Wedding planning experts suggest that your first order of business after getting engaged is: set your date, book your venue, then book your photographer. Sometimes you will book your venue first, and that will determine your date. In either case, the very next thing is to book your photographer. Why? Because chances are, your date is 12 months or less away, and your favorite photographers are getting booked at least 6 to 12 months out, and many times 12 to 18 months out.
You might think, “But there are so many photographers out there, I’m sure to find SOMEONE available,” and that’s true; however, not all photographers are the same. And the best ones are booking well in advance. Now you might wonder, what makes a photographer better? And, how important is it that I have a good photographer at my wedding?
Well, here are some of our thoughts in answer to those questions… What makes a photographer better can be summarized in 3 words: Experience, Professionalism, and Personal Connection. We believe the question of why you should have a good photographer at your wedding will be answered by reviewing what makes a photographer better. Experience is important, of course, because it is what ensures your photographer will get all the important shots of the day, will give you beautiful & consistent results from start to end, and will be able to easily adapt to whatever happens during the day (the expected AND unexpected, which ALWAYS happens!). Experience is what gives your photographer confidence, flexibility, and the ability to be more creative. An experienced photographer will give you a delightful variety of images and match the styles of imagery you like best, while being sure to also give you a complete body of work that meets the critical expectations of not just you as the bride or groom, but of ALL your closest family and friends! When you meet with prospective photographers, do not be shy about asking directly: how long have you been photographing weddings professionally? Our recommendation is to look for photographers with at least 5 years of professional wedding experience, or at least 20 weddings under their belt. We have photographed over 200 weddings over 15 years, and we can tell you, there is nothing like actual wedding photography experience for building consistency, confidence & adaptability into a wedding photographer.
Professionalism is SO important and it comes with not just a disciplined & committed work ethic, but also with experience! Professionalism means your photographer is able to conduct business with you easily, conveniently and with integrity. We love this definition of professionalism: the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well. You want to be treated with courtesy & respect, to be able to rely on your photographer to exercise good judgment and skillfully take care of you from the interview & booking process, through all your photography sessions & wedding day, all the way to delivering your final product. Yes, you want gorgeous pictures! But you also want professionalism from your photographer! And you know what? The more you’re able to see your photographer’s professionalism at work during your interview, the happier you can expect to be when your final images & products are delivered. Professionalism means your photographer is on time or better yet early to appointments, has as an easy/convenient contracting & payment system, writes out the details of services, keeps all appointments, and ensures your complete satisfaction throughout your experience with him/her. It also means your photographer uses reliable equipment, software and other current technology & processes, has back ups, and knows what to do in every situation.
The third important thing we want to stress to you is Personal Connection. Note that we did not indicate price. Not that price isn’t something you need to consider, but it should NOT drive your final decision! You absolutely need to have a budget for professional photography. Just like you are paying for a quality venue, with good food, and a nice dress, beautiful flowers, etc, it should go without saying that your best chances of truly reliving and enjoying all of your investment into your wedding day, will be in having amazing & fabulous pictures of every detail and emotion of your day! You should expect to pay AT LEAST $2,000 for basic professional photography. More, depending on what you want included in your wedding package, and which photographers you are thinking about for your wedding.
Okay, that was a little tangent. Back to Personal Connection. It’s the third most important thing after experience & professionalism because you absolutely want and need to have rapport with your photographer. After all, they are spending the most important day of your life (up to that point anyway) standing just feet away from you ALL DAY! You want to feel that you relate well to each other, that there is a mutual understanding, even a bond. In today’s busy busy world, we are seeing more and more that couples are willing to book photography over the internet without even meeting first. That can be fine, and as far as we are concerned, we are instantly your friend and bonded and committed to you and giving you our very best, the moment we first “meet” online and whether or not we ever meet you before your wedding day! But we would recommend, that if you can, meet your prospective photographers first. At least 2 different photographers, and see if you can feel the difference in the Personal Connection you feel with them. Be sure to do a save the date and/or engagement session with your photographer as well. A good photographer will build that session into your wedding package because it’s so important to work together & deepen the connection between you before wedding day.
We can tell you that our heart is to be personally connected to our clients. We want to feel, share, and experience together our mutual commitment to creating and delivering the BEST & MOST BEAUTIFUL images possible to you, our client and our friend!
Whether or not you are thinking of using us to photograph your wedding, ask us any questions, any time. We are here to help you have a better wedding photography experience! Comment below or contact us to share your thoughts and questions. Happy Wedding Planning!
Dream Big & Love Well,
~Rick & Teresa Anderson