One of the most-asked questions I get from Boston-area brides is “How do I go about finding a wedding photographer?” Your wedding photographer is the single-most important vendor you will hire for your wedding day. They basically hold your memories in their hands and any time you, your fiancé, your friends and family want to reminisce about your wedding, everyone will turn to your wedding photos. Since no bride wants any regrets, I decided to turn to a someone who could really give us the scoop on what to look for in hiring the perfect wedding photographer. I turned to Boston wedding photographer Brittany Blando, of BKB Photography. Chances are, you have heard of Brittany and her fabulous work! You probably know her name from fellow brides, some of her past clients, or from blogs such as mine. That’s right! You may remember reading about her earlier this year here on bridalista.com! She’s my go-to gal for anything wedding photography related. Why, you ask? She’s smart, reputable, talented, trustworthy, and her clients simply love working with her. I spoke to Brittany about what brides are concerned about and asked about some tips she might have for any newly engaged couple searching for that perfect wedding photographer. Here’s what she had to say:
Bridalista: When should a couple begin the process of searching for a wedding photographer?
Brittany: As soon as you nail down your wedding date and secure a venue, you should begin your search for the perfect photographer. I always recommend 6-12 months is a good standard. 2014 brides are booking early, in fact our studio is nearly half way reserved for 2014 and we’re not even at the end of the season yet! Every other wedding vendor will fall into place after that. There are numerous florists, transportation companies, and makeup & hair stylists, but finding the “one perfect person” to capture your big moment is most important. I may be a little bit biased, but your wedding photos are truly your wedding keepsake for you, your family, and for generations to come.
Bridalista: What are some of the questions a couple should ask prospective wedding photographers?
Brittany: Being in the business for nearly 11 years, I have seen the Boston wedding photography industry change from technology to digital capture and have seen other photographers come and go. It’s important to communicate with any vendor you hire and to ask questions such as:
• How long have you been capturing weddings?
• Is this your full time job? I can’t tell you how important this is! Anyone who is not running their business full time can make it virtually impossible for you to contact them when you might need to. You really want to feel confident that they are going to devote the entire wedding experience to you.
• Do you only capture wedding and family milestones? Part time photographers or photographers that capture sports, commercial or even fashion may not be the right fit for you. A wedding is a life milestone and you do not get a “do-over”, as they say. Knowing how to capture the day, what moments to capture, and how to address family dynamics, as well as the photography know-how is all about the expertise that can only come with years of full time experience.
• How many weddings do you capture per season? Any studio capturing more than 40 weddings per year is not a studio you should consider. They may treat their business as more of a numbers game and the only people that will suffer the consequences are the couples who don’t get 100% of the attention they deserve, and quite honestly, the attention they deserve and are paying for.
• Do you have a studio or do you work from home? Boston bridal customers are savvy these days. They do their research on wedding vendors and allocate every dollar of their wedding budge wisely. It’s important to know if a photographer has a fancy studio because you, as a customer, are paying for it one way or another. Being in the digital age, we’re all mobile and can easily work from a computer at home. I suggest to do your research, because a photographer with a glitzy address doesn’t mean they are the highest quality around.
• Ask your photographer about posting photos on Facebook. Sharing is all about the social media experience, but it’s important that you and your photographer know the expectations on both sides. That means you should ask a potential photographer if there is a possibility your engagement and wedding may be featured on their Facebook page, other social media sites, website or marketing material. And you should also discuss permission for your own photo use. You may not want to be on Facebook or a blog or you may want your wedding featured everywhere. Typically, my studio will post 10 favorites with a watermark for a “sneak peek” on Facebook. This allows our new, past and potential clients to see new work and allows our clients to tag themselves via Facebook.
• I have made a Pinterest board – can I share that with you? Yes, please! I’m a tad obsessed with Pinterest! (Who isn’t these days?) Personally, I love to see what brides are attracted to and it gives me ideas when I capture their engagement or weddings. It helps keep me creative. I know why they have hired my studio, but I love it when a bride contributes to a visual idea!
• Do you do a site visit with us prior to our wedding?
• Are you the one shooting the wedding? I can’t tell you how important this is. In fact, make sure this is in your contract and if it’s not, I would advise not to sign it. If you hire a wedding vendor of any discipline, photography or otherwise, you really need to know who will be the person assigned to your wedding day. If you decide to hire a vendor based on their experience, and they end up sending an assistant who doesn’t have the same caliber of experience as the person you hired, you may not get the level of service you originally expected. And on top of that, you paid for the more experienced person. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to meet a photographer you end up liking based on their past work, liking the price tag, and then come to find out on your wedding day, it’s someone else shooting your wedding. You know the saying – “you get what you pay for” – so ask up front.
• I’ve looked at a photographer who is less expensive than you. Can you please explain your pricing? There are a handful of photographers in the Boston area that are at a high end price point (BKB falls into that category). Brides know they are getting BKB to capturing their day. I will assist them throughout the process of planning and they know they will have a stellar experience. With pricing comes experience. Generally, the higher the price, the more experience and talent your photographer has. The bottom line is, do your research, read online reviews, and ask recently married friends to share their vendor experiences.
• Do you shoot one wedding a weekend or do you book all days?
• What happens if you have an emergency? Who will cover my wedding?
• What is my day runs behind schedule? Will there be a cost associated with that?
• What is your overtime fee?
• Do you have back up equipment? What kind of gear do you use? Make sure to ask them to explain. By gaining insight on their gear and the above, you will gain a sense of their knowledge even if it’s gibberish to you. You will have the common sense to recognize their knowledge and know-how.
Bridalista: What is an appropriate amount of time a couple should expect to see their wedding proofs / digital photos?
Brittany: Expect your online proofing gallery within 4-6 weeks of your wedding. Depending on your photographer’s schedule, wedding albums can take just a few weeks or a few , and all of that depends on the designing and binding of an album. At BKB, clients should expect their digital files in the mail within 1 week of their wedding being online.
Bridalista: What is your opinion in couples contacting photographer references or past clients?
Brittany: Go online to sites like WeddingWire.com and read real reviews from brides and grooms on all sorts of wedding vendors in their area. The reviews are candid, honest, and come with a rating system. If you feel after reading reviews you would like to speak with a past client, feel free to contact the photographer and ask them to connect you. I personally do not have a problem with my new clients and past clients communicating. It rarely happens for me these days as I have been established in the local market for some time and hold a stellar reputation. The online reviews are usually enough for my potential clients. My clients generally book over the phone because I strive to make my website so informative; they usually get all the info they need there. Couples can see my past events, different themed weddings I have covered, and a great FAQ section. My clients know I am available to them morning, noon and night. I run my business with this motto: “treat everyone the way you would want to be treated, never sell anything you wouldn’t want yourself and be available at anytime for your client.”
Just last weekend, I captured a spectacular wedding where my bride and I become close during the planning process. She called me that Monday to re-cap the day, to talk about everything that was on her mind from family dynamics to her relationship to being so excited to see her photos. I was driving when she called and it didn’t matter to me that I was out and about. I stopped everything I was doing to focus all my attention on her and that’s how it should be. Clients and potential customers want to feel that connection. As small businesses, that is all we have these days!
Bridalista: What are a few red flags that couples should watch out for when speaking with potential photographers?
Brittany: Be careful of photographers that do weddings as hobby or have been in the business less than 3 years. I’ve always said it takes 20 weddings to understand how a wedding really works. Photography is visual – study their photos and ask questions.
So, brides, there you have it! Tips from our fav Boston wedding photographer, Brittany Blando of BKB Photography. I love how she was so candid and honest with us, don’t you? I fell confident that you are better prepared when meeting not only wedding photographers, but all wedding vendors now.
If you have any questions, I know Brittany would be more than happy to connect with you and provide any advice and her words of wisdom. You can reach her through the following:
Online at www.BKBPhoto.com
Good luck with your wedding planning!
(All photos courtesy of BKB Photography)