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Many of you out there have probably heard me mention Amy Barry Photography a number of times, she is an awesome wedding photographer with tons of great insight into the photography and wedding industry.
So when I decided that I wanted to start helping brides know what they should be looking for and what they should be asking when they are shopping for vendors, she was one of the first professionals who came to mind. So I asked Amy to talk to me a little about what she thinks every bride should know and should ask before making an investment in a photographer for their special day and here’s what she had to say….
Choosing a photographer for your wedding is just as important as choosing your dress and details, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
First, you can ask for referrals from friends and family. Look at images from their events and most importantly, ask how their experience was with the photographer on a personal level. Just as the images a photographer captures at your wedding are important, so is your personal connection with the photographer. This person is going to be your shadow the entire day of your wedding, so you want to make sure you get along. The perfect opportunity to evaluate your connection with a photographer is a consultation. This is typically the time a photographer will meet you somewhere like Starbucks and discuss the details of your wedding, what you are looking for in a photographer, and go over their contract. Keep in mind that just because a photographer brings a contract to the consultation, this does not mean you should feel pressured to sign it and book with that photographer right then and there. Which brings me to my next point…
Interview multiple photographers. Sometimes, this isn’t necessary. If you are like me who had one photographer picked out before I was even engaged, you may not need to ask around. It sounds crazy, I know. Don’t be afraid to schedule consultations with a few photographers to ensure you’re picking the photographer you get along with best. I can’t stress this enough. Even if you a certain photographer has award winning images and they look great on their website, if you don’t connect with them on a personal level it could be a real downer on your wedding day.
Ask about equipment. Photographers love to talk about all of their photography toys J Should you base your decision solely on their equipment? No. Make sure that the photographer you choose has the right equipment for what you’re looking for. If you are looking for digital images, make sure the photographer is using digital equipment. This may sound weird, but there are still photographers out there using film. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just their preference. So make sure you are on the same page with your photographer about how you will receive your images.
Now, for a list of questions you could take to your consultation:– How long have you been active in wedding photography?– Do you bring an assistant with you?– What is the most important part about wedding photography to you?– Do you release the digital negatives to your clients? (VERY important!)– What is the typical timeline from wedding to receiving images?– Ask about products offered such as albums, save the dates, etc.– If you are still in need of other vendors such as videographers, designers, etc. ask your photographer. They more than likely know plenty of other respected vendors in the industry.
These are just a few questions to get you started. Definitely add to this list depending on what is important to you.
Make sure pricing is clear between you and your photographer. Many times, photographers have their prices listed on their websites, or at least give a price where their packages start. This can give you an idea if the photographer will be within your budget. Most photographers will also work with you to customize a package to fit your wants and needs. Respectfully ask a photographer if they would be willing to make a package specifically for your wants, but don’t be offended if they only offer the packages listed on their site.
Finally, and maybe most importantly make sure you reserve enough room in your budget for photography. This does not mean that you should spend half of your budget on your photos, but make sure to reserve enough. So many brides wait until the last minute to get their photographer and don’t have enough room in the budget to get the quality they’re looking for. Don’t expect to get a photographer for a small amount of money and get incredible images. Yes, “a small amount of money” depends on who you are talking to, but it depends on your overall wedding. For example, if someone has a $10,000 budget for the whole wedding, would you hire a photographer for $500 to document it all? No. Keep it consistent. I see so many brides who say “my friend/family member has a professional camera and they can do it for cheap or for free”. BIG MISTAKE. Yes, they may have the camera, but do they have the experience? Being a wedding photographer is not as easy as many may think. There are various lighting situations and things are constantly changing, and a new photographer may not know how to deal with these situations. Hire a photographer with experience. It may seem expensive at the time but you will not regret paying the money for your wedding photographer.
Have fun with your photographer search, and good luck!
-Amy Pittsinger, Amy Barry Photography June 2010_______________________________________To see some of Amy’s beautiful work visit her blog athttp://www.amybarryphotography.com/