I’D LIKE TO TELL YOU A QUICK STORY BEFORE WE DIVE INTO THE 5 MISTAKES
Natalie was newly engaged, deeply in love and beginning to plan her dream wedding when she came across a great looking photographer on Facebook. She really loved their photos, and they had affordable prices (finally!).
She sent the photographer a message asking about their availability and found that not only were they free to photograph her wedding, they were also super friendly and personable. They told her all she needed to do was send a deposit and she will have booked them for her wedding day.
Delighted that she had found such an easy going person to shoot her wedding, she sent the e-transfer, and checked off “hire a photographer” from her long list of things to do.
Fast forward to less than a month before Natalies wedding. The “photographer” had blocked her on all social sites, she was unable to find or contact them, and they had taken all the money in her photography budget, leaving her scrambling and unable to afford to hire a new photographer mere weeks before her big day.
Unfortunately, this is all based on a true story of a bride that I worked with, and it happens more often than you would think.
Thankfully I was available to help this particular bride and photograph her wedding, but not every bride in distress is so lucky.
I want to help YOU avoid this kind of a scenario with your wedding, so I put together a short list of 5 mistakes brides make when hiring a wedding photographer (and how to avoid them!) That can help you prevent ‘photographer regret’ … or worse!
Not meeting the photographer or doing enough research
When considering which photographer to hire,
always ask for a face to face meeting with
them – either in person or over video chat.
Just like you wouldn’t get engaged to someone you had only ever met through Facebook chat, you shouldn’t be hiring a photographer unless you have really gotten a chance to get to know them.
Have a short list of questions prepared for your
meeting such as
“What happens if you get sick or injured and can’t be at my wedding to photograph it?” “How many weddings do you shoot in a year?” “Can I see what a contract looks like?”
Another great thing to do is to meet with
multiple photographers before deciding.
Sitting down with 3 or 4 different professionals will give you a much better understanding as to how wedding photography works and which professional you want to have by your side guiding you through your special day.
Don’t be afraid to ask for references from previous brides and to spend a few minutes checking reviews on places like Google and Facebook.
Not viewing a full wedding gallery
Photographers are masters of showing only the very best shots on their website and Instagram. Always ask to see a start to finish gallery that includes all the different kinds of photos you are wanting to have captured – getting ready, ceremony, reception, family formal photos… not just the pretty shots of the couple in front of a nice background.
You want to look for and hire a photographer who has a consistent style throughout all the photos and can confidently and competently capture all parts of your day, including all the fast paced, stressful parts.
Hiring a family friend or amateur instead of a professional
My heart sank as I read the words …
“My dad has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.”
It had been less than a year since I had photographed this couples wedding.
I tearfully scrolled through the photos of the bride and her father – many of them ones I had captured just a few short months ago at the wedding.
All of a sudden those small, intimate moments that I had the honour to capture were priceless memories.
After all is said and done, the only thing you have left to remember your wedding day is your photos. Flowers die, cake is eaten, dresses start to mysteriously shrink, and friends and family pass away.
Having someone present who understands the intricacies of how weddings work and who is able to capture intimate moments that would otherwise be lost is invaluable.
The exception to this would be if your family member or friend is an experienced photographer who has shot multiple weddings before.
I never recommend hiring someone without a proven track record.
Don’t find yourself among the number one complaint I hear – “We wish we had hired a professional.”
Picking a photographer based solely on price
I’m not here to try to convince you to spend exorbitant amounts of money on your wedding photography.
I respect working hard to earn and save money to
pay for things. However, don’t let price be your
only decision maker.
If you pay the minimum price, you will get minimum quality.
There are so many factors besides dollar amounts to consider when hiring a photographer.
– What is included in the package price?
– Do you connect with them on a personal level?
– How experienced are they?
– Do you really love their art?
There are many photographers, all with different styles and skill levels. If you are willing to do some digging and inquiring, you can often find a great compromise between what you want and your budget.
Waiting too long
Good photographers start to book up for traditional weddings at least a year in advance. As soon as you have your wedding date and venue confirmed, start looking at photographers.
The exception to this rule is small elopements, especially if they are mid-week. (Though it is a good idea to hire at least 3 months in advance if your plan allows for it.)
If you wait too long, all the competent photographers will be unavailable, especially if you have a popular wedding date such as a long weekend in the summer.
Starting your search early also allows you to meet with multiple photographers without feeling rushed and gives you plenty of time to consider who you want to hire.
Planning a wedding for the first (and hopefully last) time can come with many unexpected twists and turns. Having a good photographer by your side will help everything run smoothly and ensure all those special moments are captured forever!
If you are ever interested in sitting down for a FREE no pressure photography consultation, I would be thrilled to meet you and help you on this journey of finding your perfect photographer!