I’ll be the first to say that there are so many resources for you newly engaged who are planning weddings. I remember being completely overwhelmed when starting out and although I was actually IN the industry, it still felt like a foreign process to be planning my own wedding! Planning your wedding isn’t something you get practice for unless you studied event planning or had some epic birthday parties. So although I know there are pleanty of posts about this, the more the merrier, right? You never know where you’re going to pick up the tips that you’ll “always remember.”
So where do you start… You’re newly engaged, you’ve chosen your date and venues… now it’s time to find and hire your photographer!
Google vs. Referral
There are so many ways to discover that photographer who’s images move you. Bridal magazines, references from friends, references from other photographers, wedding blogs, Facebook, or even Google! There is no “right” source, but as a photographer, my desire is not simply or even necessarily that I’m available and in your budget. When you page through your wedding album 50 years down the line, you don’t want your reaction to be, “I’m so glad these photos fit our budget!” I want you to say – I STILL LOVE OUR WEDDING PHOTOS! So however you find the photographers you choose to inquire with, my ONE piece of advice is that you LOVE their work and their philosophy. Spend some time on their website. Don’t just click right on “contact me” for pricing and availability. Make sure you can picture yourself and your wedding in their style of photography. Make sure you connect on some level with their “about me” section. It’s not the most important thing if you both love Starbucks, but you’re spending your wedding day with this person! You need to know you can stand them!
When I receive an inquiry, I’m fully aware that you may have inquired with other photographers. In fact, you probably have inquired with some of my
competitors friends. Even so, I love to know that you took some time to check out my work or my blog. I love to know how or why you connected with me. I get a lot of emails who just ask if I’m available and what my prices are. I respond to those emails the same way I do to others. Wait. No, I don’t! If you spend time telling me about your wedding day, why you’re excited to marry your fiance, how you met, and the fact that you ALSO love Charleston, SC, I’m going to really have a connection with you and have a genuine excitement about your wedding. There is nothing wrong AT ALL about just wanted the information, but at some point, our interactions will need to get more personal if we’re going to work well together – why not start with the initial inquiry!
Evaluating the Information
As a bride, you have to think hard about what you want out of your wedding photography. When you receive the investment information, read all of it, not just the pricing. There is often answers to questions you may have. Although my ideal client is someone who really values photography and considers both the service and the product, I shoot plenty of weddings where all they want are their digital images. How do you know what you should want? I’ve had that question before… if it were ME, I’d want: an engagement session, a second shooter, an album, the digital files, and some sort of large print I can hang immediately! But you have to decide for yourself, and if you need help, just ask! Also, ask to see a contract so you know the general terms.
Committing to a Photographer
Once you’ve made the decision to commit to a photographer, a few things need to happen. Typically, you need to sign a contract AND submit a deposit to secure the date with your photographer, so let them know you want to book them and what services and products you want written into your contract! And from there, a congratulations is in order, because you just booked your wedding photographer!