When planning a wedding, there are sooo many chooses to make. So choosing a wedding photographer, or any wedding vendor, is a potential stressful occasion. If you already know a wedding photographer, Great! It should make your decision pretty easy. What if you don’t know a wedding photographer? To help you out, we partnered with Melissa Brewer with Melissa Brewer Photography in Columbia SC. Below are her 4 tips for choosing a wedding photographer.
1.) Let your photographer know what you mean when you say “I’m working with a budget.” Budget means different things to different people, and many photographers have different rates depending on the day of the week (weddings not on a Saturday are often less expensive), whether or not it’s a venue they would love to shoot at, or the length of the wedding. I, for one, like to customize collections for my couples, and offer payment plans to make it more affordable. Knowing what they mean by budget is crucial.
Another tip that fits between 1 and 2: GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. You want to make sure your photographer is insured, has legal contracts in place to protect both of you, uses professional equipment and has backup plans in place in case of emergency, and invests in their business. A photographer who doesn’t invest in their business isn’t invested in your photos. Websites, marketing, and professionalism cost money, so their prices may be higher than your friend with a camera or someone who is less experienced, but it is worth every penny. Your wedding dress will be worn once, the food will be forgotten once it is eaten, and the party will last only a few hours. Your photos, however, last FOREVER. These memories cannot be replaced once the day is over. Invest in memories you’re confident you’ll be happy with!
2.) Make sure your photographer is experienced in WEDDINGS. Just because they can shoot amazing commercial photography or portraits, does not mean they are equipped or prepared to handle a wedding day. Your photographer should have studied under other photographers before taking on a wedding as primary photographer. Feel free to ask your photographer about how much experience they have, or ask to see a full gallery or two!
3.) It’s a great idea to meet your photographer in person to see how your personalities vibe! I love to take potential clients out for coffee (my treat) when they are ready to book. Of course, if my client lives out of state or cannot meet, I’m happy to talk on the phone or via Skype as well! I’ll just send the coffee gift card in the mail.
4.) Look past the first four pages of Google or The Knot listings. Look to see who your friends or family have used, and contact those photographers if you love their work! Don’t worry if the photographer is based outside of your immediate area. I travel within 150 miles of my home for weddings all the time, because I love Greenville, Asheville, and the Lowcountry as well as Columbia, SC weddings!