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.