How To Sort Through The Crappy Advice And Find A Great Photographer!
Find A Photographer Near Me
By Jeffrey House Photography
How can you expect to find a great photographer when so much of the advice you're being given sucks?
So, how do you find a photographer?
I was recently reading an article online that was published by a wedding planner. She's not local and I don't know anything about her other than she's in the business of planning weddings. The purpose of her article is to tell wedding photographers the things they "need" to do to help brides like yourself.
I read this article and the more I read, the more frustrated and interested I became. I have no doubt, the information she provided is the same information she's giving to the brides she works with. Following her advice would completely send you down the wrong path. Unfortunately, you wouldn't realize it until it's too late.
Let's take a closer look at the information in her article and why you can't afford to listen to advice like this.
Our mystery wedding planner begins her article telling photographers that they need to offer pricing that fits every budget.
I, on some level, understand the point she was trying to make, but her advice creates the wrong impression, and sets the wrong expectations. I don't know of any wedding photographer that doesn't offer a variety of wedding packages at varying price points. However, a photographer's prices are not randomly chosen. Their prices are determined based on business expenses, market value, etc. This is how all businesses arrive at their prices. It's certainly not a new concept - just business 101.
In our wedding planners world, she would be implying that a photographer's pricing should appeal to the brides with a $10,000 budget AND an $800 budget. That's just not realistic. 99% of photographers would lose a lot of money photographing $800 weddings because their costs exceed it.
Imagine this for a moment. What if you needed a new iPad? You walk into the Apple store and tell them you want their $300 iPad for $100 because that's all your budget allows for. I think it's pretty safe to say you're not leaving with the iPad. So, your options at this point, are to find a way to get the money for the iPad you want or buy a lesser quality tablet.
Again, it's critical that any business communicates the appropriate expectations. It's been said that 99% of our issues in life are a result of poor expectations. When you step back and think about that for a minute, you'll see there's a lot of truth in that statement. If your photography budget is $800, you will need to hire a photography student or a really "cheap" photographer. I would be appropriate to expect you're not going to get "great" photos and you will most likely have issues with a lot of your images.
There are really good photographers that photograph weddings for $800 because they have full time jobs and they aren't in the "business" of wedding photography; therefore, they don't have to worry about making money to survive. While these photographers exist, they are also very rare.
This part of her article addressed the importance of photography style and how it's important for a bride to like your style. I couldn't agree more!
But then the advice took a turn for the worst. Our wedding planner remarked that many brides want their wedding photographer to "recreate" the images see on Pinterest. She tells photographers they need to let brides know if they are unwilling to do this, so they can find a photographer that will.
Okay, let's set the appropriate expectations. If you're looking for a photographer to recreate imagery, you're rarely, if ever, going to fine one that's any good. Recreating images is usually the work of "cheaper" photographers because they're only interested in taking your money. They aren't concerned about client relations - they're one and done.
Truly professional photographers understand the importance of exceeding your expectations. That's a big reason we don't agree to recreate the work of other photographers. I'm not in the business of turning down requests to photograph weddings, but I'm also not going to photograph a wedding where I know my client won't be happy.
While Pinterest is a great resource to get inspiration, we have to also understand not everything you see is from a real wedding. Many of the photos are created using professional models, complex lighting set-ups, and ideal locations. It would be impossible to recreate that exact image at a wedding due to time constraints.
More importantly, these photographs were taken by a photographer that has a different style and vision. Rather than ask another photographer to recreate their work, just hire that photographer. You will be much happier and avoid a lot of disappointment.
[DISCOVER: 3 REASONS PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE IS OVERRATED]
This was by far the most useful tip in the article. It stresses the importance of being punctual and having back-up equipment.
Let's address the appropriate expectations. When interviewing potential photographers, always ask them to verify they have back-up equipment just in case something fails. Cameras, lenses, and flashes are usually very reliable, but they do encounter problems from time-to-time.
Any true professional should be punctual. This really should go without saying, but it's amazing how many wedding photographers show up late or not at all. If you notice you're wedding photographer is having issues with punctuality, there's a good chance that's not the only problem. While it doesn't necessarily mean they won't do a great job and everything will be wonderful, it's cause for concern. If they're late for meetings, the engagement session or they don't return emails, phone calls, and text messages promptly, address it immediately with them before it spirals out of control.
The last piece of advice offered in the article, recommended wedding photographers go to the brides wedding venue and take pictures to show her what the lighting will look like. This will also help the bride to understand how their photographer will handle the lighting situation.
Again, I can see what she was going for here, but how she's communicating her thoughts isn't good for expectations.
Every wedding requires a photographer to deal with difficult or challenging lighting scenarios. This is just another reason why having a professional wedding photographer is so vital. We deal with frequent and dramatic changes in lighting constantly. Understanding how to deal with these situations is the difference between capturing or not capturing the moment.
There's a significant problem with going to a wedding venue ahead of time to take images of "lighting." It's highly unlikely the same lighting conditions will be present on your wedding day; therefore, the look of the images will be different and your photographer will have to take different steps to resolve any lighting issues. During a "test run," your photographer will have the luxury of taking 5 or 10 images to get it perfect. The wedding day doesn't afford this luxury. You have but fractions to a few seconds to get it right and you better get it right the first time.
Hopefully, this article has helped you prioritize some of the important details when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer. Planning a wedding takes a lot of your time and we want to help streamline the process, so you can address what really impacts your day in an efficient manner.
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