Often I receive calls or emails from couples who need a last minute wedding photographer, because theirs has disappeared or canceled with no explanation. The following tips are based on what those couples tell me. I want to help you find a photographer who is committed to your wedding.
1. Make sure your photographer has a website, not just social media.
Maintaining a business website that isn’t free takes commitment and work. It’s easy to create a social media presence and post a bunch of pictures. It’s also easy to have a free website that you can set up and forget about.
2. Be cautious of high volume photographers.
Exhaustion can happen to anyone doing photography. It happens faster when you take multiple weddings in a weekend, cram all your weddings into the summer months, and are also working Monday-Friday. This is what many high volume photographers do. It’s very risky. Working that hard does take a toll on your body and your health.
You want a photographer who is able to give you their best on your wedding day. That means they think about their health when taking bookings, and know their working limits. Professional photographers I know usually say they are fully booked at 10-25 weddings per year, depending on if they shoot other things.
3. Avoid the “once in a while” or the “just for fun” photographer.
I’m going to be blunt here: Someone who rarely shoots weddings, or is only in it because they need something fun for the weekends, often has no problem backing out on you later. Photographers I know who have businesses (myself included) own a business because we enjoy it all the time. Running a business does take work, and professionals are committed to putting in the work.
4. Get it in writing.
When you purchase wedding photography, it’s a business transaction. A contract or client agreement, and formal invoice is part of this transaction. Your contract should contain details on cancelation terms for both you and your photographer. Your invoice should include what comes with your wedding package.
5. Don’t book by text or social media alone. Have a phone call.
Usually you can tell from a phone call how interested the photographer is in your wedding. Do they let you do all the talking? Do they encourage you to ask them questions? Are they willing to go over your personal details before talking about price?
A phone call to get your questions answered is a must when booking your wedding photographer. Use the phone call as an extra tool before you move forward with an in person meeting. This will help you stay organized and reduce the amount of time you spend running around to vendor meetings while wedding planning.
6. Have that engagement shoot!
If you have a chance to work with the photographer before the wedding, take it. Even if it’s just a mini shoot that lasts 30 minutes, the engagement shoot is like an extra interview to make sure you really love your photographer.
Congratulations on your engagement! Keep these tips in mind and go find an awesome photographer for your wedding.