You’ve spent your entire life dreaming about your perfect day. The dress is stunning, your shoes are perfect, your hairstyle is elegant, and the music will set the stage for a night to remember. You just need one thing to complete the package—the perfect photographer to capture every detail of the momentous occasion.
So how do you go about finding the right photography business to hire for your big day?
COME TO TERMS WITH YOUR BUDGET
Often times when people hear the word budget, they think they have to go cheap. That is far from the case. But, in any type of planning, you have to set a budget. If you spend too much on the photographer, something else is going to have to give.
So, before you even start shopping for the right photographer for your wedding, make sure whoever is footing the bill for the big day gives you a price range.
If you are the one paying, make sure you sit down with your fiancé and figure out what you can afford. You don’t need to start off your marriage fighting about money—there will be plenty of time for that after the wedding.
Now that you have a clear budget in place, it’s time to get on the phone or get online and start exploring different photographers.
Read their TripAdvisor reviews and their Facebook reviews. See what others have to say. When you've found one that you think can suit your needs, reach out. Ask for a price list and ask if they are available on your date.
If you can reach out to about 10-15 different photographers, the odds of finding one to meet your needs on your big day are pretty good. Keep in mind, most wedding photographers—especially the talented ones—book out a year in advance. So, you can’t procrastinate hiring the one you want.
You don’t just want to Google “photographers near me” and start blasting emails from their contact pages. Take your time and look at the portfolios they have online.
Do you like the filters they are applying? Do you like their styles, their poses?
Don’t just assume that because they are available that they are the right one for you. The reason they are not booked might be because they are not good. Do your homework first.
When you get a response after you reach out, be prepared to share what you want to be done.
Give the photographer the dates, the time, and directions to the venue. Tell him of any parking issues or GPS inaccuracies.
Describe your venue and how you envision your pictures looking. Perhaps you want lots of nature shots, make that known. If you plan on having small children or pets in pictures, tell the photographer, so he/she is prepared.
HAVE A CLEAR VISION
Take some time and explore different wedding pictures so that you can share your vision with your photographer. Pinterest is a great place to start.
You'll find that people have created some special shot to commemorate a loved one.
Save the links of different wedding photographs that you like so you can make what you are looking for clear to your photographer.
If you have a special moment you want to be captured with a particular filter, share your idea. The more visual examples you can share, the better.
NOW, TURN OFF PINTEREST
After you’ve come shared your ideas with your photographers, turn off Pinterest. It’s really easy to go down that black hole. It will consume you, and you will become Bridezilla to your photographer.
Figure out what you want, send it off to your photographer, and move on to the next thing on your list that needs to be planned.
You have to remember that your photographer is an expert, so you have to trust the expertise he/she will bring to your big day.
REQUEST A CONTRACT
Anytime you do business with someone, demand a contract. It doesn't matter if it is something as simple as a small home repair or something as important as your wedding. An agreement not only protects you; it protects your photographer as well.
Expect to pay a small down payment to secure your date, and then develop a payment plan so that you will make the final payment on the big day. Make your expectations evident in the contract.
How many hours of shooting do you expect? What will the final collection entail? How long will it take to get the proofs back?
Sadly, there are photographers out there that think only in dollar signs. A clear cut, black and white contract will help you deter any photographers who are not personally invested you and capturing your big day on film.
One thing that you don’t want to skimp on when it comes to planning your wedding is the photographer. There are very few opportunities to seize the perfect moment, and you need a skilled photographer to do so. So, take some time, follow our tips, and you will find the ideal match to capture your wedding day bliss.
Photography: George Kossieris