I get it. Inquiring with vendors is tough! It can take days to sift through all the different styles and personalities. Even after you decide what you’re looking for, how do you know this company is the right fit for you? So, I’m going to break it down for you. I’ll have several different posts featuring different vendors to help you know exactly what to say when inquiring and what to ask! Here are 5 questions to ask your wedding photographer before hiring him/her!
How do I even inquire?
To start, avoid sending inquiries to multiple vendors at the same time. I know you’re wanting to compare, but this is an easy way to get overwhelmed very quickly. Instead, do a bit of research and inquire with your actual favorite photographer first. If they don’t respond or you aren’t in love with their response in 24 hours, move on to the next on your list. How do you know your favorite photographer? Spreadsheets are always my go to!
Start with budget. Most photographers will only list starting price on their websites, so cross them off if they exceed your budget. Pro tip, instead of setting an exact budget, start with a range. For example, my budget is 3k, but I’m willing to spend 4k if I feel like the photographer is the perfect fit. That will give you some flexibility if you fall in love with someone who is a bit out of your budget. Along the same lines, if your max budget is 4k, cross off anyone who is starting at 5k. Unless you are willing to adjust your budget, inquiring with them will only lead to disappointment from both parties.
Next, look at style. What type of images are you drawn to? Do you love candid photos where you can tell the couples are having fun or do you like more vogue-type posing. Do you want your photos to look true-to-color or do you like the light/airy or dark/moody feel. Write this down each photographer’s style on your spreadsheet and see what style comes up the most often.
The final thing to look at is personality. Do you want someone who seems down to earth or maybe someone a bit more serious? Maybe you want an animal lover who always is posting pictures of her cats (hint, hint). Write all this down, so you’ll remember who the person is before you even send the contact form.
After you’ve done your research, be sure to look at each photographer’s website thoroughly. Scroll through their blog of past weddings. Do you identify with the type of clients they work with? If there’s anything that turns you off or you think ‘I would love this if this was edited differently or if the pose was slightly different,’ they might not be the right fit for you. Most photographers won’t change their style to fit your taste, so it’s best to find someone who you are obsessed with from the very beginning.
Ok, so you found your dream photographer and you’ve reached their contact form! Yay! Now, what do you say?
Here’s a quick and easy inquiry template for you to copy and paste! Be sure to customize it first!
“Hey, PHOTOGRAPHER. I came across your work on SOURCE and fell in love. I’m obsessed with THEIR STYLE (the way your couples look so comfortable, your true to life editing, your work at my venue, etc). We’re looking for a photographer who WHATEVER YOU WANT (is great at making the groom feel comfortable, who is super organized and will keep you on track, etc). A bit about us: WHATEVER YOU DO (Keep this short, something like we love hiking with our dog or binging tv. If you found a connection point in their website copy, mention it here!). Our wedding will be INSERT WEDDING STYLE (super fun and filled with our best friends dancing until midnight, romantic and full of love, etc). I can’t wait to hear from you soon! Feel free to PREFERRED WAY OF CONTACT (text me, email me, call me) when you can! Thanks!”
That’s it! You don’t need to write a book, although there is nothing wrong with giving more information than needed!
You’ve Inquired. Now What?
Whatever you do, please don’t ghost. If you get their email back and you don’t love what they have to say, let them know you decided to go another direction but appreciate their response. If the package you want is out of your budget, please say so instead of not responding! A lot of photographers will still try to work with you. Most photographers will try to quickly move you into the consultation phase, so if you have any questions that could be deal breakers, be sure to ask before you meet. Don’t waste your time on a call if you don’t think it will be a good fit. Ask clarifying questions!
For example, so your package 3 includes BLANK but we want BLANK. Is that possible to swap out? Or, you mentioned you like working with BLANK type of couple, we’re the opposite. Would that be an issue? Or, you said all your clients have a first look. We really don’t want a first look. Is it possible to figure out a different type of timeline?
You Set Up the Consult. Now What?
You’ll really get a sense of who the photographer is during the consult. Let them take charge at the beginning and hold your questions until the end. They’ll be using the first few minutes to figure out who you are and if you will be a good fit. The consultation is as much about the photographer getting along with you as it is you getting along with them.
So, they said the spiel and asked if you have any questions. You want to use this time to figure out if they’re a true professional and know what they’re talking about. What should you say?
- Are you licensed and insured? If they say no, they are not a true professional.
- If you haven’t shot at our venue before, do you plan on checking it out or arriving a few minutes early to get the lay of the land? The answer should always be yes. If I haven’t shot at a very before, I do extensive research online and find all the pictures and videos I can plus I always arrive at least 30 minutes early.
- How do you back up images? Do you carry backup equipment? How long do you keep the images after the gallery is delivered? If they don’t back up in multiple places and carry multiple cameras, move on
- Can you give me an example of how you pose/work on the day of? If you want someone who is a fly on the wall, but they are very hands on, it might not be the best fit. If you’re awkward in front of the camera (we all are), you might want someone who is very good at direction.
- Can I see a full gallery? This is important to see how they handle all lighting situations. A lot of photographers can shoot during the day, so you want to pay close attention to their reception shots.
That’s it! Follow these steps and ask these questions to make sure you lock in your perfect photographer! Stay tuned next week to learn about questions you should ask your videographer!