re proud of and probably a new friend.
A little tip - don't leave booking your photographer to the last minute. We book up very fast and if you have your heart set on someone you will end up disappointed if you don't contact them well in advance.
So happy booking! If you are reading this being in the position of looking for a photographer I have either petrified you or excited you. If excited you, get in touch! If petrified, this is still a good thing and I and wish you all the best finding someone who is perfect for you and your big day :)
Find out what previous couples have said about me by clicking here.
Browse my wedding gallery by clicking here.