Do they have a website?
This is hands down my number one thing to look for when booking a wedding photographer, not only as a photographer but as a consumer and past bride. It’s no secret that web hosting is affordable - a domain name is usually around $10-20, and most websites cost less than $20 a month. Facebook and Instagram are awesome social media tools, but for your wedding, you should be looking for someone who is invested in themselves so they can invest in you.
What you want to look for:
- Look for an about page that shows a photo of their face as well talking about their style, how long they’ve been a photographer and what they can do for you.
- Look for an up to date blog page or a gallery that includes full wedding galleries. You want to make sure the blog posts are up to date and the newest one being within the last month at the latest.
- Look for an FAQ page. FAQ pages are huge for wedding photographers, it really sets apart the newer photographers from the seasoned photographers.
- Look for reviews on their website. Most photographers have them scattered around their website or on a single page.
What you want to ask:
- Ask for full wedding galleries, you want to see the wedding day from start to finish. You want to know how they handle venues like yours, such as a catholic church where there are strict photo rules or dark reception venues.
- Ask for reviews from other clients if you don’t see them on their website. Reviews show you first had other client’s experiences, if you don’t see any on their website check Facebook, Google, The Knot or Weddingwire.
- If they don’t have an FAQ page, check out this list of questions I put together.
Are they setting up expectations for you?
“It’s been months since our wedding, and I haven’t received my photos. I can’t even get a hold of them…My wedding photos are blurry…My photographer lost my photos…My photographer never showed up to the wedding… My wedding is this weekend and my photographer is sick and can’t make it…I haven’t heard from my wedding photographer in months and they won’t respond to my calls/emails are you available?”
Not hiring a professional wedding photographer is one of THE BIGGEST REGRETS couples say about their wedding. Don’t believe me? I’ve had family, friends and clients tell me stories like this. An old coworker of mine didn’t receive their wedding gallery until NINE MONTHS after their wedding, and it was his wife’s best friend who took the photos. That friendship was ruined because of it. My cousin told me about her sister in law’s wedding, and how the photographer dressed very inappropriately to the wedding and would just wander off and no one could find them. She doesn’t even show her photos to anyone and is embarrassed by them. I’ve had multiple couples end up booking me because they never heard from the person they booked in the first place or the photographer accidentally double booked themselves. I’m glad I was still available for their dates, but that isn’t always the case.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying you can’t find a good photographer for a decent and reasonable price. The point is that there will always be someone willing to do it cheaper, especially in the age where DSLR cameras are affordable for the average consumer. I’m all about deals but hiring a cheap photographer on one of the biggest days of your life isn’t the time. You should be looking for a photographer within your budget, and I totally get it’s difficult to stretch your budget for one that is a bit above. The point is to not underrate importance of your wedding photos when making your overall budget.
What you want to look for:
- Look for reviews from past clients. I know I’ve already said this, but it’s one thing that I will say over and over. Reviews are the one way to see what the client experience is with them.
- Look for prompt responses with emails/phone calls. The quicker the response time the better, but if they aren’t responding within 24 hours I would move on. You should feel like a priority for them not an afterthought.
- Look for information on their website about their client experience and clear expectations of what you’re going to receive.
What you want to ask:
- Ask if they offer payment plans with their wedding packages. Most photographers have no problem splitting up the total amount into more manageable payments for you.
- If they have packages listed and they don’t quite fit what you’re looking for ask if they offer custom packages to work with your budget/needs.
- Ask: how they handle if they are sick on your wedding day, how long it takes to get photos back, how many images will be in the gallery, what they wear to the wedding day, do they backup images, and any other questions that you’ve seen turn into issues with other couples.