With this year’s wedding season underway, I have been receiving a good amount of inquiries for next year. Most inquiries follow the same pattern: “We love your work and were wondering what your packages are.” First, thank you for the compliment. Secondly, I would love to help! But, just like 8th grade, not every relationship we have is going to work out. Some couples I meet, I am not a good fit for. Others, it is like we are long lost friends. Below are 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer, written by a photographer.
1. Provide us with the important information up front.
I field probably 50 emails a day, or which 40 of them are important and need addressing. We live in an age where we expect an answer yesterday to a question we asked today. Make communication as easy as possible with your vendors. At the bare minimum, provide potential wedding vendors with:
- Wedding date
- Ceremony site
- Reception site
That way, we can check to see if we have the date available. We can also address our experience and knowledge about those locations. If it is a far drive or a destination wedding, we can be upfront and address any additional charges that may occur. If you would like to provide additional information, the following can also be helpful:
- Estimated start time of ceremony
- Estimated start time of cocktail hour or reception
- Estimated length of ceremony
- What type of imagery you are drawn to
- If there are going to be an traditions or cultural aspects to the wedding
This last point is incredibly important. We as photographers need to be silent chameleons. Catholic ceremonies I am normally located in the back of the church and NEVER go behind the altar. Indian ceremonies, I am invited up onto the “altar” and don’t wear shoes! Quite the polar opposites. You want to inform your photographer about the type of ceremony you will be having so they can act appropriately and research the cultural norms associated with it.
2. Ask to see a whole wedding gallery.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room and said, “this doesn’t look like the photos on their website?” My fiance and I right now are house shopping; sometimes I laugh while visiting a prospective house and say, “Man, that photographer really got creative with their camera angles. This room looked MUCH bigger online.” Point being, photography isn’t always honest. Even the best photographers can get lucky. What you want to do is look a whole wedding gallery or even multiple wedding galleries. Do you see consistency in their style? Lighting? Posing? Storytelling? If so, that is good! What you don’t want to do is make a decision based on the 20 images you see on their homepage or portfolio. Want to see mine? Take a look. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
3. Grab a coffee.
Great! Now that you have seen a large body of their work and you have a wedding date that works, grab a coffee with them or schedule a time to have a FaceTime meeting. Nothing builds trust or allows you to better understand a person as actually meeting them. Not only do I encourage couples to meet with me for their consultation, but I try to have an experience with them before their wedding, whether it be seeing a baseball game or grabbing dinner with them, to better forge that relationship before their wedding day. After all, we are all on the same team both leading upto and including your big day. Keep reading for more 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
4. Be flexible.
As a photographer with 200+ weddings under his belt, it is my job to not only capture the beautiful moments of your wedding day, but to also help guide to to those moments. Sometimes, brides will come to me with a list of locations and shots that they would like for me to capture. The locations criss-cross the city and would require hours of shooting in the timeline. No one likes hearing the word “no.” Be flexible and open to suggestions. Chances are, we know some hidden gems for locations that would work perfect for you.
The same is true when it comes to your timeline. People tend to underestimate how long everything takes on their wedding day. Be flexible! Not enough time in your contract for your photographer to shoot the groom getting ready? No problem; a nice window and wall at the church is all we need to get those prep shots. Ceremony starting at 5:00 and cocktail hour at 6:00 in October? Looks like you will need to do a first look or else all of your formal photos will be at night time.
Some of my couples are so flexible, they book their wedding date around my availability! (I love you!)
The good photographers will always try to find a balance and guide to living out your best day. We need you to be a bit flexible too. No wedding is executed to perfection. That is what makes them so special and unique.
5. Match styles.
Think about when you go clothes shopping; not every piece looks good to you, right? Very few articles of clothing can be deemed universal. Instead, you buy clothes that support and create your own personal style. Guess what, photographers are the same way with their art. Don’t book someone who calls themselves a “natural light photographer” if you like the more dramatically lit images. Sure, there is some wiggle room in our styles.
If you request a portrait with you and your friends, any of us can make that happen. But if you are looking for all candids or “vintage edits” or fashion-inspired lighting, you are best off going to someone whose style specializes in that.
So there you have it. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer. What tips can you share with our readers?
BTW Photography is a Detroit wedding photographer who offers his readers 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of planning that goes into a wedding. In fact, I spend about as much time helping brides plan their wedding as I do actually shooting their wedding! With each bride wanting to put their own special touches on their day, it is the photographer’s job to approach each wedding for exactly what it is: unique. Below are 10 tips to find your wedding photographer, so you can have the photos of your dreams. Check out the list below of 10 Tips to find your wedding photographer.
1. Prioritize your budget.
We all have a dream wedding that we have spent years envisioning and months on Pinterest pinning. Unfortunately, we also have to pay for it all! At the end of the day, what really “makes” a wedding are words and memories. The more special, emotional, and meaningful the ceremony and vows, the more everyone is going to remember the entire day. No one will ever say, “OMG! Can you believe they served mashed and not roasted potatoes?” In the end, you only get three or four things after the wedding is done: your rings, your dress, and your photos and video.
The rings you wear every day. The dress you will only wear once. Your photos and video; however, are an investment for yourself and future generations to look back upon. So skip the roasted potatoes and other marginal expenses (no one will miss them) if it means getting nicer rings, dress, photos or videos. Keep reading for more 10 tips to find your wedding photographer.
- Choose your photographer wisely.
Thanks to the digital revolution, everyone is a photographer now. Whether it is the camera on their iphone and slew of Instagram filters or someone who invested in a DSLR, everyone has access to take digital images. Add WordPress and free portfolio templates in the mix, it can be very difficult to determine who is a hobbyist and who is a professional, especially when you may only be viewing the best of the best of their portfolio.
One thing to note here though is, make sure you are getting the photographer whose work you are viewing! It seems like it is common sense but often times when brides book with large photography companies, they view the best work from all of the photographers put together and are at the mercy of whichever photographer’s schedule was open on their wedding day. That isn’t customer service nor is that the type of relationship you want with the person who is capturing the most important day of your life. More 10 tips to find your wedding photographer below.
When Jill first emailed me, it was one of the warmest and enthusiastic emails I have ever received. Short and sweet, it got right to the point: “I love your photos and want you to be my photographer. Call me!” We scheduled a phone call and that was just as friendly. Within about 20 minutes, we all knew we were a good fit for each other, and started planning their engagement session for Midtown, Detroit. The only problem was, they live out of state and weren’t coming in for a few months. Our first attempt ended in a rainout (thanks Michigan weather.) Our backup date worked and we headed downtown for their Midtown Detroit engagement session.
Our first stop was the iconic and classic architecture of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The marble building perfectly complimented Jill’s white dress and golden locks. They were a bit nervous to start, but their nerves quickly turned to smiles when we started talking about how they met and their wedding. After the DIA, we went to their Midtown Detroit engagement session.
After spending some time at the DIA, we toured Midtown, doing both a little shooting and location scouting for their upcoming wedding. Overall, they had a fantastic Midtown Detroit engagement session.
Sometimes, the engagement shoot turns into a fashion shoot.
Ok…back to love 🙂
By the end of the shoot, the wind picked up and started drizzling, but not before we had snapped enough images to remember the day. Overall, it was great to spend some time with Brandon and Jill and share in their excitement for their upcoming wedding. By the end of the shoot, Brandon and Jill were naturals in front of the camera and had decided on the locations for their upcoming wedding. They couldn’t believe the transformation Detroit has had nor how beautiful the city has become. They loved their Midtown Detroit engagement session and are looking forward to celebrating down here later this month.
If you haven’t been to Detroit, you are missing out. There is something special about a city who is experiencing the type of renaissance Detroit is right now. All kinds of chic retailers, restaurants, boutique hotels, and even sports teams with new arenas are establishing themselves downtown. With all of the activity and excitement, more and more couples, myself included, are getting married at some of Detroit’s classic venues. Brian and Cara will be getting married at Detroit’s Gem Theatre and having both their ceremony and reception there. It only felt appropriate to swing by and incorporate the Gem into their engagement session. We started off their engagement session at the Detroit Public Library. Cara’s green dress was a subtle and perfect compliment to the lights of the building. The limestone facade gave us a beautiful clean backdrop, allowing the focus to be on Brian and Cara. Brian and Cara went to downtown Detroit and has a Gem Theatre engagement session.
I see a lot of engagement rings; Cara’s is one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed. The diamond was gorgeous and reflected the light unlike anything I have seen. Needless to say, she is very proud of that ring and everything it represents.
After a quick session at the Detroit Public Library, we made our way to the Z-Lot parking garage. Next to it is a tiny corridor that hosts an eclectic mix of pop up art galleries, bars, and graffiti.
We slowed things down a bit while in the alley and took out the Nikon 45mm tilt-shift lens. I love this lens for several reasons. Besides the unique focal planes it gives you, I often times explain to couples that it takes me longer to focus and compose the shot since everything is manual. What happens next is all natural; while waiting for me, they always turn to each other and the relationship shines. Moments like this can’t be planned, but must be documented.
Cara sent me a screenshot asking me, “do you know where this building is? Brian loves it.” Again, another Detroit gem.
After touring the city, we ended our engagement session at the Gem Theatre. In just three months, we will be celebrating their marriage here. After touring the grounds, I wanted to snap a portrait on the stairs. Cara forewarned me, stating “I am sorry. Brian and I are so awkward.” I laughed after I got the shot; there is nothing awkward about two people who love to be around each other. Spending an afternoon with them, it was obvious they bring out the best in each other.
The Gem Theatre engagement session is a perfect Detroit afternoon. Gem Theatre engagement session is located right next to the DAC in downtown Detroit.