Pictured above: Mr. P and I working with our wedding photographer. I thought it would be helpful to share my thought process in picking a wedding photographer.
Note: this posts assumes photos are important to you and your wedding. I always tell people to think about what thing/purchase at their wedding is most important to them and splurge on that in proportion to other things. For me it was photos. If you are reading this, you are probably a memory keeper and photos are probably important to you too!
Get someone who can pick up the little details. I went with someone who was good at getting people and things. If you scrapbook, you understand how important little details and closeups help you remember and help the design of the page. The hardest pages to lay out for me where the ones where I had tons of people photos but no detail. My photographer got details like our centerpieces, my DIY projects, our wedding rings, closeups of hands zipping me into my dress, and much more.
Work with someone who is willing to tailor a package to your needs. There are lots of photographers out there and you should find someone who is willing to sell you exactly what you want to buy. Sometimes it will be a package they already have, sometimes not. Once I decided what I wanted, I emailed photographers initially to introduce myself and find out if they were willing to customize their offering. If they were and it was in my budget, I set up a meeting. If not, I thanked them and moved on.
Get the photos digitally. All of them. I got every single photo my photographer took on a DVD. Every single one. This is what I meant by negotiating for what you want. At the end of the day, I knew I was going to make my own wedding scrapbook. I didn’t want an album with 25 pictures in it and I wanted to be able to create gifts for family using the photos. I paid my photographer for her time and for the DVD. Keep in mind, not ordering an album and getting a DVD instead isn’t necessarily cheaper.
What do I mean by all of the photos? Sometimes, a “DVD of photos” in a photography package usually includes 300 or so photos that the photographer picks and touches up. For most people, that works. I’m not most people and I’m pretty neurotic about photos. My photographer gave me the 300 she touched up and then another set of 1000 that were untouched. I’m so glad I got everything. Her work was beautiful and there were some moments that didn’t make the “cut” of 300 that I’m glad she got (like the picture of me in the mirror).
Getting a photo DVD is somewhat controversial and that is understandable. Photographers make money off of prints and albums. That’s why I paid my photographer heftily for our arrangement. If a photographer isn’t okay with this, that’s totally cool and it’s perfectly okay for them to stick with what’s good for their business. I researched a lot of photographers until I found what I needed.
Make a list. This is good advice for scrapbookers and non-scrapbookers alike. There are lots of important pictures to get. Your photographer isn’t going to know who is important to you. I made my photographer a list of every family photo we wanted to get*. It was nice knowing at the end of the day that we didn’t forget anything. Since I DIYed a bunch of elements for the wedding, I listed those too so she could get pictures of the final product.
Strong Communication. In addition to the list above, be up front with your photographer about what you want. There were some cliche shots I didn’t want but other things, such as a group photo of all wedding guests, that I wanted to make sure to get. We planned together when the best time would be to get it.
This is what worked for me and I hope it is helpful for you! Above all, make sure to get what you think you will need and use. Don’t get a DVD with a thousand pictures on it if you will be perfectly happy with an album.
*I may or may not have included mug shots of each family member so the photographer could help round people up when it was their time for pictures.
Do you have any suggestions? Think I’m totally of base? I would love to hear your tips in the comments!