(Closed) Rants & Raves re: Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

posted 4 years ago in Photos/Videos
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  • Post # 2
    Member
    1191 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    I think for me this is a general response for any vendor.  It was much easier for me/what I was looking for on each site was their packages, what they included and pricing.  When none of that was available I would have to submit for a quote and often times forgot who I already reached out to.  If that information is readily available I can get in contact or move along based on budget.  Thankfully the photographer we chose responded immediately by email and text and I appreciated her eagerness and communitcation effort.  We love her! 

    Post # 3
    Member
    822 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2018

    I have been searching for photographers in the last couple months and it is stressful!! There are so many in the area to choose from!  I pretty much stuck to theknot.com to do my search.  So I would advice photographers to be on that website.  It made it easier for me to filter.  I reached out to a few via email but I try to respond to all of them.  If I didn’t respond at all it was becasue they were way out of my price range (which sometimes isn’t shown on their website so you don’t know until you reach out to them).  I think adding the investment on their website would help.

    Post # 4
    Member
    14 posts
    Newbee
    • Wedding: April 2019

    Ask around and do’t rely on email…..any photographer of quality would have a phone number. Call them!

    Post # 5
    Member
    283 posts
    Helper bee

    I looked a lot at weddingwire. I tried to focus on photographers with at least 50 ratings and an average of 4.5+. I then looked at their website for example photos and any information about cost I could find. If they didn’t have cost information, I only emailed if they had really incredible photos. 

    Generally, if a photographer replies to my initial inquiry and I never respond it’s because their prices were higher than I was anticipating. This is pretry easily fixed by publicly publishing package information. I also generally didn’t continue talking to photographers who took more than 48 hours (during the week) to respond. 

    Post # 6
    Member
    1260 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I did my initial wedding photographer search by googling my ceremony and reception venues to find photographers who’d shot them before, then narrowed it down based on the style that I liked. The photographer I ended up booking also had us meet with her at a Starbucks to look at albums, discuss style and timeline for the day, etc. It was a little out of the way but I’m glad I was able to meet with her beforehand so that I could be confident that our styles meshed.

    I can tell you that for the photographers I didn’t book, most of them were ones that I didn’t love as much as the one I ended up booking but was still asking around for relative prices. Most of the ones I made inquiries to ended up being in similar price ranges so I went with the one I loved. There was also one that I responded to once and they wrote back saying that they only worked with brides who had wedding planners- so I didn’t respond after that. When they followed up again later I said that I wasn’t interested in hiring a wedding planner so I went with a different photographer. 

    I actually hired my videographer this week- there was one other one that I had an inquiry out to that ended up being wayyy over the price range I was looking for, so I didn’t respond- I definitely meant to follow up to let them know I’d chosen a different one but totally forgot until they followed up with me, which is when I emailed them. Personally I think it’s a bit rude not to let vendors know once you’ve decided not to book them, so they’re not left hanging. 

    It might be helpful, even if they don’t publish their full price range of packages online, to give an indication of their starting price so that brides can self-select out if that’s over their budget. 

    Post # 7
    Member
    922 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

    If I ask for a quote and provide specific details of what I’m looking for, and they don’t reply with their pricing info, I stop asking.  Any vendor who is not up front about their pricing is unnecessarily annoying to deal with.

    Post # 8
    Member
    555 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2017 - Lake Louise Canada

    To address your specific concern, the reasons I have emailed once and not followed up with some vendors were:

    -My original email asked 6 or 7 very simple numbered questions and they only bothered to answer 2 or 3 in their response. I am way too busy to phone tag, if you call me during work hours you’ll never get me and I’ll call you back at night and never get you, it just goes on forever. So I am personally a MUST-email, I need to be 90% that you’re the one before I even consider a meeting in person. So all email questions must be answered or I assume you’re intentionally witholding so you can force me to see your exhorbitant price or bad contract terms in person. Alternately just have more info on your website so I dont even need to ask.

    -All my questions DID get answered but your answers don’t work for me. Maybe you said “maximum 8 hours” or “can travel up to 100km” and I can’t use you since I need 10 hour coverage at a venue 300km away.

    -your response was TOO messy to trust you. Im OK with the odd spelling mistake but if a photographer copies and pastes another customers response, forgets to change the old customers name to mine, contradicts themself on their price, you aren’t the one for me.

    Post # 9
    Member
    9575 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2015

    I dont like photographers who arent upfront about their packages. I dont want to date you, I just want you to email me back your pricing so I can see if I should even bother to look into it further.

    Also once a photographer said she was sooooo selective about her clients and bla bla bla *then asked to see my Facebook and Instagram* essentially to see if I was what, good looking enough? No thank you. I am hiring you, I am paying you for your services please dont pretend like you are bestowing some great honor upon me!

    If I “ghosted” from a photographer it means I went another way. I sent out a lot of emails, Im not going to bother with a “thanks but no thanks” email unless we’ve corresponded a lot.

    I searched high and low, and eventually hired someone from out of state to travel in. I relied on Style Me Pretty honestly, and other major blogs/magazines. Published photographers are typically established and talented so I used that as a tool and then checked their published reviews of course. I picked someone who worked in film as well as digital (also important to me) whos portfolio was GORGEOUS and who I clicked with on the phone. No regrets, she was amazing.

    Post # 10
    Member
    3823 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: April 2017

    Ugh, I hate that you have to email everyone for prices! I don’t get why they can’t put them on their website. I’m much more likely to be interested in photographers who at least have an indication of what they cost. I emailed a whole bunch of photographers for prices so I could make an informed decision, I’m not going to then have 10 email conversations. I literally just want to know prices, if I want to hire them I will contact them about it. If I don’t contact them then they were either too expensive or I decided I liked someone else’s work better. I viewed the price emails as basic information rather than proper correspondence. 

    I will look through their albums and Facebook/instagrams, Google reviews, find things about them on websites ect. One thing I didn’t like was when I felt pushed, like – ‘here’s my price guide – let me know when you want to meet up’.

    Post # 11
    Member
    7403 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    View original reply
    nonablu :  Ugh, I hate that you have to email everyone for prices! I don’t get why they can’t put them on their website. I’m much more likely to be interested in photographers who at least have an indication of what they cost.

    <div style=”overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;”>Speaking as a wedding photographer myself, it’s not to be elusive to the client and make them work for it – it has more to do with our competition if I’m being totally honest. While it sucks that’s how it can be sometimes, it has to do with undercutting. </div>
    <div style=”overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;”> </div>
    <div style=”overflow: hidden; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: left; text-decoration: none;”>For example, in my area most of us are pretty good friends with each other so while it’s less of an issue unfortunately it’s still something we have to consider. It’s pretty common that a few of us consistantly tend to compete for the same clients – just based on us being similar styles and price range. Almost without fail if I get an inquiry I can almost bet that another local photographer (who I’m friends with) has also gotten the same one. In a perfect world our clients would always choose us based on whose work they like best but really a lot of times it boils down to money. Not publishing a full price list on a website is mostly to to keep your competition from knowing your pricing and intentionally undercutting you to get the booking. Most of us tend to put a “collections start at $xxx” on our websites.</div>

    Post # 12
    Member
    1199 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2018

    I usually send out a lot of “feelers” for prices. As in, I email 10 photographers knowing that only half will reply and even less will reply within a day or so. I sometimes get replies back weeks later and by then I already am talking to a photographer I’m ready to book so I’m no longer interested.

    Post # 13
    Member
    5407 posts
    Bee Keeper

    View original reply
    Jill Kelly :  SO and I met so far with 3 different photographers. They all have worked in the venue for our wedding and I have seen their work. So here is how we narrowed it:

    • First one has beautiful work but does not have much in their portfolio. I have seen about 4 or 5 wedding samples only and felt like I wanted too see more and TBH, they’re not well known so no reviews. The most downside is they charge very high. The most expensive of the 3 we spoke to actually.
    • Second one is a very sweet husband and wife team. They have done a lot of my friends’ weddings and that’s how I met them. They are super nice, the cheapest and have lots of positive reviews. The downside was their work is mediocre IMO (SO and I are more picky/critical with photos & videos than your average couple). There wasn’t a “wow” effect and all their pictures always gave off a yellowish tinge which bothered me (lens related?). Majority of their people shots are staged or posed too. And same poses at nearly every wedding they have done. There was not enough candid shots IMO too.
    • The last one has really gorgeous “WOW” work, well established business (8 photographers and a complete office staff). They cover 100 plus weddings per year so tons of experience. Out of the 3, they work on our venue the most on a regular basis. Their price is on the high side but still not as high as the first one we spoke to and we think it’s very worth it. And you get to create your own package too. It has tons of reviews and all 5 stars. So obviously, we chose this one.
    Post # 14
    Member
    126 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2017

    Usually when I didn’t respond it was because their prices were too high or their packages were too small or were complicated to understand. Publishing the information on the website made it much easier for me to decide if I could afford their work and thus if I wanted to chat with them. If a photographer took too long to respond, or missed our skype chat (I had a few do that) I wouldn’t reschedule or connect back with them unless it was a brief “sorry, we’ve decided to go another route.”

    Post # 15
    Member
    216 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2017

    View original reply
    Jill Kelly :  Basically what I did for most of my vendors was mass email them all the same thing, are you availble this day and what are your prices? I immediately eliminated everyone outside of my price range (those are the people I mostly didn’t resopnd to) and then considered expereince, # of photos availble to view on the site, and style. I think having a clear price list published allows people to rule you out quickly if you’re outside of their budget and may result in less spam emails like mine.

    One thing I found the most influenctial was the photographers would had an entire wedding album open to view, so you could see the coverage from the first moment to the last. That gave me the most confidence nothing important would be missed. It’s very easy to take 10,000 pics and find 10 goods ones to post on a site, I like to see that it will be consistent throughout the whole day. In the end we actually chose a newer wedding photographer but what sold us on him was his personality and amount of effort he showed. He asked us to have a Skype meeting which we were intially uncomfortable with but after talking to him it was great. He seemed genuinely interested in what we wanted and fun. Making that personal connection definately gave him an advantage. When I was still a little unsure he sent me an in depth questionnaire that involving listing important people, rating what types of shots were most important to us etc. that gave me even more confidence he wanted to get exactly what we wanted. He then followed it up by sending a sample detailed timeline of how he and his second photographer would spend the day, times, locations, notes about important shots he would make sure to get at each stage. Everything he did instilled a deep sense of confidence that he was organized, focused, prepared, and wanting to cater to our specefic interests.

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