What brides wish photographers knew…

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
Member
6273 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

I wish photogs didn’t assume we all wanted the same thing. I love my photog, but recently he sent us a suggestion for an engagement shot location, and it was very…..Pinteresting. Now I am struggling with how to tell him we want something more unique and less cookie-cutter without offending him or hurting his feelings.

While I was shopping photogs, one thing that really ticked me off was the music on the websites! You might like jazz or dubstep, but I am trying to concentrate on the pictures. Some of us are shopping photogs at work in our free time, and a blast of canned music on a website can distract coworkers as well.

While we are on the topic, price is important but it’s more important to have it listed on the website. Any photog who did not have package prices listed I either assumed that they were too expensive or else that they gave different prices to different people based on superficial factors like ring size or type of car.I don’t think I even contacted anyone who didn’t give some indication of what it would cost.

Lastly, please don’t call it an “investment.” An investment is something that can be sold later, usually at a profit. Once I spend the $ on photography, that money is gone–no one is going to pay for my old wedding pictures in 20 years unless I become very famous. “Price” “Packages” and “Cost” all convey the same idea without being pretentious.

Post # 4
Member
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

1. ala carte

2. Valua, Quality and Personality

3. Nothing!  Just do your job, no extra comments needed!

4. Did not, but my MUA brought me a single rose which was much appreciated 🙂

5. My photog wasn’t very experienced so I probably shouldn’t answer that one.

P.S. Don’t have a second shooter if every single one of their pics is going to suck, I hate that I paid for basically 40 extra shots, none of which I’ve used from the 2nd shooter.

Post # 6
Member
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

1. I prefer the option fo a la carte unless the packages are a great deal (and I saw some that were!)

2. The most important thing for me was quality of artwork. Second was the photographer’s personality. Pictures were very important to me. Speed is almost a non issue. What’s the use of having the photos 1 week after the wedding if they are crappy? As long as I have a timeline for when they will be recieved upfront, I’m good. I wasn’t too worried about price within reason. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. I don’t expect them to have any suggestions other than what is necessary to make the pictures work out, though I will turn to them for first look ideas, etc.

4. We aren’t married yet, but a friend used my photographer and there are no presents, just REALLY AWESOME PHOTOS. Packaged cute, of course.

5. We selected a professional photographer for many reasons. I wanted someone who was a full time photographer, not a hobbyist. Years of experience were also important to me – I wanted them to have experienced a variety of situations – shooting weddings is a tricky business. Professional equipment was a must as well. The experience to pose photographs without that awkward “hold the pose” look was also a must.

The biggest thing for me though – I wanted to hire a photographer who knew how to capture beautiful, candid moments without relying on running everything through a Style Me Pretty filter. That might be cute right now, but I wanted gorgeous, true color images that would stand the test of time, and that were attractive and artistic without being washed out, yellowish tinged, tilted and with a sun flare.

Post # 7
Member
11712 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

1) We looked for packages that were customizeable.  We also wanted a la carte options that we could add to packages that fit us best (extra hours, albums, parent albums, photos on disc, etc).  If someone had a cookie cutter package and no other options, we decided it wasn’t worth our time trying to make our day fit into their schedule, rather than vice versa.

2) The quality mattered the most to me, hands down.  Price was also important, but since these are the only lasting images of my wedding, I was willing to pay a sizeable amount.  One photographer quoted me $10,000 for a package and I thought that was outrageous – on dollar amount alone, but also because his skillset was absolutely not up to charging that kind of money.

3) I hired my photographer as an expert in taking photos – and not for anything else. I relied on her only to take beautiful photos and to be where she was supposed to be on time.  I hired a coordinator for timeline and scheduling.  My schedule was shared with the photographer so she knew what I expected.

4) My photographer did not send us a gift, and if she did, I would have thought it was weird and overkill.

5) I would not hire a student photographer for my wedding, regardless of the cost savings.  On the most important day of my life, I wanted an experienced professional handling the photos, and I would not have had the trust in a student that I did in my photographer.  Beautiful photos and good quality prints/albums were more important to me than saving some money on a cheaper student photographer.

Post # 8
Member
7070 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

1. A la carte

2. Price and quality are most important to me. I’d rather wait an extra month than have subpar photos. Having someone that can make me feel at ease in front of the camera is big too.

3. My photographer was actually very helpful regarding timelines, when things would happen, how long certain things would take, etc and I really appreciated it. She also had a lot of recommendations to help me get the most photos without having to keep her there all night (first look, cake cutting before dinner, etc).

4. No special gift but I probably wouldn’t care.

5. Portfolio is all that really matters to me. I don’t care if your camera is 5 years old as long as you can take beautiful photos.

Post # 9
Member
2164 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@jenfur:  

A package was great for us, but flexibility is also really important.  Be willing to work with a couple if they don’t need some of the “extras” in a package (like if they want e-pics and wedding, but don’t want whatever print or album comes with the package).

Please list your prices!  It’s not difficult to reach out to you, but I was much more likely to do so if I already had a good idea of what I was getting into.

It was really helpful that my photographer gave us a timeline based on the photos we told her we wanted.  You know how fast you’ll be able to get through pictures- we don’t.  Don’t be afraid to make suggestions, but also don’t assume you know what we want.  My photog asked us for a list of moments we wanted to capture.  I know that we don’t have to tell you to make sure you get all of the little details, but it is nice when you check with us to make sure we get all of the things we want captured.  

When I chose my photog, what mattered most to me was the quality of the pictures and the connection we had.  I felt like if I didn’t like the person behind the camera, they wouldn’t adequately capture the wedding.  I also wanted to make sure that the photography style matched what I wanted my wedding pictures to look like.  I wanted a more candid, storytelling style, so I wouldn’t have chosen a photographer with a ton of posed photos.  

Our photographer did give us a gift.  It was very sweet, two mugs and some tea.  However, we don’t use it.  One thing we did like was the referral program- we referred our photog to some friends getting married, and now we have a credit to use on something else. That is something we will definitely take advantage of!

Post # 10
Member
8418 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

1) What are you looking for in a wedding package? Do you prefer a package or ala carte approach?

I wanted full day, 2 photographers, print release and all the images on DVD with the prints/albums being a la carte.  My photography package also included 2 free shoots (bridal, boudoir, or engagement)

2) What matters most? Price, Value, Quality of artwork, Speed, Personality of photographer? (You can pick more than one, but please prioritize them!)

Reliability/reputation was the most important, followed by artistic style/quality, price/value, personality and speed.

3) What do you depend on your photographer on outside of taking photos & making you look good, if at all? (Timeline & Other Suggestions?)

Outfit suggestions (for boudoir and engagement shoots), poses, suggested photos (i.e. wedding party, parents, etc), photography timeline

4) For those of you who have already selected & used a photographer, did they send you a special gift? What was it? Did it make you feel special or did you think it was wasted effort?

My photographer sent out our dvds in handmade sleeves which was a nice touch.  However, it’s her quality of work that would make me recommend her to other friends/family.  However, if you consider the free photoshoots as part of her “gift” then I would say the “gift” was a deciding factor as to why we chose her.

5) What qualities help you decide that a professional photographer is worth more than a student photographer? (Examples: Equipment, years of experience, quality of work, professionalism – feel free to share many ideas)

Experience, reputation and reliability. 

Post # 11
Member
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

This is strictly from a client’s point of view.  These are great questions!

1) A la carte, starting with 1 or 2 basic packages (ex. Half day (4-5hr) or All day (10-12 hr) shoot with thumbdrive of 500 edited files and access to ordering prints online.  Optional add-ons could be 2nd shooter, prints, albums, engagement session, extra edited files, etc)

2) Starting with most important: VALUE.  We chose ours by weighing price with quality of artwork.  If we had an unlimited budget, of course quality of artwork would rank highest.  But we weren’t willing to sacrifice quality, either, so we went with the best quality for a price at which we could sleep at night.  The personality of the photographer is nice, but we mainly wanted someone with whom we were comfortable (which means they didn’t have to be super warm or gregarious).  I didn’t care about speed unless it was over 2 to 3 months to get photos back – I was more concerned about my pictures being the best they could possibly be.

3) We gave him a timeline and asked for his input, not the other way around.  But we did exactly as he said during the traditional shots regarding how we should group people and where to place various limbs and where to look.  Somehow he made most of us look very natural.

4) No special gift; just a very short but kind handwritten thank you note in a pretty box in which our proof prints were provided.  I thought it was a nice touch and it wasn’t overkill.

5) Professionalism was key – I HATED it when other vendors took forever to respond or were super casual in their communication.  Our photog would get back to us within 24 hours, and always with complete answers (rather than 3-word answers that required us to ask more questions).  I guess this is also in line with reliability.  He also had examples of his product at our off-site meeting, and he consulted us on how he should dress.  Quality of work is next.  Years of experience was not as important, but we did ask him this question.  We never asked him about equipment, but his website had a list of his gear along with the statement that he only shoots in RAW.

Post # 12
Member
1175 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@jenfur:  

!.  ala carte 

2.  Quality of work, professionalism, value.  Her work is phenominal.  Her price was on the higher end for one shooter.  But I liked her photo-journalist approach.

3.  Timeline.  Our photographer has sent us a timeline.  Which I really appreciate because I don’t know what travel times are needed and such for our DW.  She has also been really helpful in selecting other vendors, most importantly she hooked me up with the best hair and MUA in the area for our day.  She has also been very descriptive on what editing consists of.  

4.  We have not used her services yet.  But everything I have recieved so far has been very top notch, and professional.  Nothing is final until she recieves my stamp of approval.  She communicates often, and is prompt in returning calls and emails.  All contracts have come very nicely and professionally done.

5.  What sold me the most besides her obvious talent.  Was having an opportunity to view the shots of her getting the shots.  I like to see what is going on behind the scenes, and her website shares many behind the scene shots.  I wanted someone who was not shy, or reluctant to try something, or go places out of the ordinary to get the shot.  Personality.   She is super friendly, and although I have not met her in person, of all my vendors I like talking to her the most.  

Post # 13
Member
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@jenfur:  

1) What are you looking for in a wedding package? Do you prefer a package or  ala carte approach?

I knew roughly what I wanted.  If it came in a package, I was okay with that, but I didn’t like the idea of paying for stuff I didn’t want.  So a la carte is probably preferable, but a package would be okay if you’re up to tailoring it somewhat for each client.  I guess base packages with options to add/delete stuff would be ideal.

I wanted rights to the photos without watermarks, etc.

2) What matters most? Price, Value, Quality of artwork, Speed, Personality of  photographer? (You can pick more than one, but please prioritize them!)

Quality and experience.  I obviously had a budget, but seeing as it was the most important aspect of the wedding to me (aside from the marriage of course), I wasn’t about to cheap out and sacrifice quality.  By experience, I mean someone who shoots the style I wanted (photojournalistic), but also someone who did not need me to guide them through the day.  I wanted them to be in the background doing their thing and I didn’t want to worry about them shooting important moments. 

I wanted a photographer who knew about lighting, and poses, and how to budget time for photos.  I also appreciated suggestions when I asked for them.

3) What do you depend on your photographer on outside of taking photos &  making you look good, if at all? (Timeline & Other Suggestions?)

To know her profession.  I’m hiring a professional photographer assuming they know how long taking shots will take, what the best lighting is, what poses are more flattering, etc.  I did not want to have to be responsible for hand-holding the photographer with poses, etc.  Too much stuff for me to have to plan and think about.

4) For those of you who have already selected & used a photographer, did  they send you a special gift? What was it? Did it make you feel special or did  you think it was wasted effort?

No special gift.  I don’t feel like I missed out.  We received our photos on a dvd which was in a fabric wrapped box with a ribbon and one printed photo.  That was nice enough I think.

5) What qualities help you decide that a professional photographer is worth  more than a student photographer? (Examples: Equipment, years of experience,  quality of work, professionalism – feel free to share many ideas)

Quality of the work.  I wanted to see many weddings shot before mine.  I really don’t care what equipment you have (who am I to judge?  I know nothing about photography equipment), I just want to be confident that you will be able to take the types of photos I’m interested in having.  I will judge by your previous work.

I will also probably judge you based on how timely you respond to my emails/phone calls (I prefer email).  Obviously stuff comes up and you could be busy, but I like to know that my queries were at least read and that you will get back to me.  I want to be confident that you’re really going to show up on my wedding day and not flake out.  So that would be reliability I guess.

 

And of course – anything else that you wish photographers offered, please  share!

I agree with PPs.  I want to see prices on your website.  Even ballpark, or packages starting at …  I don’t want to waste your or my time inquiring about your services when you’re too far off from my budget to even be considered.

I also don’t like the term “investment”.  I know photography is expensive, the term “investment” doesn’t need to be used to make me feel better about spending a bunch of money.  It just sounds condesending or something, like I otherwise wouldn’t know that it’s expensive.  But I’m being picky here, I wouldn’t cross you off my list if you used this term but I love your previous work.

I also don’t care about the turnaround time for the photos.  Just be honest with me, don’t tell me I’ll have them in a month, when you really will take 3.  Then I’ll be annoyed and/or think you just bailed or forgot about me.  I get that photographers are busy during the summer. 

Post # 14
Member
2657 posts
Sugar bee

1) I prefer a la carte because I already had a good idea of the items I wanted when I started contacting photographers.

2) Quality of artwork was most important because FI does photography as a hobby and notices a lot of the technical elements in a photo.   Value was second most important, and personality after that.  I spoke with several photographers who I just didn’t connect with, but we immediately hit it off with ours.

3) I don’t depend on her per se, but she has given very helpful suggestions, particularly about the timeline.  We’re doing a backyard wedding and she has also made good suggestions about how we can do lighting to get the best photos.

4) I did not receive a gift and don’t think it would be necessary for me.

5) Professionalism for sure.  One photographer I contacted was in their first year of business and their lack of experience showed.  They never answered my questions and would call me at times I specifically told them not to.  There’s no way I could have tolerated working with them if I had booked them.

One other thing that I loved about our photographer was she shared samples from weddings with similar settings, times of year, and guest lists, including a couple of backyard weddings.  It really helped me understand what she can offer for our specific event and I felt very confident booking her.

Post # 15
Member
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

1) I thought a package approach was easiest to figure out. I also ruled out any photographers that didn’t have their pricing on their website or did not provide it (as requested) in my initial email.

2)Price + Quality = Value, in my eyes. I was also looking for overall professionalism, someone who makes this their livelihood, someone who thinks weddings are awesome, has serious equipment and the technical smarts to have a nice website and MOST importantly, backups upon backups of files. I appreciated that my photographer was always quick with email/texts and got our photos to us well before the contracted timeline. I liked that she was a sponsor of the site A Practical Wedding and had signed their “sanity pledge.”

3) I appreciated how she made my family, friends, and the other wedding vendors feel very comfortable. She melted into the background most of the time, but was well-spoken and friendly when she needed to engage. Her timeline was really helpful and she worked with our coordinator to create a grand day-of timeline. 

4) When we were in the final month or so before our wedding, she sent us a card and a gift certificate to encourage us to go on a date and NOT talk about the wedding. So sweet. She did send us about 30 of her favorite printed photos and a bottle of champagne to drink as we looked over them together! Totally unexpected and lovely.

5) All of those. I wanted to make sure my photos were amazing and that our photographer would be reliable. While a student photographer could certainly offer those things, a successful full-time business and references to demonstrate that they produce high quality work.

Post # 16
Member
3442 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

1) What are you looking for in a wedding package? Do you prefer a package or ala carte approach? I would much prefer a photographer who offered both a variety of packages at different price points, but also offered ala cart services. For instance, having a package with 6hrs wedding day coverage & a 2hr engagement shoot, a 4hr wedding day package with 1hr engagement shoot, & then having ala cart options that a budget bride can choose alone or as an add-on to an existing package, like an hourly rate for engagement, boudoir, wedding day, & trash the dress shoots. One thing that would also be incredibly helpful to potential clients is if you write a section explaining a bit about your creative eye/editing style & also information like how many pics the client can expect per hour of shoot time (obviously it ranges, but give a min & max number) & options available for a second shooter.

 

2) What matters most? Price, Value, Quality of artwork, Speed, Personality of  photographer? (You can pick more than one, but please prioritize them!) Ultimately I think the most important thing is quality of artwork. At the end of the day it’s what the photographer is hired for, & the better your work, the more likely I am going to be to beg, borrow, & steal (not really that last part lol)  to get that photographer. Second would be value/price (I feel that they go hand in hand). If the best photographer around charges a literal arm & leg, I would have to pass on using them just because the value piece of the puzzle is missing. I don’t expect somebody to give away their services, but price should be considered & logically matched to quality of the artist eye. Next would be personality of the photographer. Frankly, I would want to be working with an artist who clicks with me & is able to understand the look I am trying to achieve. I would also want a photographer that is willing to work within my budget to provide more fancy edits than is typical (I wanted a ton, personally), & who is also willing to edit to the degree I want (some brides want the perfect skin edits, or the backfat edits, & some people prefer the pics to mostly be raw). Speed is basically not even a factor. As long as I have a somewhat reasonable timeline (within 7 weeks) I wouldn’t midn the wait if all the other items on my photographer wishlist have been checked off.  Provide a better product & almost anybody would be willing to wait.  

 

3) What do you depend on your photographer on outside of taking photos & making you look good, if at all? (Timeline & Other Suggestions?) The main thing that I was hoping my photographer would help me with is scouting out good picture taking spots (which I realize is hard if the wedding location is new to the photographer). It also really really helps if the photographer makes themself available to answer little questions along the way (such as unplugged ceremony wording help), & finally & most importantly, I loved having a photographer who was super assertive & told us what she thought looked best. It was definitely a reflextion of her experience & it helped me to feel comfortable knowing the right shots were being taken since I wasn’t hodge-podge picking the locations & poses myself.

4) For those of you who have already selected & used a photographer, did they send you a special gift? What was it? Did it make you feel special or did you think it was wasted effort? I don’t think a special gift is necessary, but a nice handmade picture frame (even a small one) would have been a really cool gift (or a small B&BW’s candle wrapped nicely, maybe). Most importantly I think beautiful packing in the delivery of the USB’s disks & photos is a MUST. It is *such* a reflect of your professionalism & gives you a chance to show off your creativity to the bride. Here are some ideas I saw that made me swoon 🙂

5) What qualities help you decide that a professional photographer is worth more than a student photographer? (Examples: Equipment, years of experience, quality of work, professionalism – feel free to share many ideas). This is the *perfect* question for me, since I was a budget bride (planned my wedding on a 6k budget for 100 guests). I was originally looking into an amateur photographer who mostly did very little editing and lots of raw images. He was going to charge me $300 for a full day of coverage (about 7hrs). I finally decided to choose a professional photographer when I realized the quality of the work & editing was incredible & the comparison was pitiful. When I found the most amazing photographer who was willing to work with me on an ala carte package for 4hrs of wedding day shoot time (final cost was $850) & was so incredibly sweey & we clicked, the decision was instantly made. I am so very happy with my choice! Here is my wedding recap (very very pic heavy) if you’re interested. Bear in mind that there aren’t a ton of shots of wedding day decor details, mostly because I didn’t have many considering my 6k total budget!

http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/our-budget-vintage-urban-wedding#axzz2fxOKGlvG

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