Which Photographer is for me?
Choosing a photographer can be a stressful and challenging task. How does one go about selecting wedding vendors?? You have your bridal binder ready, your wedding checklists printed out from The Knot & Wedding Wire. You have enough ideas on Pinterest boards and items in your Etsy shopping cart for 37 weddings. Endless bookmarks from Style Me Pretty and Wedding Chicks. Time to start making some decisions!
For most of our clients wedding photography is the most important thing on their list. The venue & food usually comes in a close 2nd. Often the venue is booked first, then the ball is rolling for putting together your dream team of wedding vendors. Quite often we are booked without a venue specified yet! 99% of photographers will travel to you, why not book them first? The earlier you reserve a vendor with a contract and deposit the more likely you are to put together a ridiculous list of pros. Sometimes couples get engaged and their wedding is on the fast track so they don’t have as much time, but if you have time what should you book first? I hope the answers are obvious. I have a good idea of what the wedding worksheets say too! Our biggest sad-faces come when we get inquiries for dates we have booked, especially from referrals and friends. You have to be fast!
There are soooo many photographers now, maybe you can wait until the last minute? Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco are not 1-stoplight towns, surely there are plenty to go around right? Some of the most valuable information we have learned about photography is from Bride Panels. Bride Panels are a sampling of brides who have already had their wedding and volunteer to share their experiences and input, typically to a gathering of wedding pros. Their words have been priceless to us!!! So what are married brides saying about photography?
1. Make a Shot List!
Our studio has shot over 500 weddings, so we have a pretty good idea of we are going to shoot. In fact we probably know more about what you want than you do!! So why in the world do we encourage shot lists? Shot lists are an amazing way to start to really visualize what’s important to you, what photos you want when you’re wedding is done. The day goes by sooooooo fast, ask any bride please! There’s not enough time to go to both the beach and downtown. Not enough time to take the bridal party to your high school for a quick game of flag football in between your ceremony & reception.
What family combinations are important to you? What wedding photos of your great great grandparents would you like to duplicate 100 years later? Nowadays couples are more likely to have what I will call a “Modern Family” =) Not unlike the show! Multiple set of parents and family members that might not mesh, what combinations are must haves?
In addition to a shot list I highly encourage making a Pinterest Board just for us (You can make these private finally!). Pinning to their Board lets us have a peek into their minds. Be mindful however, you want to avoid hiring a photographer to duplicate the work of another. A better practice is to hire them for their specialties, give them input and some of your favorites photos you have seen, and then go make magic together!
2. Trust your eyes!
No two photographers will have the exact same look. Some will look similar, but after looking over just a handful of images I am willing to bet you could tell them apart if tested. What do you love about a specific blog or site, you know… that one you keep going back to at work and on your lunch. Do the images pop? Can you feel emotion, like you were there? Sometimes taking a deep breath, slowing down a little and answering your own questions will give you an obvious answer.
3. You get what you pay for!
Shopping for a photographer is like so many other things in life, the product you receive is going to be a result of your investment. You’ve already read it elsewhere and heard it from your friends who got married… let’s all say it together: After the wedding is done, what will I have? Pictures! Now of course we live in a real world and not everyone can drop 5 digits on a photographer. Your task is to find a match of quality you love that fits your budget. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your first pick photographer and have a conversation about your wedding! You just may find yourself connecting! We find ourselves pliable when we meet absolutely perfect couples who are dead serious about photography and want to take the plunge with us.