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Picking a Photographer

Picking a Photographer

I just went through the process of picking a photographer for my wedding next Summer. I’m getting married outside of Portland, Oregon near the coast and wanted to find a photographer that would capture my wedding day perfectly. I’ll say this before I go further, I picked Dylan M Howell and couldn’t be happier. It was very overwhelming when I realized how many photographers there were in that area. My first day of searching, I opened what seemed like 200 tabs of photographers and started to make comparisons. The first thing I looked for was their overall skill. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting a student, or hobbyist. Then it was very important that they have their own distinct style, and that it was aligned with my own taste. After that, I started browsing through different shoots in the blog, making sure they were consistent. If that all checked out, I looked for more info or send them a note asking for pricing.

First Thing I Noticed

The first thing I noticed was that there was a very big distinction between the photographers that were doing this as a full-time job, and those that weren’t. Further, a lot can be said for replying to an email promptly. I never received responses from some of the photographers, others took weeks, some months to respond to a simple pricing inquiry. It definitely felt nice when you got a personal response within a few hours, no more than 24. It made me feel like they not only cared about me as a client, but that they would be prompt with further communication and everything else they do. Definitely a major point for me.

How to choose?

After sifting through all of the options, finding the photographers that had a style that fit with my needs, and then making sure they were within my budget I needed to make a decision. I scheduled meetings with three photographers. It was very interesting how differently they treated these meetings. The first two were very businesslike, it almost felt like I was buying a car from a shady dealership. That was a big turnoff for me. Dylan was much more personable and even stated that all of the details were covered between the pricing guide, his website, and the contract. This meeting was just an opportunity to get to know each other better and make sure that we were a good fit. I liked that approach. It made me realize that we’d be spending practically our entire wedding day with him, it is important that we like hanging out with each other.

Price

I didn’t realize how much variation there would be in pricing structures between photographers. Some have larger up front costs and nothing after you get the images, others have a small fee for the wedding, but you have to pay thousands of dollars to get the actual images. I definitely prefer knowing the total costs and taking care of it before the wedding so I don’t feel trapped after. Luckily, Dylan fit that model. Definitely make sure you have the rights to print your photos and download them for personal use! Also, I highly recommend spending a bit more and getting an experienced photographer. My sister went with a photographer that had just started shooting weddings and the results were absolutely horrible. She couldn’t find a single photo from her wedding day that made her happy.