Choosing the photographer was one of the first wedding planning tasks we accomplished. I must have e-mailed between 15-20 different photographers. I had no clue what our budget was, but since I am a girl who loves my memories, I was willing to splurge.
Reflecting back on the process, I should have been better about narrowing my choices before contacting all of those people. Everyone I contacted, in my opinion, is exremely talented and therefor they probably don't have a lot of time to waste e-mailing people who aren't seriously interested. At the time of contact I thought I was interested, but I just hadn't done enough research and budget planning to know exactly what we were looking for other than someone extremely talented.
I spoke with photographers ranging in the low 2K range to over 10k. The photographers over the 10k range were pretty amazing and depending on what your looking for they may be worth every penny..... but as a bride on a budget, they were knocked out of the search immediately. Luckily after a lot of searching I found a photographer who I think is worth the 10K, but doesn't charge it!
It came down to a few photographers who I set up appointments with. The first one was David Bibeault. He was recommended by a videographer we had met with. He had the lowest prices in our search, which oddly made me wary. I went in with low expectations. I always think, you get what you pay for. So I was willing to splurge on our photos because I want them to be amazing.
He made me change my whole perspective on "you get what you pay for". In my area, everyone I contacted seemed to be right around 5k or up for photography packages with what we wanted included (Engagement Shoot, Full Day Coverage, Rights to Photos, Wedding Album, Online Viewing, Disc of all Images). When we met with Dave, we not only loved his prices, but him as well. He really put us at ease. His work was amazing and totally changed my perception on the cost of things. I feel really lucky to have found him. When we first booked him he had a pretty basic site with some galleries, but a few months after booking he updated his site and started a blog and facebook page, which made me like him even more! Now I can check out his most recent work. Most of the other photographers had blogs, which really gave me more insight into their work and style. I wasn't sure what to expect from him, until I actually met with him.
The lesson I learned during the process of looking for our photographer was to do your research before contacting vendors and know that there are hidden jewels out there. If you find someone in your budget, who you doesn't have a lot of work on the internet, take the opportunity to meet him/her and give them a chance.
Did anyone else learn how to better deal with vendors and what to expect from vendors after your first few bookings?
All photos credited to: David Bibeault