Today, I want to talk to y'all about those ultra-important people you will hire to make your wedding day EXTRA special: photographers, florists, caterers, D.J.'s, limo companies, etc. Well, mainly I want to talk about the most important one, your photographer(s).
Wedding photography is such an expansive industry that seems to grow by the minute! No matter where you live, no doubt, you will have dozens of photographers in your area to choose from. Photographers come in all along the budget-and, let's be honest, talent-spectrum. But regardless of the cost, isn't your choice of vendor in this area where you should be less concerned with money and more concerned with things like credibility, likeability, work ethic, and portfolio? Now, I'm not saying you should completely blow your budget on one area of the wedding planning or book the most prestigious photog in your area just because they are available for your date!
Although it's tempting when you see images like these. (Salvatore Cincotta is a fabulous photographer in St. Louis)
I digress. Like I said, there are fantastic photographers in every price range, who will work with you to create the wedding album of your dreams! But for each handful of the great ones, there's a few bad apples that you have to be aware of. So...in the hopes of preventing such a tragedy as having wedding photos you hate, I am going to share my own tips for hiring the right photographer (or any vendor) along with some hindsight.
- DO NOT hire someone based on price!
- Maybe you're saying "DUH!" or maybe you're like I was and just wanting to stay under budget. Either way, if it seems too good to be true, 95% of the time, it is.
- DO NOT hire the first person you meet with!
- In order to make a completely informed decision, meet with at least 3 vendors in each category. Compare them and then choose the right one for you.
- Go with your gut!
- If your head is telling you one thing and your heart, another, go with your heart! Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Also, on that note, remember in school when your teachers said don't change your answers on tests because the first one you picked is usually right? Same rule applies here.
- Do your research!
- Don't be afraid to ask for references. Read letters of reccomendation they may have available or ask for contact information and talk to past clients for yourself. Check out their website thoroughly, look through past sessions they've completed and read any reviews you can find!
Now on to my own experience...let's just say it was bad. Disclaimer: I am not here to bash the photographer we hired, nor am I going to release any names. I chose her. I made the decision.
I am guilty of disobeying my own above rules. And I definitely paid the price. We hired a family friend (mistake #1) because she charged so little (mistake #2). I spent very little time looking at her portfolio (mistake #4) and I even cancelled the contract I had with the photographer we hired 3 months prior to save money (mistake #5). I cried for weeks after getting the pictures back because I was so disappointed and there was nothing I could do to change it.
Moving forward, I learned a very valuable lesson to pass on to all of you fabulous readers!
So I will leave you all with this lovely shot from our wedding. Try not to laugh.
I don't even like to look at it. Can you say awkward?