Terri and I had another awesome meeting with a wedding couple last night. As we waited for them to arrive, I was reviewing our previous meeting notes sipping a wonderful 4 shot caramel latte. Not positive if it was the excitement of seeing them again or the quick rush of caffeine (probably both) that made me a little emotional thinking of how much we love photographing weddings. We don't want to just be another vendor at the wedding, we want to be involved the planning. Terri and I treasure the trust our couples place in us to capture the perfect moments throughout the day. It's always wonderful when the bride sends me private text messages of the gown or the shoes she will wear. And if you know me, or follow my Instagram and blog posts, you already know the shoes are my Kryptonite.
The couple arrived, and after the initials hugs and greetings, we get down to planning the "Getting to Know You" session. Before I had a chance to get my Jot Script connected to my iPad Noteshelf app, the bride almost yells out how helpful my very first suggestion has been. We are so pumped that she realized the value in our experience and acted on that advice. I'm sure you are reading this thinking, "What was that golden nugget?"
After you say "Yes!", get a free unique Gmail email account for all the wedding planning, vendors, specials, discounts, offers, etc. It will help protect your "real" email address and keep your inbox from exploding after the ceremony.
I can't take all the credit for the information passes along to brides and grooms during our initial consultation. The questions and suggestions below are gathered from previous brides and other professional photographers. In fact, we do have a few odd guidelines for our "First Date" meetings with couples. Don't bring your checkbook because we will not book during the meeting. We want you to take the time to choose wisely and hire the best photographer for your day. Terri and I admit that we are not the "premier", "exclusive" or even the best in Oklahoma. However, for the twenty couples we book each year, we are their best photographers. Along those lines, we ask our couple to meet face to face with at least three other professionals before choosing us.
We truly want every couple, whether they book us or not, to have the best photographer for their special day. Let me share the top 10 questions to ask during those meetings to help you narrow your choices.
Why Do You Like Shooting Weddings?
Are they excited about covering your day? Are they a family photographer just looking to make a few extra dollars? You want a photographer that enjoys and has a passion for weddings.
How Long Have You Been Shooting Professionally?
I'm not talking about being a full time or weekend warrior photographer. I'm talking about when did you make a effort to be a professional, charging for services, having insurance, investing in pro level gear and education. Experience in handling your images here is key. Would you want a inexperienced contractor building your family's home?
Do You Have Backup Equipment?
What happens if the only camera they bring breaks during the wedding? No images? Hope for the best with some mobile phone pics? Be sure you choose a professional with extra gear and has a backup plan.
Do You Have a Second Shooter?
We think this is critical. I know many professional photographers that opt to shoot alone. That works for them, not for us. You have been planning your perfect day for a while, even a alternate location if the weather changes. Who is backing up the photographer? What if they have an accident on the way to venue? It's sad and tragic, but it can be prevented. Insist in a second shooter and get a different vantage point of images as a bonus!
What is Your Plan for Illness?
This one goes hand in hand with having a second shooter. Does the photographer have a plan if an unforeseen event keeps them from attending? This could range from a family funeral, medical emergency, or even the flu. If the date is a high risk weekend then maybe it would be wise to hire two second shooters.
We are splitting this long blog post into two parts. Stay tuned and we will post part 2 in a few days. If you are bride that needs this information right away, call or email us and we are happy to share the rest. If you are still looking for the right photographers for your wedding, please consider us for a consultation.
And speaking of sharing… What are the BEST ways for you to share your wedding day images with family & friends? The fine folks over at ShootDotEdit have developed an easy to understand list of options without having to setup a slideshow at grandma’s house. Be sure to check out all the ways to get your photos seen! Let us know which are your favorites so we can incorporate that method into future projects.
Have a fabulous day!