When it comes time to book consultations with wedding photographers, it can be a bit daunting if you’re not certain what to expect or what to do. But the process is actually quite simple if you follow these five basic steps…
1. Know what you want.
Before you even start contacting photographers, make a list of the wedding photographs that are important to you and your fiancee. Do you want pre-ceremony photos? Ceremony only? Do you want posed shots with your wedding party, friends and family? Photos at the reception? A comprehensive list of the photos you want, will help you figure out how long to book your photographer.
When figuring out how much time you’ll need for your formal, posed wedding photos, factor 30 to 45 minutes for photos of just the bride and groom together. Then factor about 10 minutes per individual grouping of people in all of the family and wedding party shots. (10 minutes for photos with the groom’s parents, 10 minutes for photos of the bride and bridesmaids, 10 minutes for the whole wedding party together, etc.)
2: Know your budget.
It wastes your time and the photographer’s time if you meet with them and you’re not sure about exactly how much you’re prepared to spend on your wedding photography.
Before scheduling a wedding photography consultation, decide on a budget and have a general idea of how much time you want to book your photographer for. If you’re not sure, bring the list of your ‘must have’ photos to your consultation.
An important thing to consider: Things tend to run long and are rarely completely on schedule during your wedding day. Which is why it’s always better to plan on having your photographer there for a bit more time than you think you’ll need. About a 30-60 minute ‘buffer’ of time is highly recommended.
Be certain that you and your fiance are both in agreement about the two crucial details of ‘how much’ and ‘how long’ before you set up any meetings with photographers.
3: Schedule your consultations wisely.
Assuming that you’re arranging consultations with more than one photographer, it’s best to schedule all of your photographer meetings within the same day or two. Wedding photographers will offer you the courtesy of holding your date while you make your decision, but they can only hold that date for you for a few days or a week at most.
By booking your consultations within the same day or two, you guarantee that your wedding date is held by all of your potential photographers for a similar amount of time.
4: Prepare for your meeting.
During your consultation, a lot of information gets covered in a short amount of time. You want to be sure to ask all of the questions that are really important to you, so it’s a good idea to write a list out beforehand and bring it with you.
The photographer will have questions for you as well, so you’ll need to be ready with some information of your own. In particular, you’ll want to be able to give some details about the location and accessibility of your wedding and/or reception venue.
5: Trust your instincts, not your wallet.
If you’ve done your research, you’ll have only booked meetings with photographers who have good portfolios, who offer services, rates and photography styles that suit your needs. So the deciding factor will come down to who you’d most like to have as an integral part of your wedding day.
Sometimes you’ll know right away. But if you’re uncertain, ask yourself which photographer had a personality that seems well-suited to you and your fiance? Which photographer seemed the most competent, knowledgeable and trustworthy? Who seemed to be the most kind, considerate, polite and friendly?
Don’t make the mistake of simply choosing the person with the lowest rates. Choose the photographer who you feel will be the best fit for you, your fiance and for your wedding in general.
Tamea Burd is an eco-friendly photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in portraits, headshots and wedding photography. Her website: Tamea Burd Photography