Do You Really Tell People You Won't Photograph Their Wedding?
Advice For Choosing A Photographer
By Jeffrey House Photography
Most couples are looking for advice when it comes to choosing a photographer. Especially a wedding photographer.
Unfortunately, most couples also hire their photographer for the wrong reasons! There are a lot variables that need to be considered, but the most important piece of advice when choosing a wedding photographer is - by far - their personality. They must be friendly, personable, fun, inspiring, creative, and professional! But there's one more detail about their personality that must exist and if it doesn't, none of this other stuff matters.
Your photographer must have a great personality that melds seamlessly with yours!
70%-75% of couples say they would hire a completely different wedding photographer if they could do it all over again. This is not how you want to feel and this is not the experience you want for your wedding. You and your photographer need to be a "good fit."
it's a two-way street
When I meet with a couple for the first time, it's as much an interview for me as it is for them.
It's simple. I value my business and your wedding. With every wedding I photograph, I strive to exceed my couples expectations and deliver them an amazing experience. If there is something about our "connection" that leads me to believe this isn't possible, we probably aren't a "good fit."
I want the couples I work with to love what I do for them and I want to give them the best of me! Unlike many wedding photographers, I see things a little differently. I'm not a "one and done" wedding photographer - I see a bigger picture (no pun intended). I don't just want to be your wedding photographer, I want to be the person that photographs all of your future milestones - child births, family photos, etc. My approach to wedding photography - focusing on personal connections - creates a much deeper and vested interest in every wedding I photograph.
Recently, a couples asked me, "do you really tell people you won't photograph their wedding?"
I looked at them a bit puzzled because I didn't understand why they were asking this. They then proceeded to explain that they were reading the "Home" page on my website. The recalled reading something I wrote - "I don't photograph every wedding I'm approached about, so please be sure to reserve your date today!"
The short answer to this question is "yes."
Let me explain.
I'm not in the business of not photographing weddings, but I'm also not in the business of photographing every wedding I'm asked to photograph. Why? If I agree to photograph a wedding knowing we aren't a good fit, no one wins in that situation. This happened recently. I will share the story with you quickly.
A couple contacted me by e-mail through my website. They provided very limited information about their wedding and they requested my pricing. All I knew about their wedding was the date. Because I want to deliver every couple I work with a highly-personalized experience and provide accurate information, I asked them to participate in a brief phone call. They refused stating they conversation can happen right here (in e-mail).
I respected their request and proceeded to send them some questions that pertained to their wedding celebration (i.e. location of ceremony, location of reception, number of guests, hours of photography coverage, etc.). When I received their response, I guess you could say I was a little confused. Some questions were answered and others were not. Most of the unanswered questions came back with a response along these lines "why do you need to know this?" Lastly, they advised they wanted ALL of the photos - even the pictures with closed eyes!
My questions weren't requesting personal information - just enough information that I could provide accurate pricing and better understand their needs. I needed to know how far away their wedding would be for possible travel charges. I needed to know if they wanted 10 hours of coverage or 6 hours.
how did i know we weren't a good fit?
1. Lack of Collaboration
I believe the relationship I have with a couple should be a collaborative effort. It's a blend between the vision you have for your wedding and my professional experience, and expertise. I'm always striving to give couples ideas and suggestions for making their dreams a reality. When we're a good fit for one another, it's an amazing collaboration.
This particular couple was very reluctant to share information about their big day. Because they weren't willing to help me gain a better understanding of their needs and expectations, it became impossible to meet them. When you can't meet or exceed a couple's expectations, it results in a bad experience.
I want to deliver every couple a unique and meaningful experience. We clearly weren't aligned in this regard.
2. Unreasonable Requests
The couple advised they wanted ALL the photos from their wedding day, even the ones with their eyes closed.
Any quality wedding photographer is not going to agree to this request. There are always unusable photos from a wedding as a results of closed eyes, unflattering facial expressions, lighting issues, etc. If a photographer were to give couples these photos and they were later shared online, their reputation could be severely damaged. It could create a misguided perception about the photographer's work and abilities. It's like asking a world famous chef for a copy of their recipe or asking a movie maker for a copy of the script.
I understand that not everyone is going to realize this is an unreasonable request. It may seem like an insignificant detail, but it can come with huge consequences for a photographer.
3. They Didn't Value Wedding Photography
Based on the conversation I did have with this couple, it was clear that "price" was their priority and they really didn't value quality wedding photography. I truly have no issue with price being their focus and I understand that quality wedding photography is not important to everyone. However, this further supported why we weren't a good fit for each other.
I'm sure there are photographers out there that will give them a super cheap price and ALL of the photos - even the ones with closed eyes, but that's not what I do. I provide specialized wedding photography and work very closely with couples to give them a high-end experience.
When you hire me to be your wedding photographer, it's likely our relationship - from beginning to end - will span 18-24 months. That's a long time. This adventure should be fun, exciting, stress-free, and meaningful. I can't wait to photograph your wedding, but I hope you also want me to photograph all of your future milestones too. I see myself as your family photographer. I truly view the relationship I have with my clients as a partnership.