Yesterday was the Vintage Hotels Wedding Show, and I was set up at Queen’s Landing all day meeting-and-greeting with many great couples. Every year, this Wedding Show is by far the best in the Niagara Region – the brides and grooms are always happy to stop and talk as opposed to wanting to just grab business cards and move on to the next booth. I had so many great conversations about photography, wedding ideas, venues, the importance of printing in today’s digital age and about different wedding photography styles.
I thought that I would share a few recent blog posts that I wrote that might be relevant to these many brides and grooms that I spoke with:
- Print to Preserve: Photography is best enjoyed in print
- Hybrid Wedding Albums: Traditional meetings modern
- Wedding Photography Styles: What differentiates wedding photographers?
- What makes a good picture?
I also spoke with a number of brides about my popular “Wedding Photography Bridal Tips” E-Mail Program (and in fact many of the brides I talked with were already enrolled in the program – yay!), and if it’s something you’re interested in reading more about, check it out here.
At the wedding show, I also had the chance to connect with many of my fellow professionals, such as local florists, decorators, cake artists, make-up artists, and even many of my photogra-friends! I was asked specifically by Angelica at Simply Beautiful Decor to photograph her booth, which was stunning, and so I wanted to share a few of those images here.
Finding a Professional Photographer
Wedding Shows are a great way for brides to meet the professionals that they will hire and trust on their wedding day as the best way to discover the right people is to meet them in person.
For photography (and I’m sure in other industries), most of the time the discovery process starts online and then moves offline to in-person meetings once a bride has created a “short list” of potential photographers.
Meeting with a prospective photographer can tell you a lot about them and how they’ll take care of you throughout the wedding planning process. This meeting has three main purposes:
- You’ll be able to sit down, talk with them and get to know them better. After the meeting, you’ll know whether they’re someone you can picture being with you for your entire wedding day.
- You’ll be able to get into detailed discussion with them about their style, philosophy, and approach. While you can gather the gist of this information online, nothing can replace an in-person conversation about these items.
- Lastly, there is no better way to judge a photographer’s work and the quality of their imagery than to see it in person, in print. It’s relatively easy to make an image look decent on a website on a small computer screen, whereas it’s a completely different thing to have an image look great when it’s printed 60” wide or in an album.
How do you start searching for photographers? Here is my comprehensive and prioritized list of recommendations:
- Ask for referrals from friends or family members who recently got married within the last 5 years. Ask them who they used and whether they were happy with the experience, the customer service, and ultimately, their photographs. Do they have an album made that you can see? That will be the best judge of the photographer’s skill – to see their finished work in one of their clients finished pieces.
- Ask for a referral from your other wedding professionals. The individuals and businesses that you hire for your wedding day (florist, decorator, reception venue, etc) collaborate and work at weddings every weekend, and they see wedding photographers all of the time. They usually have an indication for who’s good, who’s not and who delivers the best quality to their clients. Especially ask your wedding venue – they often see the same photographers weekend after weekend and so they will be happy to refer you to their favourites. If your wedding photographer has been to your wedding venue many times then they will be comfortable and familiar there, which is an added benefit to you.
- This next recommendation may be the biggest secret in the industry, and probably one of the most effective ways to search for any type of business online. Turn to Facebook. I don’t mean just look up business names on Facebook or ask friends, you can use Facebook’s built-in “Search” just like a Search Engine. It returns results that are geographically relevant, based on your profile and friends list and they are uniquely generated for you. It’s very cool! Like I said, it’s one of the biggest secrets in searching for businesses, and it’s highly relevant when searching for wedding photographers. Go to Facebook and type in “Photographers that my friends like”. This will show you the top Facebook pages that your friends on Facebook like.
- If you still haven’t found the right photographer or want a few more options to consider, you can resort to Google. If you search for “ Wedding Photographer”, where the “ ” is your city or region name, then it is fairly safe to say that the photographers on the first two pages will be your best options. Google rewards websites that have lots of activity, frequent updates and those that have been around the longest. These are all good indicators for you. The photographers who come up on the first page or two will have “proven” themselves to Google in that they have lots of visitors (so they must be pretty popular to attract visitors to their site), they obviously update their site often (meaning that they photograph often and are always sharing new work), and they have been around a while (there’s something to be said about longevity and reputation).
Lesson – Use a combination of recommendations and search results to research photographers. If you happen to see the same few photographers coming up time and time again, then that is likely more than just a coincidence.
To learn more tips about how to choose a wedding photographer, I’d love it if you joined my popular 4-week e-mail program designed here. In the meantime, enjoy this infographic that I created for you to illustrate the 4 steps to searching for a wedding photographer.
You can also check out the other blog posts in this “Wedding Photography Tips” series here: