It's certainly not the weather!
It's hearing from our new brides & grooms!
I'm not a wedding coordinator, so I won't pretend to know what the official first, few steps should be after your engagement. But when it comes to securing your wedding photographer, here are a few of my thoughts. *Along with some eye candy from one of my favorite weddings, this year!*
1) Decide what your wedding photography style is. If you are having a traditional wedding and value pictures that show everyone smiling, then a more traditional wedding photographer may be best for you! If you have a unique sense of style and desire candids & detail shots- then a photojournalist photographer would probably be right for you! Determine your style, then start your search for a photographer who best matches it. And be honest. Photojournalism and "out of the box" photography is in fashion, at the moment. But if you find yourself making a mental list of the 10+ posed photos that you have to have, chances are... you may be traditional. And that's OK.
2) Get recommendations from friends, family and vendors whose style is similar to your own. It's the "birds of a feather" principle. If you want a traditional recommendation, talk to traditional people. If you want a unique photographer, inquire with unique people.
3) Look at the photographer's work. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I've actually had people call, who have never laid eyes a photo of mine. They were simply calling, based on a recommendation. This is mind boggling, to me. My body of work, my style & our personal connection is what you should love, not my name or brand. Asking me to define my style on the phone is just silly. You need to see a photographer's work, to truly know and feel it's worth. Also, if you're not too familiar with the photographer, ask to see an entire wedding's worth of photos. This will give you a clear view of what you can expect in your own wedding album. Websites and Facebook albums only show you the best of the best & highlights, from each wedding. Want to see how the photographer poses the family shots... approximately how many pictures are taken during the ceremony & reception... look at an entire wedding day.
5) Do a budget & package check. Every photographer offers something different. Looking at the bottom line (total cost) is important, but notice the fine print too. Does the photographer limit his/her hours? Is there a cap on the number of photos that will be taken? Is the engagement session included? Will the photographer take apart the package to work with your budget. Are there multiple packages available to choose from? Also, if the package price seems out of reach, ask if gift certificates or wedding registries are available.
6) Once you've narrowed it down to your favorite photographer- Call or send an inquiry email. Include the following information- your name & phone number, the location of your wedding and reception, and don't forget- your wedding date! If the date is unavailable, then ask for referrals. Most photographers are happy to pass on recommendations for other local, like-minded photographers. If the date is available then the photographer will walk you through the next few steps- meeting, going over a timeline, signing the contract, payments, engagement photos, etc...
7) Ask questions. A lot of information will be covered in your contract or during the meeting, but for the unanswered ones, don't be afraid to speak up! Check out Wedding Coordinator, Danielle Pasternak's post here, for some ideas on what to ask. And if anyone is still unsure- #11- I'm a big foodie! You can feed me hot or cold, yummies all day long and not only will I will photograph your key dishes, I will appreciate every morsel, oh so much!
8) Don't be afraid to say "We may not be the best match". Sometimes, things seem perfect online or on the phone, but in person, you get that vibe... you know, the one where you think- maaaaybe we aren't quite on the same page, for one reason or another. This has happened to me before. It's awkward, but it's better to be honest & up front, than form a partnership that in the end feels- off.
9) Sign the contract and mail in a deposit, as soon as possible. While I put my bride's names in my calendar during the first phone call, a date is not truly secured, until a contract and deposit have been signed and received. Be sure to follow through with the official parts!
10) And probably my biggest piece of advice- If you have a "must have" photographer in mind for your wedding day, contact that person before you book anything else. Let them know the time of year that you would like to be married and ask for some dates that they are available. Then book your venue and other elements on one of those dates. It's a sad day for all of us, when a bride who has envisioned hiring me for years, calls after booking their venue and finds out that her date is not available. No more crying brides! Call your "must haves" first!
To find our more about my style, personality and pricing, visit www.kimwineyphoto.com
As for my availability- during the summer, I only photograph three weddings per month. During the school year, I photograph only one wedding, per month. **Please call early, to secure your date!