So many choices…Where do I start???

You’re getting married, and you want it documented with the same attention to detail that you are giving to planning the event. And after all, the photographs are the only thing that remain to remember this day by.

Having been documenting families and weddings for over a decade, my business partner and I decided to put down on paper some of our thoughts based on feedback we have gotten through the years from our own clients and from some who wish they had been.

We believe that there are more wedding photographers now than there has ever been.  Time was that wedding photography was the business that no one wanted to do. It was primarily retired married couples that worked together in a very traditional and straightforward manner, not necessarily glamorous or fashion forward.   Times have changed.

However, having said that, the down side is that it can be potentially overwhelming for girls planning a wedding to sort through and make decisions about who to use for their big day.  Here are a few things that you may want to think about when navigating the ocean of photographic possibilities:

1- chemistry

2- experience

3- style

4- references/reputation

5- cost

I know it seems counter intuitive to have cost be the last item to worry about, but honestly, no matter how little you spend on a service, you may realize the extra money you saved will never be enough compensation for missed moments or just bad work.  Unlike a broadway show, your wedding will be one day, and one day only.  Not a good time to gamble.

Let’s talk a bit about the other articles on the list that lead up to your photography  investment:

1. Chemistry: You can’t explain it but it’s just that feeling of comfort and security you get when you know you’re in good hands. It‘s more about just liking each other, though that should be part of it, beyond that you need feel like this person “gets” you and your fiance. Remember you’ll spend more time with your photographer on the wedding day than you will with your new spouse so make sure you feel really good around her/him.

2.  Experience: This is tricky because sometimes experience translates into an “I’ve been doing this forever and I’m bored” attitude. What you’re looking for is someone who is passionate about what they do. That way you get the best of all worlds – enthusiasm and the security to know they have seen all kinds of circumstances happen (and are prepared) and they will be around tomorrow – nothing worse than trying to find your photographer after the fact only to learn that they have skipped town…with your images. In weddings the only thing predicable is the unpredictable. You need someone who will handle it all in stride and enjoys the “thrill” of a new experience every time.

Experienced vendors also bring you the benefit of their long-term relationship with other vendors. This can assist you in planning and guarantee that everything comes together on the wedding day with ease. Experienced professionals also come with all the back-up equipment, liability insurance and all the behind the scenes things that make a real difference in your security.

3. Style: This is all about your personality being captured in your images. It’s really easy to be swayed by the trends that you see in all the magazines but remember you want a timeless record of your day and your story. That doesn’t mean you can’t have it all, but find a photographer who’s aesthetic speaks to you and you’ll never be sorry. The biggest package in the world with all the bells and whistles won’t matter if the images are lacking.

4. References and reputation: This is huge. In our experience over 90% of our business comes from word of mouth and our clients stay with us for a lifetime. It’s all about value for your investment and the saying holds true that you “get what you pay for” having someone who is trusted in their community, respected by other professionals, and who have a gushing following of clients will realize all that is at stake every time they take a job. Someone who’s doing this on the side for a ‘quick buck’ only cares until that check is cashed.

5. Cost: Budgets are a part of weddings but be wary of focusing too much on this aspect. For the same reason you would not look for a “discount” surgeon you should not allow price to be the only factor you consider when choosing your photographer. Someone who is willing to discount their services greatly obviously does not value that service. If you find an artist who’s work you love and you let them know that, more often than not there will be a way for you to find common ground over price. Even the most expensive artists want to work “get” their vision and appreciate the value of it. The best “deal” is no deal at all when you don’t have the photos you want after it’s all over. You might have well as just thrown it away. Your memories are worth an investment, not a deal.

We hope this has helped, we understand the anxiety and stress that comes with planning your big day. Just remember there are people to help and guide you and it will all be worth it in the end. Happy planning!

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