Post # 1
I’m having a wedding in another city than where I live, so it’s a bit frustrating finding a photographer. I understand that people should meet with photographers before they hire them, but I can’t make it to my wedding city every weekend, and even going once a month will be too costly.
Next weekend I’m meeting with two photographers, based on recommendations, but they don’t have a lot of pictures on their site for me to peek! They have select pictures on their portfolio (it’s a possibility that they could possibly be models) since I’m not seeing enough ‘in action’ photos.
It would have been nice to see an entire album of someone’s wedding, but also understandable if people want to keep it private. Neither vendor had an unlocked album.
Unfortunately the photographers that I had near the top of my list are booked or unavailable to meet in person when I go to my wedding city, next weekend. But they have a LOT of albums available for the public to see, and they are super gorgeous and capture everything! A phone meeting is possible however.
Long story short:
- Can you put a lot of weight on the photographer’s website in choosing?
- Or is this kind of thing best judged through a personal meeting?
- And if you loved their website, would a phone meeting be adequate?
I’m also interested in hearing stories about brides that hired a photographer based on their website without a meeting them in person. 🙂
Post # 3
I had the same issues. Planning a wedding 14 hours away didn’t leave many opportunites for vendor shopping. I went completely off the website and emails. I searched dozens and dozens of sites. Before I started making any decisions I sent out a mass email asking for prices. After waiting a week I narrowed down who was in my budget. Then I went to their webpages/blogs. I also sent emails. All of them sent me links to complete weddings. I also referred to reviews online. Yes its scary but its doable. There is no guarantee that even after meeting in person you are going to know if you made the right choice. We just did our E-pics and they turned out fantastic. I know my wedding pictures are not somehting I need to worry about. Good Luck!
Post # 4
First and foremost: I care about the photos. The galleries are good, but I love a photographer with a frequently updated blog. Look at the archives. How much do they work? How fast do they turn photos around? (love love love that my photog always posts teasers within 2 days after a wedding… how cool is that?) How do you like their tone?
Once you know you like their “gallery quality” work and they fit your price range, next up I’d ask to see a proof gallery or two for recent weddings. That will give you an idea of how many photos they take, and their overall quality. Not just the 3 best shots from a wedding. Also realize that unless you’re planning to order prints, the proof gallery is probably closer to the quality of photos you’ll receive on your DVD than their “galleries” are. They don’t fully edit photos on your high-res cd.
Okay so if you like alllll of those things, then I’d call. I don’t think you have to necessarily meet in person, but I think talking for a bit is really important.
Post # 5
If you love someone’s work after seeing lots of albums like you mentioned, then I think a phone meeting would be plenty fine.
I was in the same situation as you (planning from another city) and I booked our photographer without ever meeting him in person. I also booked him before any other vendor, including our venue. That’s how much I liked him.
We eventually met the next time I was in his town (my hometown, where my parents still live, and the wedding was) and he and his wife were great!
Meeting in person is helpful, but I don’t think it’s VITAL in making a decision. I think the quality of a person’s work should speak more words about a photographer’s talent than whatever words are coming out of their mouth.
With that being said, if you run across a photographer who does great work, but is an a-hole, then obviously that’s different.
As for the ones that you’re meeting with in person, I would be suspicious about not having an “unlocked” album. It’s common practice in the industry to be able to show potential brides an entire wedding, even if doing so requires giving the password to a protected gallery.
By not showing you an entire wedding, I would be afraid that they are hiding something, be it lack of experience, or not enough confidence in their talent.
Definitely call the photographers at the top of your list!! Don’t settle for average pictures just because they were the only people who could meet with you. You deserve to have the pictures that YOU want. 🙂
Post # 6
I think that a website is only as good as the webmaster. Some photographers may be awesome at shooting photos but only so so at web design… esp older photographers who built their business prior to the web market. I love photography, and the things that I think that you can tell from an active webpage are how the photographer frames the photo, what the photographer views is a good photo, and what style the photographer has… But I still think that you should have a meeting, and have the opportunity to see a whole portfolio of a wedding shoot…
Post # 7
What I realized is that every photographer has a specific style. I hired my photographer without that realization, really. Particularly if they are established (and older) I find that they have poses they want you to do, that they do for just about every wedding.
With younger/less experienced photographers I’ve worked with, they are open to suggestions.
It depends on what you are looking for, but there are 2 photographers I was considering for my wedding. The pictures on their website and in albums Ive seen are exactly what you are going to get for your wedding. Its like they just change the bride, groom and location, and you have the exact same photo album.
I would not book a photographer before meeting with them, though. Usually, when you meet with them they know you are serious and that’s when they throw all the free deals at you, anyway.
Post # 8
1) Are there a lot of typos?
2) Did the photographer put a lot of text onto the website or do the photographs speak for themselves? Is the photographer clean in their design?
3) The style that a photographer chooses for their website will ultimately tell you the style that they will approach their photography with – for instance, are the photographs well chosen and displayed? If the photographer is creating your album their sense of style should be fairly similar to their website design.
4) Does the photographer respect their clients? If a photographer loads awkward or less than flattering images onto their website, that could show a less than respectful side. The photographer’s best work is typically the work displayed on his or her website, so if he or she chooses to put up those images that is saying “this is my best work.”
5) Do some emailing back and forth with your photographer. Does the photographer genuinely seem to care about your event or is the photographer just trying to add in as many items to your package for the best profit margins?
For me, I actually prefer meeting my clients through engagement shoots as sit down meetings can only show you so much. I can tend to be a rather shy individual during sit down coffee meetings; however, during the actual event, I am always supportive and I often receive many a thank-you from the bride and her mother for keeping this organized and supportive. Remember the photographer’s only focus is on you.
Good luck bees,
Post # 9
Ya know, our wedding is in California and I booked my photographer who is from Hawaii without ever meeting with him in person or even talking to him over the phone. And man, I am so happy we booked him. From his site we saw so many great images, and at the time he updates his blog very often which showed me how fast his turn around time was (right now his blog is under construction, but he updates his Facebook all the time). I also asked him if I could see a WHOLE wedding he’s done. So he shot me over a password and I got to a few random albums I clicked on. This was important to me because not ALL the photos are going to be perfect, so seeing what his “other not so good” photos looked like were important to me as well. Good communication is also key. And I love how prompt he was getting back to us. I love our photographer and would recommend him to anyone being that he also travels. Best of luck!! 🙂
Post # 10
We had to hire our photog from a phone call too, so I based a lot of my decision on her online portfolio, as well as a strong word of recommendation from another photog who I trust (but was way out of our budget). Other than that, it came down to her and another photog, and the second wasn’t communicative or willing to go out of her way to work with us. So we went with the person whose personality and communication style clicked with our own.
Post # 11
If you can’t see a whole wedding in the photographer’s online album, email and ask to see one. It’s a reasonable thing to ask and can really help with the decision you need to make. I know our photographer gave me several to look at once he knew I was seriously thinking about hiring him.
I think you can hire without a face to face meeting. Just make sure you can see a full event and definitely talk on the phone. That will give you an idea of personality and style as well. And it is also what you would do in person, just minus being able to look them in the eye as you do it.
Post # 12
Even though a friend of mine used the same photographer for her wedding, I still wanted to meet him in person before booking him. I just think it’s a good idea to see what kind of a person your photographer is, how he/she interacts with you, and it also gives you a chance to see their portfolio in person. Anyone can update a website.
Post # 13
I do think a photographer’s website is important. These days, a savvy and current business person understands that it’s the first thing a potential customer will see and judge, so if it seems like a half-done or poorly-kept site, it reflects badly on the business. I don’t mind if they don’t blog, or if the design isn’t quite perfect (as others have mentioned, not everyone hires a pro to design a page these days), but I check for a current copyright date, contact information, typos, and general style.
Meeting in person is the ideal, of course, but have you considered asking if they will mail or e-mail you some complete weddings, and Skype instead of call? It will feel more personal, it’s less hassle than traveling, and you can have their portfolio in front of you during the discussion.
Post # 14
Thanks for all the helpful comments!! I’m definitely destressing hearing about everyone’s experiences and opinions. 🙂
Post # 15
I’d never book someone without a personal meeting–if our personalities aren’t going to mesh, the pictures won’t be good.