It’s time to book your wedding photographer! But how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? I might be biased, but I truly believe that good photography will be one of the absolute most important parts of your wedding, and choosing the right photographer is crucial in ensuring a great experience. Feeling the pressure? Don’t worry. I’ll help you out.
The steps you’ll take when hiring your photographer are actually very basic. You’ll research photographers, reach out and meet with your favourites, and make your final decision. Altogether the process is only 5 steps and I’ve written out the topics you’ll need to address throughout your search. (I’ve also put together a worksheet you can use to interview and rank each company, and ultimately choose your perfect photographer. Click here to skip ahead and download the worksheet–it’s free!)
Step 1: Research Photographers
While you’re searching for your wedding photographer watch for the following qualities. You should be conscious of all of these things throughout the entire booking process, especially with regards to #2 and #4.
- A photography style you love.
- Communication skills and flexibility.
Pay close attention to how she communicates with you. Does she respond to emails quickly and consistently? Does she answer all your questions? Does she seem nice? If not, you might want to look elsewhere.
- Positive reviews with details about personability before and after the wedding.
- Professionalism and experience.
Step 2: Send Your First Email
I know you want to get all of your questions out there and answered right off the hop, but don’t get ahead of yourself. There are only 2 questions you need to ask in your first email. Here they are:
- Are you available for our wedding date?
No? Abandon ship!
- Will you meet with us to discuss our plans?
No? Not even a phone call? Move on. You should absolutely speak with your photographer before you book her.
Step 3: Have Your First Consultation
There are a few questions you have to ask in your first consultation. The answers to these questions will give you real, useful information you can use to compare different companies.
- Who will you bring with you and what will they do?
Your photographer might bring one, two, or three other people with her. You should have a clear idea of who they are and what they will do, especially if you’re having a small ceremony and want to minimize extra bodies.
- Have you worked at our venue before? If not will you go there to get a feel for it?
A great photographer is prepared for everything, but it’s certainly comforting to know that she is familiar with her surroundings. If she says, “No,” it might not be a deal breaker, but be absolutely sure you are confident in her ability.
- What package do you recommend for us and what does it include?
Always discuss the options. If her standard packages don’t meet your needs she might be able to build a custom package or help you prioritize time, services, or products to fit your budget.
- Can we make changes to our package?
No? This is not a deal breaker, but you better be sure that your package is exactly what you want!
- Do you have testimonials we can read?
No? Proceed with caution. This photographer has either made a poor impression on previous couples or is new to the wedding photography world.
Step 4: Read The Contract
Do not book a photographer (or any vendor, for that matter) without a written contract. After your first consultation ask to read her standard contract. If you do not find answers to these questions, ask them!
- Do you charge for travel? How much?
- How much is our retainer and when is our final payment due?
- What happens if we cancel? What is your refund policy?
- What will you charge if we need you to stay longer than expected?
- What is your policy on guest photographers?
- When will our proofs be ready?
- How do we order our photos?
- How much editing is included in our package?
- When will our photos be delivered?
Step 5: Make the Final Decision
If you answer yes to all of these questions, you’ve found yourself a winner! Book her before it’s too late.
- Do I jell with this photographer?
No? Start over! You should not enter into a professional relationship with a someone you do not like!
- Do I like her communication style?
No? Proceed with extreme caution! Poor communication skills could result in extreme post-wedding stress.
- Do her packages fit my wish list and budget?
No? Do you love everything else about her? How important are those wish list items? If you are happy sacrificing some things for her quality of work and bubbly personality she might be the photographer for you.
- Do I like her photos?
No? Well we already went over this in Step 1, so I hope the answer is yes!
- Do I feel confident in her ability to provide the services I’m looking for?
No? Retreat! You should go into this confident and excited!
Now that you have all the information all you have to do is get out and start searching for your photographer! If you’ve been following anyone on Facebook or have a friend whose wedding photos you absolutely love that might be a good place to start. Get the worksheet to help keep everything organized and rank your favourite photographers. And good luck! Let me know if I can help at all.