Mark, Photos, Wedding

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer | 5 Tips

14 Mar ’11

FYI (and disclosure) – we’re wedding photographers and we’d like you to hire us.

FYIA (For Your Information Also) – There are many great photographers out there, we just hope you consider us :-)

FYIAA (For Your Information Also Also) –  You. Are. Awesome.

Listed below are the things we think you should consider when selecting your wedding photographer – even if it’s not us – because everyone deserves beautiful photography.

PRICE:

I know – you’d expect us to list ‘creativity’ at the top. Photographers love to go on and on about how they’re worth their weight in gold and people should value their artistic skill and creativity. While that’s all true – if you can’t afford someone, then you can’t afford them. It’s a pretty cut and dry fact. Either the ‘investment’ is a little too high (as some photographers like to call their prices) or it’s way past a little too high!

Well, it’s cut and dry unless the photographer you’re considering offers a substantial discount or they’re simply willing to negotiate their fee (Yes). Trust me – if they’re serious about making a living at this, then they’re open to negotiations. One of the main areas our Interns ask us for help is in pricing. How much should they charge clients? I’ll tell you something – wedding photographers are an insecure bunch and we are ALWAYS wondering if our rates are too high. And we’re moody.

So don’t be afraid to ask for a lower rate, or a discount, or no travel fees – because honestly, chances are good that you’ll find a photographer who’d rather be working instead of watching Netflix on a Saturday.

GUARANTEE/REFUND POLICY:

Now we’re a bit radical in that we offer a full 100% money back guarantee on all of our work. We know that most photographers don’t offer that – and we don’t even advise our Interns to do it. In order to offer a guarantee like that (no matter what business you’re in) – you have to be absolutely confident in your ability to deliver. It’s that simple.

Other photographers usually have some form of a guarantee or refund policy listed in their contracts. Pay close attention to that section and make sure you understand exactly what is covered, and what will be refunded if things happen to go bad. If they don’t have a guarantee of some sort – why not? You may want to bring it up and ask them what they do guarantee if anything.

There are no do-overs for wedding days and if I screw things up then it’s probably all my fault. That’s why I’m the professional photographer, and that’s one of the reasons you’re hiring me – because I guarantee my work 100%. I’m not keeping any of your money if I don’t deliver (even already spent travel fees) – or if you don’t get married. It’s really that simple (at least we say it is.)

Personality/Values/Rapport:

You may not know it right now – but when you hire a good wedding photographer, you’re hiring someone to be your personal papparazzi – and basically follow you around for eight to ten hours on one of the most important days of your life. It’s probably a good idea to hire someone you like.

It should actually be one of your main reasons for choosing one photographer over another.

Honestly? You can ALWAYS find equally talented photographers for the same rate as each other – so you should find out which one you actually like as a person. Don’t be bashful. Find out as much as you can about them, ask them as many questions as possible – ask them whatever crazy questions you have. They’ve probably answered them all anyway so it shouldn’t be a big deal. Especially if they actually want you as a client.

Read their blog, find them on facebook, follow them on twitter. Get a feel for who they are beyond all of their ‘marketing materials’.

Some of us wedding photographers think we’re superstars – and some of us are (ha!) – but the fact is that you’re more important than us, and we shouldn’t act like it’s the other way around.

Product/What You’re Getting:

There are basically two pricing models in wedding photography.

With the older model you hire the photographer for their time & talent, you receive no digital files, and you must purchase prints separately through your photographer.

With the newer model you hire the photographer and you get all of the hi-res digital files to print at your convenience.

There are of course hybrids of both – but the basic difference is that you either pay for prints/digital files separately or they’re included in your package. When we were looking to hire a wedding photographer – being able to ‘own’ or have our digital files was extremely important. We simply did not want to pay twice for our wedding photos – and then again and again whenever we wanted copies.

There are many arguments from the old guard about why photographers charge one way or another.

But honestly? Photography is a lot cheaper now. It really is. The old pricing model of not receiving your negatives (film or digital files) is outdated.

They’re your photos and we shouldn’t hold them ransom and ask you for more money every time you want a copy.

Your Intuition:

Hey. We’re artists. We understand that no matter how logical a choice may be – sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

After you’ve gone through all of the websites, read up as much as you can, asked as many questions as possible – let it all go and be okay choosing the wedding photographer that just feels right to you. We keep saying it – but it’s really that simple.

Thanks and have a great week.

Posted by Mark

 

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Lili Rey 27 Apr ’11 at 4:28 pm

    Why is that you guys are the only ones I’ve come across that have all your rates, packages and discounts out in the open??? Beautiful blog, good work. Cheers

    Lili

    • Reply mark 28 Apr ’11 at 11:00 am

      Thanks Lili –

      We’re not completely sure why few wedding photographers lay everything out for clients. We just remember back when we were looking for our own wedding photographer – and there were a few things that we found very frustrating and time consuming. So now that we’re wedding photographers ourselves – we decided to not be like everyone else. Thanks for the compliment!

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