As you make plans for your big day, there's a few big decisions, like, where do you want your venue to be? Who will cater? And eventually, who's going to take the photos?
You're already stressed out! So many things could go wrong on your big day! DON'T let the photographer be one of them!
What could go wrong?
Because I'm a nice guy I won't scare you too much with all the horror stories I've heard over the years: "I shot the entire wedding without a film roll / SD/CF card" to "My hardrive died and I lost all the footage" and even "because I only charged $500, I can't give you any digital files, you have to buy prints for $250 each!"
The worst one: "Oh I thought your wedding was today, I forgot! No I can't make it I double booked." all the while they never even return the deposit.
These are horror stories that I wouldn't wish even on my worst enemies! Here's how you can avoid them all!
What you see is what you get
Most photographers have some sort of portfolio or lookbook to show. If they don't: stay far away. Maybe they could be a second shooter. But whatever you're looking at is roughly what you'll get. Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's a little worse. What you're looking for is consistency, can they do it again? Ask to see an album. An album will show you how many good photos came out of the day! And you'll get a good idea of how many you'll get when all is said and done that are any good.
Pricing can be rough, the old saying is true though: You get what you pay for! Most wedding photographers that charge anything less than $500, I would be surprised to get 3 good photos. Ask to see the contract. Be prepared for a realistic number, anywhere between $1200-$3000 for a wedding photographer is not only appropriate, but recommended. But make sure there's no hidden fees or small print. Ask them exactly what you'll receive and how you'll receive it. Don't forget to talk about travel/ prints/ post processing/ second shooter/ assistant/ photoboot / turnaround.
What is turn-around? It's how fast the photographer takes the photos and turns them over to you, (the client). Personally, I can pull an all-nighter and get a completed album done in one night. Most professional photographers don't edit the photos themselves. They outsource it, (to people like me). That, or you hired an amateur who uses pre-bought presets equivalent to Instagram filters. *shivers* ... ew. Each edit is hand edited, I tone skin, frequency seperation, basically, just go to, my edit page after reading the rest of this to find out more. Anyways, a typical turn around time is 2 weeks. Usually a one-day or one-week expedite costs extra, BUT if you ask them about it in advance, they might try to tell you how fast they can get it done and throw it in for free to try and get your business. (This even works on me, I need to keep my big mouth shut.)
Ask if they will be at the rehearsal! When practicing, and making decisions about placement, sometimes it can really help to have a photographer there and tell you what might look best. Maybe this is even before the rehearsal, I call this session a Pre-Vis so I can make critical decisions and adapt in the best way.
Meet in Person
Having a personal relationship with your photographer is important. When the big day comes, you want to know, trust, and understand that the photographer is going to perform well and keep you calm and collected. It's just natural for me to be totally chill while everyone else is freaking out, I kind of laugh to myself actually. It's very common and even though I'm invested in my clients, I have a larger perspective and can lower stress just by having a level head. This question you ask your gut. It's basically a gut-check to make sure they're right for you. But usually having lunch with the person is a great way to see if they're going to help you, not make your life more stressful.
In my home town, Nashville TN?
If a couple does an engagement session with me, that costs will be deducted from the wedding package. This freaking fantastic crazy deal is only available to my people of Nashville TN! :)
Thanks for reading! If you made it this far in the post good job! You've done your research! If you want the best deal possible go here.