Choosing your wedding photographer is a hard task. Its a big investment on something that you don’t really see a return on until a month AFTER your wedding but there is so much more to it. While its easy to fall into the trap of thinking that its just 8 hours on one day, there is hours of emails, phone calls and timeline preparation before the wedding and then dozens of hours of editing, post production and delivery so one 8 hour wedding can end up being almost 60 hours of customised work!
As I enter my 10th year as a wedding photographer I have to admit I’ve seen it all and I’ve also heard it all. I’ve had heartbreaking emails from couples that compromised on their wedding photographer and they need help with their images or want to do the day over entirely as well as hearing other couples tell me that it took months before they received their wedding photos. There are so many great reasons to choose your photographer and today I wanted to share with you 5 mistakes I often see people make when they choose their photographer so you can avoid making them too and rest in confidence when you book your photographer.
1) WAITING TOO LONG
A great timeframe for booking your photographer is as soon as your venue is booked, book your photographer. Unlike other wedding vendors, once a photographer is booked they can’t take any other bookings on your day (and sometimes on that weekend if you’re having a destination wedding!). A great guide is to book your photographer at least 12 months in advance so don’t hold off for too long or you might be stuck with a photographer who happens to be available rather than your first choice.
2) HIRING AN AMATEUR
We all have a friend (or a friend of a friend) who is an enthusiastic hobbyist – heck, I was once that friend! The truth is that I had been a second shooter at a number of weddings before I shot my own first wedding and I was already a professional portrait photographer at the time. Photographing your wedding is more than pressing the shutter on your day and when you hire a professional you get years of on the job experience in addition to their talent. Will your amateur photographer know how to deal with difficult lighting or uncooperative wedding guests? Are they insured? Do they have a back-up system in case their equipment fails? How long will it take before you receive the images? Will they edit the images? There is only once chance to get it right on your wedding day and hiring a professional leaves a lot of stress at the door.
3) FOCUSSING ENTIRELY ON BUDGET
Yes, the B word. Unfortunately many people make the mistake of booking the cheapest photographer instead of booking the best they can afford and honestly, your wedding photographs are not the thing you want to compromise on. Once the cake is eaten and your dress is packed away, your photos will live on so you want them to be beautiful and the best representation of what your wedding day was – not just snapshots in time.
If you’re struggling with budget, talk to your photographer and see if they can help you in any way (for example, you might be able to have one photographer instead of two or book a smaller package) and work with your fiance to see where you can stretch the budget a bit for the photographer you know will do an amazing job on your day.
4) CHOOSING QUANTITY OVER QUALITY
Many people think that they have to go for the whole shebang and have a photographer from sun up to sun down. For my own wedding, I had the option of booking a local photographer for a 12 hour package with an album and all the bells and whistles however I didn’t fall in love with her work. I started to widen my search and found I was able to book my dream photographer for the same price but he was retained for only 6 hours as we also had to pay for travel expenses. In my opinion it was money well spent and something I never regretted because I have just over 500 photographs I truly love instead of thousands of images that are just a record of our wedding day.
5) NOT SEEING A COMPLETE WEDDING
I make no secret of the fact that I blog every wedding. Yep, EVERY WEDDING! It was a benchmark I set early in my business and although this wasn’t the reason I decided to do it, there is now a catalogue of 10 years of weddings that potential clients can view to see the consistency of my work no matter the season, the weather or the couple. Don’t hesitate to ask your potential photographer to view an entire gallery of a typical wedding to see what you can expect – hopefully it will even be at your wedding venue so you can see how it will look photographed from their perspective.