You will hire lots of people to make your wedding come together. It really does take a village. But without question, one of the most important vendors you will hire is your photographer. Why? A couple reasons. First, this person will be with you ALL day. And most importantly, when all the cake has been eaten and the dances danced, the only thing you’ll have left are your memories and your pictures.
There are literally hundreds of wedding photographers in Miami. Maybe even thousands. When I was searching for mine, it felt like millions. I spent hours upon hours researching photographers, analyzing their every picture, reading every review. Here are some of the things I learned about choosing a wedding photographer.
1) The very most important thing is that you genuinely like and connect with your photographer. After a several month search, I thought I had found my photographer. Her pictures were beautiful and she customized a package just for me at a reduced rate (more on that later). I told her I would be happy to hire her as our wedding photographer. I should have felt elated. The search was over! But something felt off and I had a bad feeling inside. I couldn’t understand why. And then it hit me. I just didn’t like her all that much. She had been perfectly pleasant on the phone and totally professional, but we didn’t really connect. Before I signed the contract, I continued my search. My day of coordinator recommended a photographer they work with all the time, Santy Martinez. From just one conversation, I knew he was the guy to capture our day. Like they say, when you know, you know. Trust your instincts.
2) Book your photographer early on in the process. Finding the right photographer can be a lengthy process, which is why you want to get an early start. Most photographers are booked up to a year in advance, so the sooner you start the better. You don’t want your favorite photographer to be snagged by another bride now do you?
3) There is almost always room for negotiation. Many wedding photographers will list their prices on their websites. You’ll usually find this under the “Investment” tab. But many more photographers will not. You’ll have to contact them first. This is a little frustrating, as you might fall in love with pictures you will come to find out you can’t afford. But I found that just about every photographer I spoke to was willing to negotiate. First, you have to know exactly what’s important to you and what you want. For example, I knew that I wanted someone to take pictures of us getting ready (in addition to the ceremony and reception, of course) an online gallery and an album. Everything else was an extra I simply didn’t care about or need right away. I could always order prints or parent albums later. I told every photographer what I wanted and how much I had to spend. Just about all of them were willing to customize packages in my price range. Don’t be afraid to ask for you want, but remember to be reasonable. If packages start at $5,000, you’re not likely to get the same package for $2,000.
4) Read every review you can BEFORE you contact a photographer and be wary of those with bad or no reviews. Of course, references from friends and family who have used a particular photographer are best. But the next best thing are online reviews. Make sure you Google, Google, Google your photographers. Websites like The Knot and WeddingWire have reviews for wedding photographers. These are useful because they’re real life tales of people’s experiences. This is how you’ll know if this photographer shows up late or takes a year and a half to produce an album or misses out on pictures s/he was specifically asked to take. You’ll notice that some people just like to complain about useless things, but most reviews are really helpful. Never hire anyone before reading reviews or getting references because once you sign on the dotted line, you’re stuck!
How did you know your photographer was “the one”?