How to shop for the best wedding photographer – top ten tips
If you’ve recently become engaged the daunting task of finding the perfect wedding photographer for you is probably coming up fairly soon on your to-do list. How on earth do find that one person that is the best wedding photographer for your event?
Today I’m going to share my top ten tips for helping you wade through the thousands of photographers on the internet and find the one that is perfect for you.
1. Collect images that reflect your sense of style – use local wedding magazines, google, personal referrals and vendor lists.
All wedding magazines/blogs these days feature real weddings. Start browsing and collect an assortment of favorite images. They don’t have to have the same colors or theme you are planning on. Pick images you could handle looking at on a daily basis if you had to. Every photo that you pull out will most likely give credit to the photographer somewhere on the page or article. Write the photographer’s name on each photo for easy reference. A great way to organize online images is by using PINTEREST and noting the photographer and their website on each one as you pin it.
2. Identify the top 5 “favorites” noted in step one above.
You may have a myriad of names noted on your favorite photos. Sift through your collection and identify your top 5 favorite photographers.
3. Look up each of your top 5 favorite photographer’s websites.
Go through the websites. Are the images consistent in style & exposure? Are colors reproduced in a way the pleases you? Are you able to see a full wedding? Now even if the wedding doesn’t look like the wedding you are planning, is the photography solid? Does it depict the elements of the day in a way that would please you? Rank your top 5 selections based on the images contained within their respective websites. Don’t worry if the actual website itself isn’t fancy, as long as it is functional.
4. Read the Bios of each photographer.
Again, who’s Bio to you click with? They don’t have to describe themselves to be exactly like you… but are they at least similar to a good friend of yours in personality? Can you imagine spending a few days of your time with this person based on what you are reading? Rank the photographer Bios one through five.
5. Who ranks highest? We have NOT looked at price yet? Don’t worry, that part is coming. Based on steps 3 & 4, who are your clear favorites?
6. Email or call your top 5 to see if they are available for your date and if so set up a time to chat on the phone.
7. Phone Chat – don’t worry about knowing or asking anything in particular.
DO take good notes as to what the photographer asks you, your take on their personality and their professionalism. Do ask them to send you pricing or a custom quote.
8. Based on your phone chats. Pick your top 3 to set appointments with.
Don’t eliminate a photographer you really like based on price if you can help it unless they are extremely out of your budget. You never know what they will be willing to do for you if they feel you are a good match for them.
9. Meet with your top 3 photographers.
Does their personality match their online & phone personalities? Does their work compare to what you saw online? It should be at least equal if not better. Again, can you imagine spending a lot of time with this person?
Now, based on your meetings, phone calls and emails who is the best fit for you? Here is where pricing comes in, but don’t let a slight discrepancy steer you away. Pick the person who will do the best job for you. The person you trust the most to capture your day the way you imagine it. Pick the one who take the best images of your entire day, not just capture a few lucky images, but the story of the whole day.
I hope this exercise helps you. I would love some feedback both good and bad, weather you inquire with me or not. I truly want you to end up with the best collection of wedding images you can possibly get and am hopefully giving you the tool to achieve that. Once you have a stunning set of images, then albums, prints & “stuff” can easily be obtained. Trust me, you won’t care about all the bells and whistles included in a package if you don’t love the photos.