This post is for all those people looking for wedding photographers.
You can always distinguish a wedding photographer and how long they have been in the business or how much professionalism one has based on their mannerism and communication skills. I think it is very important for the photographer to exhibit some qualities of professionalism because it is that same professionalism that they are going to bring to the job. So bear in mind there are many things that can be deemed examples of professionalism, but these are some of mine that I am looking for and have found.
1) Responding to inquiries in a timely manner. If you are a professional wedding photographer who shoots digital you have one of thing: a computer (duh!) and you might have another: blackberry (or as like to call it some delicious crackberry). Both of which are hooked up email. If you are a pro with your own website, your website email is either hooked up to your webmail or outlook/thunderbird/stupid mac mail. Point is they are always hooked up to their email. So if you send an email asking for pricing, a week is a good amount of time for a response. If you want to set up a meeting, 48 hrs is a good response time. But no response is not a good thing. What is the point of posting the email address or having a form if no one is going to answer it? I have emailed tons and tons of photographers and yet I have people who don't respond. If they don't want the business, then at least respond saying so. Then I have 1 guy who responded with vague pricing and so I emailed him back and he dropped all lines of communication (I know he didn't die because he is still blogging [Matthew Saville Baldon you have just been called out!]). Respond to your damn email you high priced rip offs.
2) Follow up emails are always a pleasant surprise. I say surprise because not a lot of people do it. I mean I know for the top guys they get so many inquiries that they don't need all the business so letting it slide is not a biggy. You generally see this from the smaller fish who need to fill the books. This is a nice little thing. It would be nice to see the big fish do it because maybe they can send out some referrals if prices are too high or unavailable. It is always nice to get referrals from other people in the business because they know talent.
3) If meeting, it is nice to call if going to be running late. It is a meeting, it is an interview, so better to be on time. You want them to make as good of an impression on you as possible otherwise why would you want to work with them.
4) A beverage offer is always nice. They should be trying to impress you and most of the time you are meeting them at a coffee shop or outdoor deli. They should offer to buy you a beverage. Meetings can go from 30 minutes to 1+hrs. During this time you might get parched and so it would be nice if you could have something to drink. Most big name guys do this because they know. It is the smaller guys that you don't get this treatment. It is what separates the pros from the wanna pros.
5) Show off your work. So maybe bringing a laptop is overkill but it is always a nice addition for someone to see your work. You should see an album at least. A plus would be if you saw a proof book to see the entire wedding so you can get a look at all the photos and not just the best of the best.
6) Post summary emails of meetings. We may not always be able to take notes during meeting or may not get everything so it is always nice to get this. We have met with 3 photogs and 1 has done this. This is very professional and gives a follow up to see if there were any unanswered questions.
These are just some things that I look at beyond body of work, price, and offerings. Most important is that you like the person and they have drive and motivation. Like they say you will be spending the most time with them and if you don't like anything about them, then cut them loose.
P.S. If you need a cheap, but good photographer, hit me up and I will send you some people who I think are worth more than their money.
4 months ago