As you begin planning your wedding, it can feel overwhelming to try and determine all the things that need to be done. What will help is taking one planning area at a time, for example: creative professionals.
Before you research photography and videography for your big day, read this!
If you’re beginning to figure out how to shop for a wedding photographer and videographer, here are the five best things to do to get started.
First, make a physical or mental list of the key qualities and offerings that you’re looking for in a photo and video partner. This list could include things like a ballpark price or specific style.
Do an initial online search in your area on reputable websites which have built in vendor search features like WeddingWire, or The Knot. Start jotting down companies which seem to stand out. Don’t be afraid if you have a long list right now since you’re just beginning your research.
Ask your loved ones, with a focus on people who recently got married. (Make sure to go outside of in-person and post this as a question on your social media because you’ll cast a wider net than people in your inner circle.)
Begin to make a list of vendors that you’d like to research further and spend some time on their websites. Pay close attention to pages which feature details like FAQs (if available) because you will glean some important insights here.
Read online reviews to help narrow down your list and then begin to reach out. While you should take reviews with a grain of salt since each event will vary, they can help provide some direction from couples with real experience.
At this point, you should have a few on your list that begin to stand apart from the rest. Now, this is where the details matter most. Read on for tips on how to shop for a wedding photographer and videographer.
How to Find the Right Wedding Photographer and Videographer
Once you have a list of professionals that you’re ready to reach out to, begin to think through the things that you would like to find out so that you can make sure you’re selecting the right partner. When it comes to selecting a photographer and videographer for your big day, you need to feel confident that they are the right partner. Do your due diligence in the research phase and take your time to ask questions. The right vendor will make you feel comfortable, without added pressure, and ensure that you get what you need.
Wedding Planning 101: Selecting Your Photographer and Videographer
Here are 10 tips to help you figure out how to shop for a wedding photographer or videographer. Much like finding “The One”, there will be a season of courtship here, too!
1. Research their pricing and whether packages are available. To get a better understanding of the services available, ask for a menu that outlines their offerings. This will provide you with clarity on the breadth of services and whether customizations will be possible. As you review, keep in mind that one of the most effective ways to purchase time with creative professionals is to buy a package. Not all companies offer them, so this is a bonus. (See our pricing for all packages and add-ons here.)
2. Find out about their styles for both photo and video. Just like when you’re courting in a relationship, it’s important to find a photo and video vendor who is going to match your style. Moving forward with a larger team who has experience in a variety of settings, as well as cultures, will be a plus because they’ll be more likely to work with you to meet your needs.
In our booking process, we take time to get to know you and your significant other to make sure we pair you with the right professional. We capture classic photographs and include both posed and candid. Most of our photos are light and airy (we use light to our advantage!) For video, we use the Highlight and Documentary styles. No matter the style, our goal is to evoke the sentiment of…you guessed it…joy!
3. Find out how they handle shot lists, and how much you have a say in what gets captured. This is an area where you will want to seek out both organization as well as flexibility. Some photo and video companies have a specific shot list that they follow, without the ability to customize. While others might fall on the other end of the spectrum, where they don’t have a standard shot list. Once you’ve booked with us, we will provide you with a standard shot list which are built into a custom timeline. And if you partner with us for both photo and video, the timeline will cover all of the Joy team members supporting you. Our timeline template will allow you to include your ‘VIPs’ for each portion of the wedding day. This is a happy medium since you’ll get the ability to add in your custom moments, without feeling like you’re starting from square one.
4. Get to know their high-level processes. As you start to learn more, it’s recommended to ask your potential vendor partner to summarize what it’s like to do business with them. If you’re interested in working with us, we recommend that you review Joy packages and pricing first and then get in touch with us. You will be paired up with a personal consultant who will make sure we have the right package selected. You will then receive proposal options so that you can review everything with your fiancé, family, and friends. Once you feel like you’re ready to move forward, all that you need to do to lock down your date is to sign and pay your initial retainer fee. Then we’ll partner with you every step of the way from this point forward.
5. Find out about the booking and payment process. Beginning to get more specific details like when payments are due will help give you a better idea of what it’s like to work with them. (This will also help as you plan your wedding budget and when certain expenses will need to be paid.) At Joy Photo and Video, we generally ask for a 50% initial retainer fee, but we accept initial retainer fees as low as $300 to book and secure your date.
6. Ask about contracts. When you’re walking on Cloud 9, a contract doesn’t seem very romantic---but it’s incredibly important! A contract may include policies such as hours of coverage, cancelation guidelines, payment schedules, and liability insurance. This is critical documentation of an agreement that has been put in place between the couple and the production company so take this seriously. No contract? Not a good sign!
If you book with us, we provide our couples with an agreement which outlines everything that has been agreed to so that there are no surprises. Having everything documented will provide clarity and help take the pressure off, so that you can get back to being on Cloud 9 and then we’ll handle the rest.
7. Get to know the fine print. Are there added fees? One of the hardest parts about booking different wedding vendors is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you do your due diligence by asking direct questions, you will get more clarity on whether they are the right fit. For example, many companies charge an additional price to provide rights to your photos and downloadable RAW files. This means that if you’d like to edit or print additional options, then you would need to work directly with them. If you book with us, you will receive a digital transfer link to download your RAW files.
8. Ask about delivery timelines. Depending on the size of your team, there may be thousands of photos, and many hours of footage to sift through before the editing process begins. This takes time and it’s important that you get appropriate expectations set---since you will be highly anticipating seeing the finished product! We usually deliver everything within 6 weeks after your wedding, but we promise to deliver everything within 12 weeks after your wedding.
9. Pay attention to what sets them apart. Since this will be one of the biggest days of your life, it’s important to find a team of wedding vendors who recognize the importance of this day. As you browse through Google searches, many websites may start to sound familiar. Take a deeper look and find what makes them unique.
For example, do they help get you excited about the big day? Does it seem like they understand how important this milestone is in your life? If so, that’s a good sign. At Joy Photo and Video, our team consists of the top 10% of wedding photography and videography professionals in the industry. We are service-focused, with exceptional technical skills, and have ample experience shooting weddings across the nation.
10. See what real couples have experienced. Just like with a swanky restaurant that’s new in town, it’s helpful to see what others have shared about their experiences through the form of online reviews and posted portfolios. Here is a compilation of reviews from Joy couples (taken from WeddingWire and The Knot.) At the time of this posting, we have an average review of 4.7 stars on The Knot and WeddingWire! Once you’ve done that, take some time to peruse through our portfolios of real couples here.
Shopping for a Wedding Photographer and Videographer
With all of these tips for how to shop for a wedding photographer and videographer, making your final selection might come down to a feeling. Just like when you selected your significant other based on the confident feeling in your gut, the right wedding partners should make you feel seen and cared for.
At Joy Photo and Video, we pride ourselves on being a national award-winning wedding photography and videography production company. But what’s most important to us is knowing that we play a role in bringing you and your significant other more joy throughout your planning process. We make the booking process simple and provide clear communication every step of the way through your dedicated bridal consultant. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help bring your wedding day to life through photo and video.
[Photoshoot and video in the spotlight: Maryling + Andrew in Jacksonville, Florida.]
The Joy Team