"How much do you charge for...?"
Eek! This question kills me; however, it is often one of the first questions I get asked when people are looking for a wedding photographer. Read on to hear why this can be one of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing their wedding photographer, as well as some other things to avoid when out there searching for someone to capture your big day.
- Choosing your photographer solely based on cost. Of course, setting a budget for photography and sticking to it is important, but it's critical to not base your decision on whom to hire solely on cost alone. There is always someone out there who is willing do it for less, but ask yourself: do I really want the cheapest person I can find to shoot my wedding? Will they be the person who really brings the most value to my day? Do they have the same experience, knowledge, equipment, technical and interpersonal skills as someone who may charge more for their services? Do I want someone who treats my wedding day as their most important job, or someone who is just looking to make some quick cash? Consider that someone who charges more may do so because they invest more in their business in order to bring you a better product and experience. This may be in the form of continuing education and skill development, equipment maintenance and replacement, better product services such as prints and albums, insurance and permits, and other critical needs to provide optimal photography services to their clients. Try to keep these points in mind when comparing costs between different photographers. Most photographers are willing to be flexible with payment options, which may help relieve some of the cost burden associated with choosing higher end photography services.
- Not asking for full galleries when considering photographers. If you want to really get an idea of the style of the wedding photographer you are considering, ask them to send you some full galleries of past weddings they've shot. Anyone can post gorgeous individual photos from styled shoots with posed models, but let's face it: most of us AREN'T models, we are real people and we need photographers who can beautifully and artfully capture an entire wedding event. Many people find that when they see entire galleries from a photographer, that particular style may not translate well to wedding photography, or the style of that photographer may not fit the vision of your big day. As a bonus, this also helps verify that the photographer you are hiring actually does have some wedding experience under their belt. Smart couples ask their potential photographers for 1-3 sample galleries.
- Asking a photographer to change their artistic shooting or editing style. Hear me out on this one. It's okay to have a vision for your day and ask for what you want specifically, and there is some wiggle room with editing to a certain specification. However; each photographer has their own artistic style and mood, such as "bright and airy", "moody" (moody girl for life here!), rich tones, romantic, silly, etc. Hiring a photographer who shoots in a bright and airy style and asking for moody, dramatic photos will end up in disappointment for both of you. Chances are they may have perfected their individual style. They may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with shooting or editing in a completely different style, and the quality of your photos may suffer for it. It's similar to asking an artist who paints in watercolor to paint with oil paints. Totally different. There are tons of talented photographers out there, so if the ones you've chatted with so far don't match your vision, keep looking! There is someone out there whose artistic style will match what you want for your day, and it's best to be sure everyone is on the same page from the beginning.
- Choosing a photographer who you don't really connect with. While we don't expect to become your best friends (but heck yes if we do!), it is important to choose a photographer who you feel comfortable and connected to. When we sign on to be your wedding photographer, we are signing on to be with you through the planning process which is sometimes a year or more, including timeline finalization, recommendations, tips and sometimes just being there to hype you up and relieve your nerves! Indeed, helping you plan your day is a big part of our jobs! Expect multiple conversations with your photographer in the months leading up to your wedding. In addition to this, remember that we'll be up close and personal on one of the most important days of you life, capturing some deeply intimate moments. For this reason, it's critical to hire someone you generally like and feel comfortable asking questions to. Ask yourself if the person you're considering hiring is someone you'd be comfortable with being there as your mom zips you into your wedding dress, or your future husband sees you for the first time. If the answer is no, keep looking!
- Asking your aunt or your bestie to shoot your big day. Chances are, you probably know someone with a digital camera, and you might even have a best friend who is into photography. Keep in mind that hiring friends or family can become pretty uncomfortable, especially if you have specific needs or wants for your day. You may feel like they are doing you a favor and may be less inclined to speak up if something isn't right. This can place strains on these relationships and may add to your wedding day stress, instead of relieving it. Not to mention, anyone you hire to shoot your wedding means that they won't be able to experience the fun of it as a guest. They'll spend the day shooting instead, which requires a lot of planning, physical labor and quick thinking. For these reasons, its best to leave this job up to a wedding photographer.