As the peak of “engagement season” is fast approaching- more engagements occur from September through Jan than any other time of the year- more and more brides will be seeking Wedding photographers. Which means, more and more of you will be starting to plan your wedding and looking for venues, caterers, florists, bridal gowns, and photographers.
Here are a few questions that brides should be asking, and often times aren’t for whatever reason and a few questions they ARE asking and shouldn’t be!
1. “How much do you charge”?
Now that seems like an obvious question if you are on a search for your wedding photographer. You obviously want to make sure you can actually afford them, right?
If that is your first question, you probably blew it.
Imagine this for a second. You are “shopping” for your Wedding Gown and you pick up the phone and call the Bridal Shop. “How much do you charge for your Wedding Gowns”?
“Well, they run from $500 to $50,000”.
“Can you send me a price list and photos of your gowns”?
“Well, we COULD, but most Brides actually want to try on the gowns first before making a decision”.
“No, I just want the lowest priced gown I can find and if you can’t send me that, I am NOT interested”!
Pretty silly idea, wouldn’t you say? Imagine you sent an email to several Bridal Shops asking that question and you get back a “price list” and “catalog” of gowns. Would you base your purchase TOTALLY on that? Or are you going to want to actually go to the shop and TRY ON the gowns first? You are PROBABLY going to want to go to several stores and try on the gowns and THEN make a decision of which you like the best and is within your budget.
So why is “price” the most important decision in choosing your Wedding Photographer? Wouldn’t you really want to know more about them FIRST and ask a bunch of other questions, not just of them, but several photographers BEFORE you decide if they are right for you?
2. “How much do you charge”?
Yes, this is often times the second question you might want to ask. But how about this one- “Do you have backup equipment when you photograph my wedding”?
Yes, things happen to cameras, flash units, memory cards, and any number of things that assure you get your wedding photographed. If your photographer isn’t carrying backup for everything he/she has, then you risk not having any or very few wedding photographs.
3. “How much do you charge”?
Now this is getting repetitive, right? Well, how about another question you should be asking. Like “Do you use an assistant”?
Imagine a photographer with lots of equipment and gear trying to get from place to place during your wedding without anyone to help him/her. They are going to slow down the flow of your wedding day, perhaps ruin it, and not have anyone helping YOU look your best for your wedding. That is what a good assistant can do for you and without one, your wedding photographs could be disappointing.
4. “How much do you charge”?
So NOW it’s time to ask that question, right? Nope! Not yet!
How about asking if they actually have a Business License? Far too many “photographers” aren’t legal from the Business Licensing aspect of having a legitimate photography BUSINESS! Imagine buying your car from someone who calls themselves a “car dealer” and sits up shop, place to place, to skirt the law. Would you buy from them? Probably NOT, so would you rather do business with someone who HAS established themselves as a legitimate Professional Photographer?
It should ALSO set off that alarm bell that this photographer COULD be totally “part time” or even an amateur. Now if that is what you want, then “go for it”, but if you seriously want to make sure that someone who you choose has experience in photographing weddings, you might want to know that up front before you hire them, rather than how much they charge.
5. “How much do you charge”?
I know, it’s getting old, right? Well, it’s NOT time as of yet since there are a few more questions you should ask first.
So let’s try this one- “Do you actually photograph my wedding or do you use someone else”? Pretty important, huh? Sometimes studios will hire college kids, relatives, friends, whoever they can find to photograph your wedding. You might THINK you are getting “the Photographer” in the studio, but you end up with someone you never met, have no clue as to their experience, and that they actually know HOW to use that shiny new camera they are carrying.
6. “How much do you charge”?
Yeah, it’s getting REAL OLD, Mike, so PLEASE tell us we can ask that one now!
Nope. Not quite yet.
How about THIS one- “Can I speak to other brides where you have photographed their wedding”?
You want to know if they have LOTS of happy brides that actually used the photographer. If they balk, it’s either that they don’t have “happy brides” or they haven’t actually had enough wedding photography experience to refer you to them. This is perhaps one of THE most important questions you can ask more so than “How much do you charge”!
7. “How much do you charge”?
NOW we can ask it, right?
Not yet. But one you REALLY should be asking is “Can I see your portfolio of weddings you have photographed”.
View other weddings either in prints or online. See if they are doing enough weddings in the year to “stay fresh” and creative. See if they offer other photography services too- like bridal portraiture- and even offer a wide range of products you might want either now or in the future. Things like wedding albums, or prints, or online ordering or any number of finished products you may want or need later on. “Do they archive your photos” is another value you should want. Things can and DO happen in the future, and a genuine professional can ALWAYS retrieve those for you later on.
8. “How much do you charge”?
Finally, I get to ask the question! Yes, you can ask it, but ONLY if it is face to face and NOT over the phone or in an email!
All too often, brides send out an email, wanting a “Price list” of “packages” and get back a “price list” and “packages” email. So what DOES that actually mean? Not much really. Since you have NONE of the other questions you should be asking answered first.
IF, and I do mean this sincerely, you get back one of those emails with “price list and packages” attached, then that photographer possibly doesn’t have YOUR best interest in mind! Note that to self. THEY DON’T HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND!
The photographer you WANT is going to want to ask you about your wedding plans, what you are wanting in your photography, and even a whole host of other things that indicated YOU are IMPORTANT enough and your wedding is IMPORTANT ENOUGH to THEM to want to know about it! They are going to want to photograph the EMOTIONS of the day and capture the joy and excitement you and your family and the groom and his family are going to have on that day! Without asking YOU a few questions, then all they see is $$ signs, and not understanding the TRUE IMPORTANCE of your wedding day.
If they ever say or tell you “Once your wedding is over and your flowers are dead, your cake is eaten, and the guests leave, ALL you have left is your wedding photos”, then RUN FROM THEM! Not walk, but RUN because they place little value on how important those things are to YOU! They value themselves as THE most important part of YOUR wedding and don’t understand that each of those things will bring the emotions, beauty, and happiness on YOUR wedding day!
The bottom line on this is simple- GO SIT DOWN AND TALK WITH MORE THAN ONE PHOTOGRAPHER and forget “the price question” for now.
Let me say this a bit “harshly” if I may. PRICE is relative to the quality of service, the quality of the photographs, and the ability to capture YOUR EMOTIONS of YOUR day. If a photographer really has HIS value placed on YOU valuing these things, then you have PRICELESS photographs that you can instantly remember the day and shed tears of JOY when you see them. Far too many photographers see you as “another client” and NOT someone who is experiencing THE most important day of their life and not only deserves the “very best” they have to offer, but will provide you 110% of the attention to the details and YOUR emotions and happiness on YOUR special day.
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If you are looking to have an “average” wedding – one that is stressful and not very organized, one where the guests hardly get to see you, one where you are so exhausted that you can hardly smile. One where it seems like you’re constantly putting out “fires” and solving emergencies. One where “so many things just went wrong”…
…then this Report is NOT for you.
But, if you want to know what they are and how to avoid them, simple fill out the form below and we will get that out to you immediately!