Follow your gut instinct. Everyone will give you their opinion if you are willing to lend an ear but when all is said and done it is your wedding and you have a unique set of values and preferences. Finding a photographer shouldn’t be a complicated and taxing mission. You should choose a person and a style that you instinctively like and feel comfortable with.
Use the internet… wisely. Maybe I’m a bit old school but when I got married most photographers didn’t have good websites. I went to meet my photographer and viewed her portfolio. I could only meet a few photographers and formed a very limited opinion. I could not see the bigger picture and directly compare one photographer’s work to another’s. These days you can of course review a dozen portfolios in about 5 minutes. So this is a very powerful tool but it is also extremely easy to get lost in a sea of web addresses that end up meaning nothing. (Especially if you are doing your research late at night before going to sleep). Which brings me to my next tip.
Get organised. The wealth of information at your fingertips can be overwhelming so make sure you save your favourites. Since you’re already on the web it makes sense to create a bookmark folder for wedding resources. Save any photographers that have made an impression on you in there. You can review them with your partner at a later time and even arrange them by order of preference. There are many tools to help organising your tasks and todo's. I used the built in reminder and calendar and here are some tips on how to make the most of them.
Write down the key questions you’d like answered, anything from fees, what you actually get after the wedding (prints, digital files, albums) and how long it would take. It’s better to have too many questions than too few and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask anything that’s on your mind. Remember that most photographers should be happy to get your call, those that aren’t might not be right for you.
Call your favourite photographers. You can email to arrange a time for the call or simply ask if it is a good time to talk. Get your questions answered and hopefully you’ll also get a general impression of the person and what it would be like working with them.
It is not rocket science. I recently read somewhere that other than choosing your spouse it is the most important choice you’ll make in the wedding! The comparison made me laugh and I beg to differ. Yes it is a significant decision but you have the tools to make it an informed one. If you take your time and research you would usually not be deciding between a good photographer and a bad one, but tipping the scales between two capable photographers.
Consider your budget. From the photographers you have spoken to, list the ones that fit your budget. Hopefully there are a few. If there are none then consider other photographers and call them. If you find that all the photographers you like are above your set budget it might be worth adjusting it, but it’s also possible that you will find someone at the price you intended if you keep looking.
Meet your (potential) photographer. Since this is a person who will be with you on your wedding day you should definitely try and meet beforehand. It’s a good way for you all to become familiar and break the ice. It is infinitely better than meeting a complete stranger on your big day. To stay focused I would recommend meeting no more than one or two photographers and discussing your thoughts and impressions with your partner afterwards. If you’ve met someone you’re happy with you should probably stop looking.
Seal the deal. Do your final checks, exchange any last emails with any questions and requests that you might have and then confirm the date. This would usually require a deposit and a contract, a good thing for both sides as it means you are both committed to the date.
You can tick “photographer” off your to-do list. Well done! Try to spend some quality time with your partner when you can so the wedding preparations don’t take over your life. Remember to speak or email your photographer a month or two before the wedding and update them with any new developments.
I hope these ideas have been useful to you. You can leave me some feedback or ask any questions on [email protected]
Have a beautiful wedding!
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