Post # 1
Hey Ladies! I’m new to the boards, and I’ve got a question for you. How did you find your photographer? Was it through one of your other vendors, a friend’s recommendation, a photographer you knew, a magazine ad, a blog or somewhere else?
One of my FI’s friends is a great photographer who is offering to shoot our wedding for free. The only catch is that he’s never shot a wedding before. I’ve seen a lot of his other work (mostly graduation and school portraits and some landscape stuff) but I’m worried about hiring someone who has never done a wedding. Free is hard to pass up, especially because our budget is teeny tiny, but at the same time, I’ve been drooling over some magazine ads of other local photographers.
Has anyone used someone inexperienced and ended up with great pictures? Or has springing for the fancy photographer been worth it?
Post # 3
Google and local wedding boards. =) Ours was also the top photography contributor to our venue. So recommendations always help seal a decision.
Always be sure to meet with them first, conduct an informal interview, and take an extensive look at their past work.
While the photogs who are just starting off might offer great deals….just remember, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. You want someone who has some experience capturing the most important moments.
Post # 4
Photographers are very up there on priorities for me. I’ve searched countless wedding blogs, wedding websites (such as Knot, WB, WeddingWire, etc), local wedding websites, wedding photographer associations, photography associations.
One thing you can do is to accept your friends free photography services and hire a second professional wedding photographers for a couple hours for the key moments. Like ceremony, as your entering, etc. It’s an option. 🙂 I don’t know if your friend will get offended though?
Post # 5
We actually found ours because we won a free enagagment session with him at a bridal fair. He was a little more than we had budgeted for, but he was willing to work with us on our price and came down quite a bit from the sticker price.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to hire someone who doesn’t have direct experience with weddings. Just make sure that his style matches what you want. If he only does formal, posed photographs and you really want nothing but candids, it might be worth it to just hire someone. Good luck!
Post # 6
I found mine at a Wedding Show. She had a lot of her work on display. I went around, made a list of photographers I liked, took their price lists home, and then chucked out the ones I couldn’t afford (over 3500K for example. One guy was like 6K. Shoot, for 7K I could have had Anne Ruthmann! ha) and then looked up their online galleries. I narrowed it down to 2. Then I visited in person. The first place treated me poorly, had mediocre albums (so the best of the best was online and at the show but was not an accurate representation of their work) and then rushed me out when they accidentally double booked my appointment with another bride who’s father showed up waving a check book. I really loved my photographer’s work and her personality fit, too. I could explain what I wanted to her and she seemed to get it. I was still anxous about my decision until I get my E-photos back….all I can say is Wow. Best $2800 i’ve spent.
Post # 7
Thank you all so much for your help!
@Gerbera – That’s a great idea about looking into a second photographer. I hadn’t considered that before, and I really don’t think it would hurt my friend’s feelings.
@Mrs. Spring – I really do prefer candids over formal shots. I wonder if it would sound ungrateful to ask him to do bridals or engagement pics first, and if we like those, offer him money to do the actual wedding.
Post # 8
My photographer goes to my church. I actually didn’t know she was a photographer until she did my sister’s senior pictures last fall and did my friend’s engagement pictures.
Post # 9
Maybe you could ask him to do your e-pics by telling him that you can’t afford to have them done but you REALLY want them on display at your reception/in your house/whatever. E-pics are a lot less work than a whole wedding, and you can check out whether he fits into want you want as wedding hptotgrapher. Our e-pic session was how I fell in love with our photographer and what made us go back and hire him for the wedding.
If you like his e-pic work, great! You can say that fell in love with his pictures so much you want to hire him for the wedding. If you don’t like them, I would still say you liked his work. But maybe also mention that you already had someone else booked for the wedding and you feel like it’s too late to change.
Post # 10
we found our photogs by contacting a local photography school, and they sent the job listing (including our modest budget) to all their current students AND alums. we had tons of responses to sift through! some were students who’d never shot a wedding and some were professional photogs who’d been doing it for years. we found the perfect photog team that had wedding experience, but were just starting their company so really enthusiastic and looking for experience, and affordable.
Post # 11
If photography is really important to you, then I’d say don’t risk it. I think if he’s starting out, letting him be a second photographer so that he can get a wedding under his belt is a good idea. And I think the e-pics idea others have suggested is great!
I’m guessing that in Austin there are a lot of choices. In my case, I learned about some photographers through the local (Detroit) newspaper. They publish a yearly "best of". Then I got referrals from those whose websites I liked but were unavailable for other photographers of similar style/quality/price. And in my case I finally got referred to one photographer’s old friend/partner who was cross-country, but still it worked out for me. As someone suggested, you might also contact the art department at UT-A or a local art school. There may be students who’ve done weddings already.
Post # 12
Thanks, ladies! I think I’m going to go with the e-pics idea for now and see how it goes.
Post # 13
We hired a photographer that did a friends wedding we attended. We liked how they worked on the day of the wedding and we really loved their photos after. We figured, ah just an easy choice. Our experience ended up being just alright, so we kind of wish we had interviewed a few more.
Post # 14
I actually found ours on the WB boards! After a really bad experience with a photographer, I came here looking for a replacement and found our photographer, whom I LOVE! As for experience, I think it’s important to understand how they interact with people, so definitely do the e-pics first to get a feel for his style and personality.
Post # 15
A fellow Texan bride! Did you find yours on the local WB boards or from WB Pro? I’m definitely going to do the e-pics with our friend first, but I’d like to have some back-up candidates just in case. Or maybe just to show him what sort of style we like, although I wouldn’t want to offend him in any way.
Post # 16
I found mine from the reviews on Project Wedding. My FI at the time went through every single one in SoCal and she was our favorite.