What does your wedding photography really mean to you?
So I have been seeing it a lot lately. You know the Daily Mail articles, the Facebook posts.... The devastated couples who had their wedding photographer let them down. Awful photos, didn't show up, left early, blocked them, not responding. It's heartbreaking.
All these couples had one thing in common they wanted the most special day of their lives together documented. A record for their family history, something to show their children and treasure forever.
Now this post isn't going to be a pricing post. I have no interest in using my blog to slag off cheaper photographers and justify my own prices. I know my worth and they know theirs. What I want this to be is a post that makes you the couple think beyond the price. Every couple is different and working with different budgets. I have couples book me who are on a shoestring budget and couples where no expense is spared. HOWEVER they all have one thing in common. They have total faith in me as their wedding photographer and want amazing memories of their wedding day.
So this post is going to be about you the couple planning your big day and working out exactly what your wedding photography means to you. Because although yes these low life photographers letting couples down are very much to blame for taking advantage, they are awful and they make me furious BUT there is some blame with the couples who booked them. One bride I saw booked this photographer who didn't show up, she had booked them over Facebook messenger including paying over messenger something I didn't even know you could do!!!! Why on earth would you book someone over Facebook messenger?? No contract, no address, she didn't see any full weddings. Very little care was put into booking her wedding photographer.
Which makes me question, what did her wedding photos really mean to her?
That's what you need to ask yourself.
Only when you can answer that can you begin your search. Not everyone with a good camera has the skill and passion of a true creative job loving wedding photographer. We are miles apart from the people who want to scam couples getting married. You see this job isn't easy, long nights editing, weekends away from family, marketing, answering emails at 10pm, our business is never far from our minds. Why?? Because we bloody love it. Our couples wedding photography means the world to us.
And we want to work with couples who's wedding photography means the world to them as well. And I believe that applies to pretty much all couples getting married. See the scam artists know better, you the couple don't. So although the way these 'photographers' get business is madness to me, I have to remind myself that I know my business, I know my industry. I can spot a scammer from a mile off. Couples out there don't know my business or my industry. On the whole most have never booked a professional wedding photographer in their lives. However research and education is a plenty. And it's up to you the couple to take the time to get the information to make the right choice. There is plenty out there.
So what do you need to look for? These points are regardless of price. If the photographer you are speaking to hasn't got these basic things walk away.
INSURANCE: Public liability and professional indemnity. No professional wedding photographer taking your money should be operating without this.
CONTRACT: Again if they don't work with a contract outlining your working agreement walk away.
ADDRESS & CONTACT NUMBER: Doesn't matter if it's a home address lots of us have home offices. It beggars belief though when I see the posts of disappointment and all the couple had was a series of FB messages. All my details are on the invoice I send my clients when they decide to book.
FULL WEDDINGS TO VIEW: Ask to see at least two. I tend to send three. This is where you will get a feel for their work in full. It takes skill to deliver 400+ quality images. Is their work and style consistent? Editing consistent? Does the work make your heart soar and fill you with excitement about the possibility of this person shooting your wedding?
COMMUNICATION: A lot can be told about the communication before booking. Do they have a professional email? Fast response (within a day) or taking forever to get back to you? Do they come across as knowledgeable and passionate? Are they open and happy to answer your questions? Do they want to meet up (if local) or have a proper chat on the phone or via Skype? Do they make you feel comfortable and confident?
Taking the time to gather that information to help your decision will pay off in the long run. Wedding planning is stressful and time consuming but if your wedding photography means anything to you at all you will make time for this. Because ultimately it's not just 'wedding photography' that title won't have any emotional impact on you, it's just another thing on the list to do. Having your memories collected, curated and presented in a beautiful way to be treasured forever will touch on the emotional impact your wedding photos will have.
Because the thing with wedding photos is they become worth more and more as time goes on. So choosing a wedding photographer shouldn't just be a financial investment but a time one as well.
You only get to live this day once.