Oh yes, here we go again. Another article telling you what questions to ask when you interview prospective wedding photographers…. boooooooor-ring!
Nope, I’m not going to tell you what you should be asking, there’s already about 8000 articles out there to tell you do that (and some have some good advice, and others, not so much). I’m also not going to tell you check to see if they have insurance (although the former insurance analyst in me still thinks this is super important, but I digress) and I’m not going to tell you to ask to see business permits, because all that means is someone forked over some money to the City and voila!… they have a piece of paper. Nope, not going to tell you that at all. I want to help with the actual process.
Here is what I will tell you. Look at lots of websites, as many as you can! Doesn’t even have to be photographers from your area. This is the fun part! You can do this at your own leisure, look at 10, 20, 50, 500 sites, however many you want and find inspiration too! While you are looking, make a list of what you like and don’t like and that’s going to help you narrow down what is you want from your wedding photos. Once you know what you like and don’t like, then look for wedding photographers that are in your area or who will travel to you for your wedding.
Try to narrow it down to 10 websites for photographers that you really like the look of their work. A photographer’s website really does show you the best of their work and what you can expect from them stylistically. Once you’ve found 10 photographers, contact them and find out if they fit your budget. If they are out of the budget by a lot, cross them off the list. If they are a little out of budget, don’t be so quick to say goodbye. If you love what they do, it might be possible to make a little more wiggle room in the budget.
Now, once you’ve got our list of photographers whose work you love, and now that you have an idea of pricing and whether or not you can realistically have your top picks photograph your wedding, make appointments with the 3-4 of your absolute favourites and meet with them.
Meeting 10 different photographers really isn’t helpful because it gets confusing and you’ll have a hard time remembering who said what and how you felt about them. It’s just too much. It also takes a lot of time to interview 10+ people. Wedding planning is hard enough, so give yourself a break and make it easier by meeting with fewer photographers! If your top picks don’t work out, then you can always go back to the list and start the process again.
By the time you get to the meeting, it’s all about personality and whether or not you mesh with the photographer(s). You’ve seen the websites, so you know you like their work. You’ve got an idea of pricing and whether or not you can afford them, so the meeting really should just be the time where you get to know your prospective photographers a little better as people to see if you have the right personality fit with you. I don’t think I can stress enough how important this is. Some people you just aren’t going to like, and that’s ok. Some people you are going to love and it will feel comfortable and I think that’s when you’ve found the winner. When you find the right one, you will know! Then it’s just a matter of the formalities of retainer, contract, etc. and you can cross something else of the list and feel a little relief knowing that you’ve tackled one of the most important parts of planning your wedding!
Written by Elizabeth van der Bij of ENV Photography (who may or may not be the right photographer for you, you’ll have to meet her first to know!)