the wedding chronicles | decision #4

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

as many former brides have told me and will likely tell you, the photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding day.  they all have said, “your pictures are the only thing you have to remember the day by afterwards, so you have to make a good choice.”  if you think about it, it is quite true.  in addition to being reminded of this truth, you’ll get the name of every photographer who has photographed any wedding you have ever been to and even those you never attended.  while a great starting point for ideas and inspiration, be sure you pick the photographer right for you and your big day.  how do you do that, you ask?  like this.

first, like the starting point for many other wedding choices, determine what your budget is.  although you might want the celebrity photographer in town, they might be out of your price point.  and, something else to be said here is that the photographer is likely going to cost more than you expect.  one night i was churning through photography sites on my computer to try and narrow down some options but was derailed when it felt like each one was more expensive than the last!  i understand you don’t necessarily want to skimp in regards to the photographer, but a “starting at” price of $4500 seems high.  but hey, what do i know; it’s not like i’ve ever planned a wedding before.

second, figure out if you want just a photographer or if a videographer is also part of your needs.  the reason i encourage you to figure this out is because the more you want, the more you have to pay, and even though a videographer might sound like an awesome add-on, it also comes at a price.  if you’ve got the budget or wiggle room elsewhere in your wedding, go for it!  i think videographers capture a special essence of the day and create a great keepsake for the future.

third, while flipping through galleries of potential photographers, try to discern what their style is and what they tend to focus on in their pictures and if what they produce matches up with what you and your fiance want.  are they capturing a lot of detail of the day?  are the family portraits high quality?  is the level of professionalism apparent?  now, with this being said let me let you in on a little secret:  after a while all of the pictures are going to look the same.  or almost the same.  what i’m trying to say is that you’re going to get tired of looking through these pictures, and that’s okay.  you have to stop looking at some point, so decide on your top two or three prospects and go from there.

fourth, while trying to pick out some favorite contenders, i encourage you to include your significant other, especially if it’s a man and especially if you think he might not care.  the reason i say this is because the pictures you will have after your wedding day are both of yours, and sometimes a fiance can help you make that tough choice by having a preference of their own.  hopefully it will work out nicely for you and yours like it did for phillip and me.  🙂  we worked particularly well together as a team on this decision.

fifth, once you have a few photographers in mind, meet them in person if possible!  although their site might be informative and the pictures breathtaking, nothing replaces a personal connection, something you can really only gauge by meeting face-to-face.  for phillip and me, we had two finalists that we met for coffee (separately, of course).  the first finalist was nice enough and quite laid back but was almost too laid back for our liking.  our second finalist was extremely professional, asked us questions about ourselves, paid for phillip’s coffee (excellent move if i do say so myself), and even started offering some ideas, not knowing if we were going to go with them or not.  sometimes it might “just be a feeling” you have on whether or not you like a particular photographer, but that’s okay.  this is your day, after all, and you should feel confident about each decision you make, especially such a big one.

sixth, ask questions.  how many hours do you get?  how many photographers will be there?  is an engagement session included?  if your photographer has to travel, are there any fees incurred?  so on and so forth.  just google “questions to ask a wedding photographer” and you’ll get yourself a nice big list of questions with which to pepper your professional.  the photographers we encountered were very open to answering our numerous inquiries, which was not only nice but also the right thing to do.

seventh, if possible, see if you can get an engagement session included.  i think for each photographer we interviewed this was the case, which is a great thing.  why?  well, i initially wasn’t interested in doing an engagement shoot, but then everyone said it was a good opportunity for you and your fiance to get to know your photographer and vice versa.  i mean, it does seem like a good way to get comfortable not only with your photographer but also with getting your picture taken, A LOT.  plus, it’s a good excuse to buy a new outfit and get all dressed up, which is fine by me.

so!  in the end, who did we choose?  we chose a pair of photographers by katie snyder photography.  their reputation, genuine joy, and industry knowledge were among the deciding factors, and what’s even better is that they were flexible with us and are in budget – sign us up!

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