We, the wedding photographers are exactly like the zebras in Madagascar 2. Likewise striped, all talking at the same time, all saying the same thing. Our online presence is so overwhelming, if you dare use online search services you’re promptly bombarded with tens if not hundreds of replies and quotations, all of them pretty much identical.
So, how do you choose?
The following is glimpse into our world which, at the very least, will help you understand what makes most of us, (wedding) photographers folk, tick. Or tok.
We, the pro photographer bunch, are first and foremost people like everyone else. When we’re sitting across the table from you, trying to negotiate packages and prices, we look like adversaries locked in a fierce battle of wits and services, however, in reality we’re very much the same: we have mortgages, bills to pay, dogs to walk and all that jazz, therefore we’re guided by the same “roof overhead, food on table” rules like everyone else.
It may appear our profession makes for a glitzy, rewarding occupation but when we strip the glamour and take a peek inside, it’s still a job, very similar with most of them out there. Certainly, we don’t have to look at the same cubicle walls all day long but we still need to do our job the right way in order to survive. Just like you.
So when you sit across the table from us, it is worth remembering we all put the pants on one leg at a time (with variations) and look kind of silly in the morning in our nighties. We’re more similar than you think.
We’re not the adversary. Actually we’re on the same side, and when you think of hiring one of us for your big day, think along the lines of “hiring help” or, better said, of finding a good business partner.
Nothing turns us off more than you shopping for price only. It won’t really give you any meaningful answers while making us feel like just another non-descript product on shelf at WalMart. You would feel the exact same in a the same situation. Think of someone telling you: “I don’t care who you are, to me you’re just a piece of meat I will compare against other pieces of meat.” Really makes one feel special, doesn’t it?
Here’s a few things to help you along:
1. The Big One : We tend to avoid “tire kickers”. They represent a phenomenal waste of our time (and theirs as well but they don’t realize that). Besides if they had to deal with themselves they would start avoiding themselves as well…
2. So, in light of #1, take a few moments to see if you actually LIKE the person across you. Chances are if you’re NOT taking the time, the person across will kindly return the favour. It’s pretty hard hiring someone helpful, someone who you feel comfortable working with, unless you go beyond the simple “package” inquiry. Get us to like you as well… see where that leads…
3. Knowledgeable, nice people can be found at any price point. Same with a-holes. If you use price alone in your screening process you might miss this really nice photog, $150 more expensive, you would have otherwise loved. Keep in mind that buyers remorse could come from both spending too little or spending too much.
4. Once set on a short list of who you’d like to hire, seek to find out what they could do for you within the confines of your budget. There’s a very good chance to get preferential treatment once you sit down and show an honest interest in that photographer’s work. Chances are you click with the right photographer and that’s a world of opportunity for you to explore.
I know THIS photographer has a particular soft spot for young, nice, hard working couples who simply find it difficult to stretch their budgets (happens when you’re young and mostly penniless). To my business partner (who’s also my wife BTW) dismay, I always find a way to accomodate them… But… I have to like them first…