For me, it is boiled down to one single word: Forks.
Yep, you heard right; Forks. Why forks you may ask? Nope, it’s not a reference to the town just north of me that was featured in the movie Twilight. It’s a reference of the ONLY interesting photo in my entire wedding album.
Exciting, huh? Yeah, didn’t think so.
I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but I did not hire a professional for my wedding back in 1998. We asked a “friend with a nice camera” to take the photos. First off, I was only 18 and my husband was not much older at age 20. I just figured everything would be out of our price range so we didn’t even list it as a priority. I had even mentored under a photographer at this point but I never even asked him what he would charge me because I just figured it would be too much and I certainly didn’t expect him to just donate his services. Heck, I rented my wedding dress because I thought dresses would be thousands of dollars. It all seems so silly now! Ahhh, such were the days before the wide-spread use of the interwebs for every day information!
So I am taking advantage of the internet for YOUR benefit, so YOU don’t make the same mistake that myself and many others have made.
I have countless inquiries per year for weddings and sometimes I will run into these couples that had decided not to hire me, but have the infamous ‘friend with a nice camera’ take their photos and they express their regret. The most common reason for engaged couples not hiring a photographer is money. It can be expensive to hire a photographer. But it can also be something that can be easily and relatively painlessly planned for.
We as photographers understand the economy– heck we live day-to-day in it too, but want to help you achieve the goal of exceptional photos for your wedding! Speaking specifically for our own studio, we do have some large packages but we also offer smaller packages that are broken down by the events that you want photographed on your big day. In any case, we try our very best to make the memories of your day totally within reach for you by offering different payment methods and also payment plans.
I’d like to share some tips with you, regardless of which photographer you choose:
1. One of the first things you need to do after setting your date is start calling and interviewing photographers. Photographers fill up FAST!! It is wise to start calling around well in advance of your wedding date.
2. Check to see that the photographers you are looking into are licensed in your state. There are a MYRIAD of people calling themselves photographers on the internet and you don’t need a business license to have a website. If they are not licensed for business and they take your money, they are committing fraud. There is no accountability and you run the risk of never seeing your investment again. In Washington State, click this link to find whether or not your photographer has a business license. (Go search us! We’re there!)
3. Ask if your photographer has insurance to cover any mishaps that could happen. It is important to know that if they do not have a business license, they cannot get business insurance. We hold inland marine, liability, and indemnity insurance.
4. Ask to see an entire wedding. This is important because often you see only snippets of weddings in a portfolio. If you can see an entire wedding from start to finish, you get a better idea of how they run a show!
5. Ask them how long they have been photographing professionally. While a university level education is not necessarily indicative of a quality, professional photographer, it is important to know how long they have been shooting professionally. I, personally, have been shooting professionally since 1999 and have been in the industry since 1994.
At the end of your day, besides the vows you made to one another, you have your rings and your photos to look back on. All the money that was spent on catering, flowers, dresses, tuxes, decorations, and venues… it’s all gone in a day. If a photographer is where you want to scrimp and save, you may well end up with some forks.
If you are on the fence about hiring a wedding photographer, give us a call! More than likely, we have a way to fit the very best photography into your special day! 360-560-0064