The world of wedding photography is full of thousands of photographers. It can be a really difficult choice for couples to find a photographer that suits their big day. In the age of social media, you can find anything from a family member who just bought their first camera all the way to a seasoned professional photographer with hundreds of weddings under their belt. You can find low prices, high prices, good photos and bad. The decision ultimately comes down to making sure you’re getting what you want out of your wedding photographer, but you won’t want to regret your decision 10 years from now. Here are a few things you should look out for when finding your wedding photographer.
Has an Official Business with Contracts and Insurance
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life! Unless you really don’t care about getting good photos from your wedding day, you’ll want to make sure you hire a professional. You can find professional photographers in a variety of price ranges, but be sure that they are an official business and that they have business insurance. When you work with a business, they have a reputation to uphold if they want to continue to make money at their craft. A good photography business will have contracts or agreements in place when it comes to weddings that outline the exchange of goods for their services. This protects you as the customer as well as them. In the agreement it should outline exactly what you will receive from the photographer as well as what you will give them in return, usually money. A photography business should also have insurance, on the chance that they are unable to provide you what you were promised, or someone gets hurt, their insurance will provide a safety net in case you decided to take them to court over it.
If you hire a friend, relative, or an amateur photographer, they won’t likely have these things in place and you’ll run the risk of something going horribly wrong and having no option to re-do your photos or even be compensated for their mistakes.
Offers Free Consultations
For my wedding business, consultations are an absolute must. I try to have either an in person or over the phone consultation with all of my prospective wedding clients. This gives them the ability to get to know me a little bit before they decide to book, and allows me to collect more information about their wedding. At the end of the consultation, I don't pressure them into making a decision or putting money down, I give them time to think things over and decide if I'm the right choice for them. If your potential photographer doesn’t suggest or offer a consultation, I would highly suggest you ask about setting one up. Get to know your photographer before you agree to anything with them. That way if you don’t mesh well with them after a conversation you won’t be tied into a wedding agreement.
Is Easily Accessible and Responsive
A wedding photographer should be attentive to their clients. Especially if a deposit has been placed and an agreement signed. Obviously, yes, photographers do have lives and other clients, but if you try to contact your photographer and don’t hear back from them within a day, something’s fishy. Even if they’re super busy, it doesn’t take very long to respond with a message that says ‘Hi! I’m sorry, I’m super busy the next couple of days. I will get back with you as soon as I can.’ Even a little message like that will let you know they know you are a priority and will get back to you ASAP. Keep an eye out for delayed or forgotten responses prior to booking your photographer. These can be tell tale signs for other things like tardiness, lack of interest, and potential unprofessionalism.
Takes Scheduling Seriously
Scheduling should be a priority from the get go. Your photographer should be on top of dates and times. After you book with a photographer, they should be on top of setting up dates and times for things like engagement sessions, additional meetings, and also the wedding day schedule. As a photographer who has shot many weddings as a second shooter, let me tell you, wedding day schedules make everything easier for the bride and groom, bridal party, family, and photographer. When I meet with my wedding clients for a second time, I always plan out the whole day with them from start to finish. Starting from where I meet them in the morning to the last photo. I make sure to plan out each photo the bride and groom want to make sure we get during their wedding ceremony, during their bridal party photos, their family photos, and during their reception. I make a visual map of the whole day, that way the bride and groom know who needs to be where and when and I know what photos we need to cover.
I’ve photographed weddings with photographers who go into the wedding day without a set game plan, and it can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved. The schedule is my playbook for the whole day, and I swear by them.
If you’re going to be meeting with a photographer and want to make sure you have a schedule for the day, be sure to download my Wedding Day Schedule and fill it out for them. It will help give you peace of mind going into your wedding day!