Dear Newly Engaged Couple,
Congratulations on your engagement! Valentine’s Day (or some day recently) was that magical day when it happened. So of course, now it’s wedding planning time. There’s no shame in diving right in. (Pinterest traffic must skyrocket this week!) Picking a date, finding a venue, and nailing down the ever-growing list of details can be a lot to tackle. My advice: start with the big things first. The where and when are probably numbers 1 and 2. And in my opinion, booking a wedding photographer should be number 3!
To guarantee availability, the further ahead you book the better. Established pros can book a year or more in advance. I currently still have a few openings for 2017, but I’m getting inquiries for 2018 weddings now too. Booking a wedding photographer early has other advantages. Since I know I’m getting booked early in the process I have a wealth of information to help couples make timing decisions, find other vendors and I can be a sounding board for ideas. I can probably tick off a few other items from that aforementioned list.
So how do you choose just the right person?
Look at portfolios first. What photos make you gush? Photojournalistic? Trendy filters? Classic posing? What is the part of your day you’re most concerned with coming out perfectly and who does that best? When you contact a photographer ask to see a full wedding gallery to get a sense of what an entire collection looks like. I also like to send links to photos from the specific venue, or the right season so you can see how the light and landscape will look.
What’s your budget but more importantly why? If you read an article that gave you an average, that number accounts for celebrity photographers AND craigslist newbies…a pretty wide range. “Average” may not align with where wedding photography falls on your priority list. Decide how important your photos are and what risks you’re willing to take. Also, do they offer everything you’re looking for?
Is this person organized? Flexible? Prepared? Too quiet for you? Too bossy for you?
Here’s how I work:
Before my clients book I go over EVERYTHING with them. We talk about how, when and why we’ll communicate before the wedding. I talk about the flow of the day and scheduling options and how things shift. We talk about your priorities on the big day. We draft a wedding day schedule and group photo list. I talk about what you get and when you’ll get it after your wedding. I like to cover every question I’ve ever been asked so that there’s no surprises (no bad ones anyway!). I’m organized and I’m thorough.
“Being organized frees me to be creative”
From a phone conversation or meeting people get a sense of who I am. I’ve had inquiries that wanted to book me before talking but it’s important to me that we’ve at least had a phone conversation before any contracts are signed. I want you to ask questions! And I want to find out more about you. Meetings are awesome and are great even after a booking so that we can get comfortable with each other.
On the wedding day I want you to be at ease and comfortable. I want you to have fun and truly experience your wedding day. And I want you to not just look your best but look better than you ever knew you could. When I deliver your photos after (in a timely manner because I like to hit my deadlines!) I want you to see all of the above. Because you’re wedding day is going to go by so fast you won’t even know it. But when you see the photos, I want it all to come back to you.
Hopefully this will help you figure out how to make a decision when it comes to booking a wedding photographer!