You spend the majority of your day with your photographer, so you want to make sure you are finding someone you love. In a sea of photographers, how do you find the right one? Here are some questions to be asking to make sure you find someone you love, but also someone who is a legit business!
Find your style
I would start off by finding the style of photos you want. Do you want light and airy, more natural true to life, dark and moody? You want to find several photographers you like that fit the style you are looking for. If you are unsure of the style, that is ok. As a photographer, sometimes we don't even know how to describe our style perfectly.
Tips for finding vendors through Facebook
Facebook groups are a great way to find local vendors. Here are things to include in your post so that you are narrowing down your search and saving yourself a ton of time. You don't want to waste your time talking to vendors who don't fit your needs, so be SPECIFIC!
- Specify your date: You don't want to fall in love with someone who isn't even available on your date
- Specify your venue or location: Some photographers don't work throughout the entire state, so you want to ensure that you are looking through websites of people who will come to your venue
- Specify your budget: You can make this a range, for example $2,000-$3,000. But, having a budget ensures that you are only getting responses from people who fit within your price range
- Specify the amount of hours you want for said budget. You have a $2,000 budget, but is that for 4 hours or 12 hours? Because that may change who is in your budget
- I would make a note that you don't want people to message you. It can be very overwhelming to get a bunch of messages. This makes it easier to go through the comments and narrow down the photographers you are interested in before having to message with people
Questions about your photographer + their business
- Are you registered with the state? Do you have insurance?
- You want to ask these questions because you want to make sure you are going with a photographer that is legit and insured.
- What is your process from start to finish?
- Do you live in the state? There are a lot of travel photographers that may want to shoot your wedding. Even if they don't have travel fees, what happens if they can't get to your wedding because their flight is cancelled for example?
- Ask to see a full wedding gallery so you can see what to expect. Typically, you only see the best couple of photos from a wedding on photographers websites + social media
- If you have an indoor wedding, ensure that your photographer is comfortable with that. I would ask to see examples of indoor weddings galleries, as low lighting can be more challenging.
- Do they offer any additional resources for you? This could include planning help, timeline help, vendor recommendations etc
- If you are not doing engagement photos, will you be able to meet them before the wedding?
- What is their turnaround time for picture delivery?
- Will you get a sneak peek of your images? Often times, wedding photographers will send you a handful of images to have before the full gallery is sent
- Does your gallery include a flash drive of your images? If not, I would ask for one. It is always good to have a physical copy of your images
- Does the package include any prints or albums?
- Are you a part-time or full-time photographer?
- Check out their reviews on Google + Facebook
An associate photographer is someone who contracts to work under a main photographers brand. This is an important one to ask! The person you are talking to, will they be your photographer? Will they be at your wedding?
If the answer is no and you are ok with an associate photographer, find out who it will be and look at full galleries they have done before. The work you are seeing and their beautiful social media work is their work, not their associates work. You want to know what you are getting for your money.
You want to make sure that you know what your contract entails. These are things that should be in your contract. If they are not, make sure they are added so you are covered and the expectations are clear. No matter how big or small your budget it, a thorough contract should be signed. Just because you talked about it, doesn't mean it is in the contract. Please, make sure to read the contract.
- What is included in the package? Make sure everything that was specified is shown in the contract
- Delivery time: your contract should state what the turn around time for your photos is
- What is the deposit? What portion is non-refundable?
- When the remaining balance is due
- What is the cost per hour to add on additional hours. Is there an upcharge for day-of addition of hour
- Cancellation policy
- What is their policy if you need to change your date for any reason?
- What happens if your photographer fails to perform?
- If your photographer cannot be at your wedding for any reason, are they allowed to cancel? If the photographer cancels, is your deposit now refundable? Will they find a replacement for your wedding?
- If you got into a situation where a refund should be paid to you, how long does the photographer have to issue this refund?