The obvious answer for me would be to: choose me!! ALWAYS choose me! And with me, I mean “Riekert Cloete”.
But alas that is probably not a very objective tip. So I had to think a bit deeper on this one.
So here are some observations that might help in your choice of a photographer
This is obviously the most important issue. When you have a wedding date set and start emailing service providers be exact with your details. “Beginning of December” can mean a lot of things.
Styles differ immensely. Make sure that you like the style of the photographer. If the photos on his portfolio are exactly what you are looking for then you will be happy with your final product. Try to view “full wedding” instead of highlights only.
This is obvious. You can’t pay the price for a pair of sneakers and expect a Rolls Royce. You get what you pay for. On popular wedding dates, you will battle to get a discount. If your budget is less but you still want a great photographer, consider a less popular date. Weekdays, morning weddings, during winter, etc. An expensive photographer doesn’t always mean they will be the best for you, though.
Personality and experience
Your photographer is probably going to spend more time with you on your wedding day than anyone else. Make sure you “click” with them. Do you want someone loud, laid-back, quiet-behind-the-scenes, joker, jack-in-the-box, precious etc.? Everybody differs so make sure that your personality works with theirs.
You can probably learn a lot in the email exchange.
The other side of the coin is that the photographer is not there to be your best friend. Just he/she has the quirky personality doesn’t mean they will able to capture your legacy for your grandkids some day.
They still need to be a photographer first and a “friend” second.
The fact that they have a popular cute blog is going to mean nothing in 5 years’ time. It’s all about the images.
Remember in a way the photographer will be holding your hands the whole day. Almost like a wedding coach.
Someone with 200 weddings is probably going to know a bit more than someone with 5 weddings.
Knowledge and helpful
When you go and meet with your photographer ask questions. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience. You want a photographer that also has opinions and can see a possible problem way in advance.
Reliable and on time
Most of the time the way someone is on email is a reflection of their personality. You obviously get exceptions. When wedding season is in full swing and we are all working crazy hours to get our wedding books delivered don’t expect an answer in 10 min, though. Especially if your wedding is 18 months away!
Apples with apples
It must be so difficult to compare as everybody’s packages differ. Some have more hours, some have more output products. Some are more expensive on travel, etc.
Obviously, every wedding will differ. Try to keep focus on this when comparing the different options.
This pertains to all aspects: your needs, weather, people change of plans, unexpected things etc.
Skills vs output
If you have the choice between a great photographer that offer images on a disk versus an average photographer that offers two books, enlargements, key chains and few other bells and whistles, I will always go with option 1.
You can always get the bells and whistles later, but you can never redo the wedding. You will be stuck with those images for life.
Find out how long the photographer will take to have your photos ready. Obviously, a CD only option will be much quicker than a storybook option. No use in getting your photos only 3 months after the wedding.
Make sure you communicate your expectations to the photographer before you book him. Don’t surprise him/her a day or 2 before the wedding with some crazy idea and then be disappointed if it can’t happen. We don’t like surprises. The more we know sooner the better we can plan and ensure that your expectations are met.
It really is a big decision. Trust your gut and go with the photos that you love the most.
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