Remember when I asked you if you’d like to start seeing some wedding posts here on GG? (After all, wedding season IS in full swing!)
Well–you said yes! (I’m so punny.)
But seeing as I myself am not married, nor engaged, I turned to some of my most talented friends in the wedding industry to help me with some wedding related content for you guys.
First up? (You obviously saw this coming) One of my sweetest friends and an incredibly stunning photographer, Cassandra. (You’ve seen her a lot around here!)
With several of my best friends being recently engaged, it came to my attention that most new brides do not know what they should look for when it comes to a wedding photographer. They often just think of one word: “cheapest.” (BIG mistake!)
Photography, in my opinion, is the most important thing when it comes to your big day.
Did you know there’s actually a TON of detail that should go into selecting the right photographer?
Picking the wrong person will sacrifice those memories of your perfect day forever, so listen up and take notes–I’m handing it off to Cassandra to spill the top 5 things you should consider when choosing your wedding photographer, and how to make the process as smooth as possible!
1. Go with your gut.
When narrowing down websites (there are SO MANY!) go with your gut instinct when filtering which photographers you’d like to choose. Don’t look too much into the details yet (pricing, the about section, etc) Instead, strictly base your next move off of this question: “Do I have actual feelings and emotions when I see their images?” If the answer is yes, collect that website and put it in your LOVE file. If your answer is something like, “They’re okay… I mean, its not bad.” … move on.
Side note: Please don’t feel pressure to hire a family friend or family member who “owns a camera and would like to try it out” If that’s your jam and it makes you feel comfortable, GO for it. Absolutely! But if your photos are truly important to you, simply tell them you appreciate the gesture so much, but that you already have some photographers in mind. This also goes for referrals. If your sister used “x” and is pushing you to use them, too, but say their style just isn’t your cup of tea? Same thing. Show appreciation for trying to help and streamline the planning process, but you’ve got a specific style in mind, and you want to seek it out.
2. Know your budget, but know what good photography costs.
One of the biggest issues that I find with wedding photography and inquiries is the cost. Before you start looking for a photographer, understand what you want, and then decide how much your photographs mean to you. If you want great quality photographers paired with a really lovely experience- it’s going to cost you more (think $4k-$8k depending on the collections and add-ons) If you don’t care all that much about your photographer (totally fine! Different strokes for different folks!) then I recommend not trying to negotiate with said $4k-$8k photographers. They’re priced there for a reason (think: supply and demand and experience) If you’re on a strict budget, look for larger photographer companies that outsource professional photographers on the day of your wedding. You may not know who is shooting your wedding that day, and the experience won’t be personal, but you’ll have someone there to document your day in full at a lower cost. Or this may be a good time to call on that family friend / family member.
3. Dig in deep.
Now that you’ve got your LOVE file of photographers that made you feel alllll the feelings, and you know what you want to spend, now’s the time to dig deep. If they have a blog, this is the best way to see if you think you’d vibe. Spend a little time reading their personal posts and finding out their story. Why does this matter? Because you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person. From the time you book, email correspondence will be frequent (if you have a good photographer, they will offer to help with timelines, vendor recommendations, etc) Not to mention your 8-10 hour coverage on your wedding day, your photographer is your wing woman! You HAVE to like him/her. And you’ve got to trust them. Once you’ve stalked their blog, looked at their facebook and read some reviews and now know their guilty pleasures and the name of their dog, filter the ones that you want to contact in your TO CONTACT file. Hopefully you’ve narrowed down the list and you’re feeling like you’ve got a handful of potential best friends – errr—photographers 😉
4. First impressions matter on your end, too.
When you contact your top photographers, remember that we’re feeling you out as well. While this is our job and yes, we need to put dinner on the table and pay our rent/mortgage, we’re also aware that we’ll be spending a lot of time with you, too, and doing all we can to make you a happy customer. So put your best foot forward, and if you’re having a bad day, maybe wait until you’ve cooled off to send out your inquiries. You would be baffled if you knew how many times I received grumpy emails in my inbox, or people who lack email etiquette. And guess what? I hardly ever take the bait. Just like any job interview, whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, the exchange is 50/50. Vibes are being exchanged and we’re making decisions about one another before we’ve even met. So be your best self, and remember that this part of your planning is meant to be FUN.
5. No such thing as too many details
Now, while we certainly don’t want an email that’s 25,000 words – do be sure to include all the necessary information to streamline and speed up the meet & greet process and avoid the unnecessary back and forth before you can even get your hands on their pricing guide. Include things like…
- Your wedding date,
- Your venue and location (city/state)
- Your bridal party count (photographers love knowing how many people they’ll have on deck the day of)
- Mention if someone referred you! We love hearing who is spreading our name around in good graces!
- Tell us all the mushy details. Don’t forget to share who your honey is! His/her name, how you met, the proposal story… we live for that stuff, as it gives us a great insight into your relationship and what we may have the honor of documenting.
– Sidenote: Don’t send an email just asking for a phone consultation. That feels like you just asked us to come home with you without buying us dinner first! I highly encourage you to follow the protocol of giving us the necessary information, and once there has been some correspondence, request a phone call to get to know each other a little better. Or do one better and meet for a coffee!
Okay, so those are my top 5 tips! I hope they help those of you who are in the midst of the planning process, or will be in the near future! Photographers are free spirits who want to create off of emotion. Remember that, trust that, and I promise you, you’ll have the most intimate, genuine images to cherish for the rest of your lives.
Have more questions for Cassandra? Pop on over to her website, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
What other wedding related content would you like to see on GG?
All photos Cassandra Eldridge