How to Hire: Part 1

How to Hire a Wedding Photographer: Part 1

Hello, Bryan again. I promise you Helen is coming up very soon with a dynamite blog post that you will absolutely love but for now you are stuck with me. Today I’m starting a three part series on how you select a wedding photographer.

OK this first part is super easy. Really, I promise. The very first thing is to figure out HOW you want to select a photographer. I know that seems a little odd since I’m supposed to tell you how right? Work with me and we will get there.

When I say HOW, what I mean is what is important about the photographer to you? Is it the cost, experience level, existing galleries/pictures, equipment, LGBTQ friendliness, how the photographer will dress on your wedding day, whatever you like. You should pick 3-5 aspects and rank them in order of importance to you. Some ideas of things you can score on include but are not limited to:

  • Cost:I always think you want to consider cost but maybe not as your most important point. I mean you absolutely can’t get the $15,000 wedding photographer if your budget is $2,000, but you would be amazed how often you can get the $2,400 photographer with a budget of $2,000. Helen likes to say that we are all artists and artists just want to be picked. I find that we bend a lot more when a couple really wants to work with us.

  • Pictures: I’ll talk about this next week, but you don’t just want great pictures. You want great pictures of people who look like you and great pictures that look like the places where you will get married. I can’t stress this enough, it is super important that your photographer has worked with couples that look like you and that you like those pictures.

  • Temperament: This one is a Helen pick but she hits the nail on the head. Your photographer has to work with you. Your photographer also has to work with your 6 year old flower girl who talks incessantly about My Little Pony. And your Aunt Silvia who doesn’t like anyone, including her husband your Uncle Julio. Your photographers have to be able to communicate clearly with all these personalities and coax them into being their best selves for 2 seconds at a time.

  • LGBTQ Stance: If you are in the queer community or just support I think this has to be high on your list. Not just someone who will meet you, or someone who can show you pictures of their LGBTQ weddings. Get someone who proudly displays their LGBTQ weddings on their website (here is a hint, we do!!!). Get someone who champions you the way you deserve to be championed.

  • Reviews: Go to sites like Wedding Wire and find out what their clients say about them.

  • Equipment- I’m including this so it’s considered but equipment only really matters for one reason, that you want to be sure your videos are in high definition and if you want pictures bigger than 8x10 you need much higher end cameras than most photographers use.

  • Offerings/Services:Do they have what you want? Prints, video, save the dates, etc.

This list is by no means all inclusive. You and your partner should select the 3-5 categories that are most important to you and use those to make your selection. Why only 3-5 things? Because the more criteria you select the less important each one becomes.

Helen and I selected 

  • Pictures

  • Temperament

  • Connectedness (how strong is the vendor connected in the wedding industry)

  • Cost

Those are the four areas we chose and we put them in order from most important to least (the order they are in above.) From there, in each area as we interviewed vendors we gave them a score of 0 in an area if they were not what we were looking for, a 1 if they seemed to be a good fit and a 2 if we felt really good about that vendor in that area. So a vendor would end up with a first scoring pass that looked like this:

Vendor A:

  • Pictures 1

  • Temperament 2

  • Connectedness 1

  • Cost 1

We’d then eliminate any vendor that had a zero in a category. After all there were only 4 categories so they are all important, you can’t be unable to meet a core requirement and still be selected. Since there were 4 categories we gave the most important category a multiplier of 4, second most important 3 and so on. Like so:

  • Pictures 4x1=4

  • Temperament 3x2=6

  • Connectedness 2x1=2

  • Cost 1x1=1

  • Total = 12

And we found out right away that we could both easily and quickly agree on which vendor we preferred. 

It doesn’t really matter what areas you base your decision on or what multiplier you use to get to the answer you want. The key here is that before you make a decision that you plan HOW you will make a decision and stick to it. It will be much easier to stay on track and not be sold on bells and whistles that you don't need or want. And by the way, Helen and I are only an example here because for our shoot, we selected a photographer from those who already work for us.