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How to choose a perfect photographer for your wedding? (Part 2 - Learning)

Welcome back to the journey of finding Nemo ... I mean, your perfect wedding photographer. We hope you did your homework from last week. If you happen to come across this post and absolutely have no idea what homework we are talking about, make sure to read Part 1 of this series: Research.

Last week, we left at step three: making a list of potential wedding photographer, and you should be able to define your style of wedding photography by now. This time, let's pick it up with step four.

 

  • Step four: know your budgets, and let it be flexible a little bit. If you keep it fixed and find only those who are within, chances are you will miss out the perfect one. Remember, you are looking for perfect photographer, not “within my budget” photographer. To determine your budget for wedding photographer, you need to answer these:
    • Do I need engagement session?
    • How many hour of coverage do I need? If you don't know, it is usually 8 ~ 10 hours for American wedding, and 12 hours or more for Asian (Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian) wedding.
    • Do I need print? Album, canvas, etc.

 

  • Step five: look at their websites for:
    • Prices: some photographers list packages right on their website, while some give it to you after you contact them.
    • FAQs: you will find information about their service (sometimes, prices lie here).
    • A particular wedding that you really like. Most likely to be the one with similar setting to yours.

=> Tips: show them that you really care about them and their service. They have many inquiries, so make yourself standout from the rest. Be sincere and honest. This is the first condition for negotiation.

 

  • Step six: email them.
    • Ask if they are available, of course. If they are not, ask if they can refer someone with similar style.
    • Ask for prices if you couldn’t find on their website.
    • Give them as many details about your wedding as possible. This helps them give you the most accurate and best quote.

=> Tips: don't use the same email template for all of them. Specifically tell them what you like about their works. This is why we told you to do things in step five. Let us repeat, "This is the first condition for negotiation." Also, it is easier for you to recognize which email comes from whom. Imagine you get 10 responses, and you used the same email template, you now officially get confused.

 

  • Step seven: pick ones with prices that are reasonable for your budget range (which can be slightly higher as we said earlier).
    • Remember: DO compare their prices to your budget. DO NOT compare their prices to each other.
    • Don't forget the answers in step four. If their price looks good but they only include basic wedding day coverage, adding other things might make it go up. If their price is above your budget range but they include album, asking them to take it off might make the price work for you.

=> Tips: make sure to give them as much details as possible and ask them if you want such and such, what the best quote would be. Don't afraid to negotiate with them. But don't expect them to change their quote significantly.

 

Now, the list might have 2 or 3 photographers left, or even none! If there is none left, you have two options (we advise against the third one):

  • Raise your budget. There is a reason why all photographers you like are completely out of your budget: the style/service/quality you look for is something other photographers cannot do.
  • Repeat step three (in Part 1). This time, remember to utilize all resources, expand your search, and spend more time.
  • Third option: reduce your expectation or standard. Your wedding is once-in-a-lifetime celebration that must not be compromised.

 

We will let you do all steps above and come back next week with Part 3: Interview.