Often I receive calls or emails from couples who need a last minute wedding photographer, because theirs has disappeared or canceled with no explanation. The following tips are based on what those couples tell me. If professional photography is a top priority for you, I want to help you find a photographer who is committed to your wedding.
1. Make sure your photographer has a website, not just social media.
Maintaining a business website that isn’t free takes commitment and work. It’s easy to create a social media presence and post a bunch of pictures. It’s also easy to have a free website that you can set up and forget about.
2. Be cautious of high volume photographers.
Exhaustion can happen to anyone doing photography. It happens most often when you book yourself as full as possible without remembering you need a break once in a while. You want a photographer who is able to give you their best on your wedding day. That means they think about their health and other obligations when taking bookings, and know their working limits. There’s nothing wrong about a photographer who also has a day job. The important thing is they are able to balance their commitments and still provide you with professional service. Most professional photographers I know usually say they are fully booked at 10-40 weddings per year, depending on if they shoot other things too or work a second job outside their business.
3. Avoid the “once in a while” photographer.
I’m going to be blunt here: Someone who rarely shoots weddings or does it for something fun to fill free time often has no problem backing out on you later. Photographers I know who have businesses (myself included) own a business because we are passionate about enriching couples’ lives through wedding photography. Running a business full or part time takes work. When you are passionate about your work you are also passionate about keeping your commitments.
4. Get it in writing.
When you purchase wedding photography, it’s a business transaction. A contract or client agreement, and formal invoice is part of this transaction. Your contract should contain details on cancelation terms for both you and your photographer. Your invoice should include what comes with your wedding package.
5. Don’t book by text or social media alone. Have a phone call or a video chat if you can’t meet in person.
This will help you get to know the photographer and decide if they’re someone you want to spend your wedding day with. Even if you’re too busy for a video chat, at least make time for a phone call. It’s a must when booking your wedding photographer. Use the phone call as an extra tool before you move forward with an in person meeting. Doing this will help you stay organized and reduce the amount of time you spend on vendor meetings while wedding planning.
6. Have that engagement shoot!
If you have a chance to work with the photographer before the wedding, take it. Even if it’s just a mini shoot that lasts 30 minutes, the engagement shoot is like an extra interview to make sure you really love your photographer.
Congratulations on your engagement! Keep these tips in mind and go find an awesome photographer for your wedding.