In a previous post, I wrote about How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer, mainly focusing on navigating the different styles and products out there. But what do you do now that you’ve got a few photographers that you’re ready to contact? I will chat about that process below!
Everyone does things a bit differently, so what I mention here might vary between the people you contact. But here is some general advice:
Book Your Venue & Planner First
First off the bat, it’s important for you to have an idea of a date (e.g. summer 2025) and a rough budget first (e.g $45,000 to $52,000). Then contact and book a venue and your wedding planner first. This will give you a rough idea of the date, times and locations for your wedding and make contacting your photographer much smoother. Your wedding planner may also have some vendor recommendations for you.
Understanding How Much Coverage You Need
It’s important for you to have a rough idea of how much photography coverage you need. This is largely determined by the size of the wedding, both in the duration and the number of guests. This will also determine if you’d want a second (or even third!) photographer. For example, a very typical amount of coverage is 8 hours (e.g. from 12pm to 8pm). This provides enough time for the photographers to photograph details, getting ready, first look, couples session, ceremony, group photos, cocktail hour, speeches, first dance, and the reception dinner. If you want photos of the dance party, you might want to push the hours of coverage up to 10 or 12 hours total (e.g. from 12pm to 10pm). If you are having religious or cultural ceremonies, these may happen earlier in the day and may also require more coverage (e.g. from 10am to 10pm). I also highly suggest this video by Chelsea Nicole Photography, explaining how to plan your wedding timeline with photography in mind.
My standard suggestion for a 100-guest non-religious wedding is 8 to 10 hours coverage with two photographers. If you have a church wedding earlier in the day, I would suggest 10 to 12 hours coverage with two photographers. For small wedding of 20 to 40 guests, I would suggest 4 to 6 hours coverage with one or two photographers. If you have a multi-day 250+ guest wedding, I highly suggest 10 to 12 hours coverage with three photographers. When you let your photographer know your wedding plans, they will be able to give you a much better estimate!
Get in Touch!
Once you’ve got your venue and planner booked, get in touch! Most photographers will have a contact form that ask you a few questions about your wedding. The more details you include in this initial email, the more detailed and helpful their response will be! Include information about you and your love, your venue and planner, the number of guests, your theme (if you have one!), and any other information you’d want them to know (e.g. grandpa is flying across the country for this event, or your dog is going to be the ring bearer).
The time they respond from your time of inquiry will also be extremely important. I’ve heard some horror stories from friends and clients where they just have never gotten a reply, or they’ve set up a meeting and the photographer just never showed up! If you’re not a priority to them now, it’s stressful to think about how they may communicate with you closer to your wedding.
Set up a Meeting
Once you know they’re available and you’re ok with their quoted price, I highly suggest having a quick call to get to know them. You’ll be spending time with this person for most of the day (really more time than any other guest at your wedding!), so you’ll want to know they’ll make you comfortable and have fun. Many photographers also offer physical products (like albums!), so it’s a great way to see and feel these things too. Traditionally, these meetings are had in coffee shops or over some wine! But with the pandemic, most of these meetings have moved online.
At this meeting, ask your photographer some questions! This is really a little meet-and-greet, and a bit of a mutual interview. Here are some questions I would ask your potential photographer:
- How long have you been working in wedding photography? What drew you to this type of work?
- Do you have a contract? How do you take payments?
- How do you choose your second shooter?
- What does rescheduling look like?
- How do you protect/back-up your photos after the event?
- What are your model release/photo printing policies?
- Can we change the package/add more hours closer the wedding date?
- Do you have a travel fee for my venue?
- How many shoots/weddings do you take a year?
Sign the Contract & Send a Deposit
Having a photography contract or agreement is SOOOO important. It sets the expectations for both parties and outlines everything that is a part of your wedding photography package. Carefully read and understand the terms. If everything looks in tip top shape, sign and send your deposit and you’ll be on your way!
Preparing for the Wedding
Leading up to the wedding, your photographer will likely get in touch again, especially if you have an engagement session planned. You may also chat about any changes or concerns, or ask for vendor recommendations as you plan the other parts of your wedding.
One of the things I love to photograph are wedding details; these include invitations, rings, accessories and any other pieces that make your wedding YOURS. I will have a future post about this! I also like to meet with my couples about 7-10 days before their wedding to chat last minute details about their wedding and to get them excited!!! We will usually discuss timelines, locations and anything else that we might want to touch on (e.g. how and where group photos will be done, who will be the point of contact that day, etc.)
We, as your wedding day vendors, are here to solve your problems and make your wedding go as smoothly and as stress-free as possible! You’ll have the best day ever and have so much fun!
If you’re interested in booking me for your wedding in Vancouver and beyond, get in touch here!