Now that I’ve told you how to choose a photographer, I’m going to boss you around some more and tell you how NOT to choose a photographer.
Please keep in mind that this advice is for those who have decided that photography is one of the most important parts of their wedding. Something they want to choose carefully and invest in.
Price. The first thing you should know is that price is not an indicator of skill. Yes, for those just starting out, there is a need to build a portfolio and for those hiring you, that comes with a certain amount of risk. I shot my first wedding as the primary for a very very low price.
Weddings are expensive; hell, life is expensive. And everyone has a budget. And that’s perfectly fine. I’m simply stating that price should not be one of the deciding factors in choosing the person you want to photograph your wedding.
The price a photographer charges isn’t just some arbitrary number that sounds attractive. This is a job, just like you have. We work 8 hour days, if not more. We spend time thinking about who our clients are, what they need, and what they want. We figure out how to market to those clients, and we put time and care into taking care of you. You’re entrusting us with one of the most important days of your life. My goal is to make sure my brides enjoy the day, without worrying about logistics, or time constraints, and to allow themselves to experience the emotion of the day.
We also pay taxes (some of us), we do our own bookkeeping, we do our own marketing, we’re our own tech support and customer service. We have contracts to protect you, we have business, equipment and liability insurance. We take this seriously. (Seriously, I’ve been asked, “So, do you take this seriously?” Nah guy) We know what you’re trusting us with, and consider that nothing less than an honor. Seriously. Every day I am amazed that all of you put these huge moments in my hands and trust me with them.
Family/friends. Just. be. careful. Yes, being friends with people has gotten me a lot of work. But you deserve to have this day captured exactly how you want, no exceptions, no excuses. Your buddy that’s learning how to use a camera might not be the best person rely on to photograph a day you’re expecting to go smoothly. Like i mentioned in Choosing your photographer, your photographer should be able to handle photographing in different conditions. Just. be. careful.
Venue recommendation. So. many. vendors. So many things to book. You need as much help as you can get right? Right. So getting recommendations from your vendors who are well-connected just makes sense. But sometimes, your venue has a list of preferred vendors, and other vendors pay to be a part of this list (because venues are oftentimes the first thing booked). Or there is some kind of benefit the venue is getting from the photographer to refer work to them.
………….so i suppose the point is to be careful. And do your homework. That applies to choosing all your vendors. Do your research. Find out what quality is, and find out what your individual standards are. Find those who fit those standards and with photography, choose work that speaks to you.
Of course this advice is all subjective; but if you use these guidelines to pick your photographer and are sorely disappointed, drinks are on me.