You’ve done your initial round of research (see the notes here) and now you have your list of potential wedding photographers narrowed down to your top few. What’s next?
Personally, I think the next part is the most fun!! You get to reach out to those photographers and get to know them better!
Start by calling or emailing those on your list of favs. Ask them general questions to find out some important information that they may not have shared on their website such as:
- Do they have your wedding date available?
- What type of coverage do they offer?
- Do they offer print or album packages and what is included?
- Ask for a full price list that you can review.
Next, get a little more personal. See what works for your schedules and set up a time to meet face-to-face. Find out if you can meet them at their studio, or, if you live quite a distance from them, see if you can meet half-way at a coffee shop or something. Try to find a way to make the meeting happen!
The in-person meeting is a very important part of the planning process because you get to really engage with the photographer, see what they are like as a person, and find out if your personalities are a good fit. After all, you will be working with your photographer for the next 6-12 months or more planning engagement pictures, maybe save-the-dates or photo invitations, spending the majority of your wedding day with them and also working with them after the wedding while you place your order and review your album. It’s so much easier if that time together is enjoyable and if you work well together!
At your in-person meeting, take note and specifically look at their samples. Ask what type of products they carry–canvases, albums, thank you cards, etc. Ask about the products and see how knowledgeable the photographer is about them–where are they made, what types of materials are used, are there any protective finishes, are there any warranties or guarantees from the printing company.
Chat with your photographer about their typical wedding day–how do they schedule the group portraits, what is their typical portrait flow, do they use a second-shooter or an assistant (if so, is that an extra fee), do they bring in lighting or do they only shoot with natural/available light?
Ask about the proofing and ordering process. How will you as the bridal couple view your wedding portraits? How will family and out-of-town friends view the wedding portraits? When will the proofs be available? How long do you have to place your order? If they didn’t offer it before, ask if you can see a full set of proofs from one of their weddings.
Finally, before you leave the meeting, ask about next steps. If you are still looking at your options, ask if they will tentatively hold your date while you make your decision. Ask if you can review their sample wedding contract and discuss their payment policy. Make plans to follow up via phone or in person in a couple weeks or whatever is reasonably enough time for you.
When you head home, make some notes for yourself so you can keep the photographers’ information straight. Then move on to your next in-person meeting, chat with family if needed, and be sure to follow up with the photographer, even if you elect to go with someone else.
Check back here soon for tips on how to make sense of all those different pricing structures out there to understand exactly what your wedding day portraits will cost!
Landgraf Photography is a full service wedding photographer near Storm Lake, Iowa. Contact Tanya for information on photography services for your Northwest Iowa wedding!