Our friend and colleague (and uber talented), photographer Kati Rosado, recently wrote an informative blog post on the things every couple should know when searching for their wedding photographer. Given that she has a unique perspective, we thought we would share her insight with you here today...
All photos seen here are by Kati Rosado
1. Decide what style of photography you like. You may be perusing Instagram and see that there are SO many different types of wedding photography. I shy away from putting labels on different styles, but you need to review various types and decide which one makes you feel the happiest. I, for example, am a fine art wedding photographer. To dive into this topic would be a whole blog post (or multi-volume collection of books), but essentially we usually photograph with primarily film and some of us, like myself, also shoot digital. If this floats your boat- awesome! If not, that is totally okay and I am not offended one bit. If you want a more “dark and moody” style photographer, great! Do what makes you happy. But the first step in choosing a photographer is deciding which style you like best.
2. Be future minded when it comes to your wedding photos. What is trendy now may get old in just a few years. For me personally, it is a goal of mine to make my images “timeless.” Yes of course they have a modern flair, but I try not do any thing that will date the images and make my clients regret hiring me in 10 years. I want you to happy with your wedding photos, now, tomorrow, and forever.
3. Ask to see a full gallery (or two). If the only images you see on someone’s Instagram are styled shoots in perfect lighting, ask to see a few full galleries so you can see what their reception photos are like as well. Being a wedding photographer means having to be extremely flexible and versatile and it is important that you trust that your photographer can handle any lighting situation. These qualities usually come about through experience so don’t be afraid to ask how long the photographer has been shooting weddings as well.
4. Please let us know if you have chosen another photographer. If you inquire with us, we see you not as dollar signs, but as real people, and we are real people as well. If you have shared a little about yourself, we are already envisioning who you are and what your wedding will be like. If you “ghost us” (aka just never emailing us back) then it disappoints us far more than if you send us a polite email letting us know you chose another photographer. I promise, we are not that disappointed (I mean yes a little but then we move on!) We get these emails all the time. Please do the courteous thing and let us know if you hired someone else, or if you just are not interested, so we can move on as well with no hard feelings, and we won’t feel bad giving away your date to someone else.
5. Ask photographers you inquire with how they backup their photos. This may sounds silly but I have heard of countless horror stories of photographers losing wedding photos. To err is human and everyone makes mistakes, and yes there are occasionally times when freak occurrences do happen, but just asking the photographer what their backup method is will give you a better understanding and peace of mind. Same goes for film photographers, ask them what they do to ensure the safety of the film. When my brides ask me, I inform them that my film is stored in cool, dry locations and mailed via priority shipping straight to the lab in a well secured box; my digitals are shot on dual cards for automatic backup and when I get home I back them up 3 (yes, THREE) times. You can ever be too careful when you are talking about someone’s wedding photos!
6. Please make photography a priority! I know I am obviously biased, but truly… of all your wedding day details, photography is the only thing that increases in value over time. Flowers die, the dress gets dirty and hung up in a closet, the food is eaten within an hour, but your photos are FOREVER. They are truly a part of your legacy. Southern Weddings encourages couples to make photography 10-20% of their budget. The average wedding in America is somewhere around $35,000. So 10-20% of that is $3,500-7,000, which is generally the average cost of a wedding photographer.
7. Understand that our prices are usually non-negotiable. We are professional photographers and this is not only our passion but our livelihood. Our prices need to not only account for business expenses but our living expenses as well. Our package prices are created accounting for every expense we have using a specific algorithm that we have developed through the years. If you find someone who is quick to offer a discount, I would be very skeptical. We are happy to discuss your needs and wants and offer suggestions on ways we can get closer to your budget, but we won’t just give $1,000 off with no reason. Most of us would be happy to chat about how we can remove items from packages or shift some things around to get closer to your budget, though! It is all about how you ask.
8. Pretty please fill out the contact form. I understand you are probably emailing a lot of vendors, but please take just a few minutes to fill out the form so I can get to know a little about you, have your contact info, etc. This all gets logged into your profile which will be so helpful once you do book!
9. When we set up a time to discuss packages, please understand we are “interviewing” you just as much as you are interviewing us. It is not like when you buy a car and you want to appear unimpressed and see what the best deal is the seller can give you. We are usually on the look out for what we call “red flags.” An example of a red flag would be asking us to lower our prices without a cause, wanting to change large portions of the contract, or if you just don’t seem very excited about working with us. We always want to work with someone who is excited to work with us!
10. You get what you pay for. I hate to be the one to say it but it could not be more true in this situation. I am not saying everyone needs take out a loan to pay for wedding photography. But what I am saying is to educate yourself, make an informed decision, and then no matter what your decision is, have appropriately correlating expectations. Don’t expect the world if you only want to pay a little. If wedding photography is a priority, please make it a priority in the budget. Because the old saying is so true, and in a world when anyone can pick up a camera and be a photographer, it has never been more true!