Last week, my fiancé and I spent one evening posing, smiling, canoodling, jumping on each other’s backs, and generally invading each other’s personal space for a solid 90 minutes.
Yep, we spent the evening taking our engagement pictures.
Our photographer was actually one of the first vendors that I booked for our upcoming spring 2011 wedding. I solicited nominations on facebook and via E-mail and was bombarded with names and Websites and phone numbers. I thoughtfully researched each and every name I was given. Here’s what I found in the process:
Wedding Vendor Turn-Offs
Since I had so many photographers to sort through, I had to ruthlessly cut people off of the list of potentials. There were a couple instances where I didn’t even consider someone for hire:
- No Website: Hi there, Photographer. Let me welcome you to the 21st century. Here, you’ll find an abyss of information that us hipsters like to refer to as “the Internet”. Get familiar with it and get a Website. If you can’t handle that, start a blog for free on WordPress or Blogger. Anything! I want to be able to stalk you and size you up before I ever see you in person.
- No E-mail: So, we meet again, out-of-touch Photographer! I’d like to introduce to you a new form of communication called “electronic mail”. Get one or risk losing a LOT of clientele.
- No Prices: If there are not prices on your Website, I will not be calling you. No prices means one of two things: 1) you’re too expensive or 2) you’re not good at communicating your business with me up front. Next!
As ironic as it is, the wedding industry is heartless. Vendors play dirty so it’s up to us brides to fight back. If you can’t measure up to the bride’s wish list, you’re getting chopped. Buh-bye.
The First Impression
When I was first meeting with photographers, I was just trying to go cheap. I came across a newbie photog that would shoot our wedding for just $600. She was sweet, but it was immediately clear that she was also immature. She giggled uncontrollably and talked 90 MPH during our 2-hour long consultation, barely letting us – the clients – get a word in edgewise. We left the meeting numb, mentally exhausted, and trying to rationalize hiring her just to lock in a ridiculously cheap price.
Take note engaged-to-be-married couples: Your photographer will be with you for your entire wedding day. They’ll be with you so much that they might as well be your maid of honor/best man. Considering this fact, you have to enjoy spending time with your photog. If you leave a simple 2-hour meeting (that really should’ve been only 30-60 minutes) feeling unhappy and mentally exhausted, imagine how you’ll feel on the most important/most overwhelming day of your life. The two don’t form a winning combination.
After debating over the photographer for several days, I decided to bump up my price range and keep looking. That was the best decision I’ve ever made – at least as far as wedding planning is concerned.
Finding “The One”
I’m not implying that all photographers that don’t charge much are bad photographers, or that all good photographers have to be expensive. However, I think I was meant to meet with that first photographer to realize that some things are worth paying more money for.
My fiancé and I stumbled upon a different photographer a couple weeks later. He was recommended to me by a friend after I’d requested recommendations on Facebook. He wasn’t too much more expensive, but his work was undeniably better than any of the other photographers in the city. We set up a meet-and-greet with him and were sold within the first 5 minutes. His demeanor was calm, we clicked with him, he made us laugh, we made him laugh. It was the most perfect first date meeting. We signed with him that night without a second thought. We knew he was the one. Another piece of advice for you future brides: When you know, you just know.
After our 90 minute engagement session yesterday, I couldn’t be more happy with the decision to more than double my budget for my photographer (which was probably too low in the first place). We left the shoot feeling excited and happy. We had fun with our photographer. He made us feel comfortable and we laughed the whole time. You could tell he knew what he was doing and loved his work. We also felt like we got more than we paid for. We took pictures in the most unique areas – it wasn’t just cliché flowers and trees for our backdrops.
If our engagement session was that fun, I’m sure the wedding will be even more exciting. I know that splurging on a skilled and professional – yet fun – photographer was one of the best decisions I’ve made in this wedding planning process.
Did you splurge or go cheap on a photographer for your wedding? If you’re unattached, do you think you’d splurge on a photographer?
p.s. That’s not us in the photo above. Just some models. 🙂