The wedding photography season is emerging from the winter lull and will be getting in stride very soon.  Married-couples-to-be can very easily find themselves overwhelmed from trying to sort through potential photographers while not really knowing what to look for.  Your wedding photographer will be shooting one of the most important days of your life.  That fact alone can create some intense pressure on both you as the client and the photographer.  Here is a road map you can follow to make the process easier for both you and your potential photographer.

Step 1:  Figure out what kind of style you like

There are a several styles of wedding photography (so many that I can’t even go into them here but I will dedicate a blog post to them next week in part 2) so you should start by taking a look at samples of the various styles and figuring out what catches your eye.  Making this important decision will help you narrow down the list of potential photographers for your wedding.

Step 2:  Start browsing for photographers

This is where you begin doing the legwork and building a list of photographers to consider for your wedding.  Use Google to start a list of photographers in your area.  Talk to your married friends and ask them about the photographer they went with.  Find out what they liked and didn’t like about their wedding photographer.

Your list will begin to get lengthy so when you’re comfortable with information you have gathered, start looking at the photographers’ websites and blogs to get a feel for their style and personality.  Check out their Facebook pages to get an idea of how they interact with potential clients and past customers.  Find reviews from past clients.  Certain photographers will begin to stand out during this process so be sure to note the ones you are beginning to like and move those to the next step.

Step 3:  Start contacting potential photographers

In my opinion, this is one of the most important steps.  The consultation is the very first step in building a relationship with the person who’ll be photographing your wedding day.  The connection made between a photographer and client can make or break a shoot so trust your first instinct.  Begin by calling the potential wedding photographer and asking them some initial questions.  Ask the photographer about their availability for your desired date.  If they are already booked for that date, ask them if they know of another photographer with a similar style they can refer to you.

Set up in person consultations with the ones that are available on your date.  Pay attention to the photographer’s body language.  If you meet with a potential photographer and they don’t seem really interested in the wedding or generally gives you a bad vibe, trust that gut instinct and walk away.  If the photographer brings up booking fees and costs in the first few minutes of the consult, then they clearly only see you as a paycheck. This should cause you to ask yourself how committed they would actually be to making you happy.

A photographer who is truly interested in building a relationship with you should have a list of conversation points to touch on during the consult to make the interviewing process easier for the potential client.  The photographer should be able to walk you through the entire process from beginning to end and give you a clear idea of what to expect.  They should also have a contingency plan if an emergency should arise and they can’t be there on your date.

Find out if they will be shooting alone or if they have other shooters that will be joining them.  Discuss the proofing process.  Their processes should be put together in a way that is convenient for you.  Inquire about their packages and the details of what they include.  The photographer should also have some questions for you to give them an idea of what to expect.

Take notes on all of the items discussed as you’ll be referring back to them in the decision-making step.  Let me state again that this is one of, if not THE most important step in finding a wedding photographer.  Unless I know the bride and groom on a personal level prior to the consult, I actually insist on an in-person consultation.  I don’t know how a photographer could agree to shoot a wedding without one.  That consultation is the perfect opportunity to lay the foundation of the relationship so in my eye’s, it is a vital step.

Step 4:  Deciding which wedding photographer fits you best.

This is the step in which you weigh the pros and cons of each photographer.  Be realistic and consider everything that is important to you.  After weighing the pros and cons, you should have one or two photographers that stand out.  If there is one that stands out above the rest, then you have your answer.  You may have to pick between a couple of photographers,  so go with your gut instinct.  If you come up with more questions to ask the photographer to aid in making your final decision, give the photographer a call and ask away.  They should be more than happy to help.  If you have a feeling deep down inside you that tells you that you connected with one photographer a bit better than the other, then trust that feeling.

Wedding photography is the one decision that you’ll have to make prior to being able to see the finished product.  It’s also the one vendor whose finished product will last for years beyond the wedding day so picking the one you are most comfortable with and have the most confidence in is very important.

These 4 steps are a very solid start on deciding on a wedding photographer.  We’ll conclude the process next week.  As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me this week.  If you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe and share via the social media links.  You can also find MTM Photography on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram so be sure to check out those pages!  I’ll see ya next week!