Figuring out how to hire a wedding photographer can be a daunting task once you start diving into wedding planning. Looking closely at a few local photographers websites you think “man, they all look the same.” So, how do you dig deeper to find out if this photographer is the perfect fit for you? After all, you are on the hunt for the person responsible for telling your love story right? This isn’t a job for just anybody with a camera. Believe me when I say it’s worth the time and energy to find your perfect fit. I desperately wish I had this advise when I started planning my wedding 17 years ago. Hold the horses though, this sounds like a lot of work right? What if I told you hiring a wedding photographer is much easier to do than you think?
While I can’t promise you that your wedding planning won’t have a single stressful moment…I CAN give you some guidance on what to look out for when hiring a wedding photographer. What you are about to embark on is not another, ‘Questions to ask during the photography interview’ that is so commonly seen all over the internet. All couples are unique and therefore your wedding photographer interview shouldn’t sound like everyone else’s. I’m here today to help you think through the process. To go in with a game plan to get the most out of your time together. I’m here to encourage you to think about what you really want and what you really can afford. Trust me, you don’t want to do what I did nearly 16 years ago.
I think it’s safe to say we all know someone who’s gotten married, or know someone who knows does. They are the perfect people to ask about their experiences with wedding vendors. They can tell you what they loved and didn’t love when working with their creative team. Sit back and enjoy the stories…I can guarantee you’ll hear something you never would have thought about! The other fantastic question to ask your friends, family, co-worker, other wedding vendors…(you get the idea) is what would they do different? Let their life lesson help guide you on what’s best for you.
Now you have an official starting point. Hooray! A list of recommendations that can be a huge time saver…and stress reducer. As I’m sure with many cities, Tampa, Florida is flooded with wedding vendors. Some are amazing, crazy talented professionals that truly love their craft and take great care of their clients. Others are… well, they are not so amazing, crazy talented professionals that truly love their craft and don’t take great care of their clients. Keep in mind there’s much more to being a photographer than the ability to take pretty photos.
There is so much more to selecting a photographer than whether you like their portfolio or not. Your photographer is one of very few vendors that is literally by your side….ALL DAY LONG. When you’re checking out your recommended websites, you should not only get a good feel for the style photography they produce by checking out their portfolio and blogs. It should be apparent that other couples have had a good experience working with this photographer. I also hope that you are able to get to know the photographer before ever making contact with them. It would be pretty cool to do most of your interview with the photographer just by their website don’t you think? Then, when you reach contact the photographer, it won’t feel like you’re calling a stranger. That’s a win, win for everyone!
You’re experience with each photographer begins the second you heard their name in the recommendations. Your next round of experienced happened when you visited their website. Your third experience happens when you inquire and the type of response you receive. Now that you’ve created the final list of photographers that you want to officially interview, let’s get prepared. Think about all of your experiences with each photographer and how they made you feel. Do you feel good about the communications you’ve received? Do you feel confident that this photographer will be invested in you as much as you are in them?
Experience is at it’s best when all parties involved give heart and effort to the end goal.
Oh, there it is. The money conversation, which can certainly be difficult to navigate. The photographer you’re interviewing should lay clear ground on their pricing and what you can expect when working with them. Most photographers will ask what your budget is and I promise it’s not so we can try to get every last penny out of you. It’s to have a good (and honest) understanding of where you are financially so we can make the appropriate recommendations for you. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, there are photographers out there that don’t really have any ethics or valuable services to provide and really do just want your money. Typically these companies are pretty easy to spot and don’t stick around long. Listen to your gut and if something seems off, it’s probably because something is.
Most photographers book between 8-12 months out and calendars can fill up pretty quickly. Once you know who you want to work with don’t delay in making it official! Then, you have one final step before closing out this task and moving forward with your planning. To the other photographers that have invested time in communicating with you, kindly let them know you have moved on with another photographer. It’s always appreciated!
There you have it my friends! Our guide to helping reduce the stress of wedding planning and help keep you on cloud 9 for as long as possible!
Hire a wedding planner! I know, I know…but really let’s think about this for a minute. It’s your wedding day. Sitting in your chair getting pampered to perfection, your bridesmaids are tending to you while they prepare themselves. All of a sudden, your mom comes running frantically into the room… ‘The cake lady just called, they are lost and I don’t know where they are. Also, the florist is running late and so is the priest.” What do you do? No matter how good you are at planning and organization, come the day of your wedding you should only be the Bride and Groom and not playing wedding coordinator. Your family and friends shouldn’t have to take on the responsibility either, but instead enjoy and celebrate you and the love of your life becoming one. Really…the planner can handle it and it will be worth every penny.