Hiring Your Wedding Photographer Remotely
Hiring Your Destination Wedding Photographer Remotely
It’s a Saturday morning, as I pack up my gear and head off to a wedding. The bride and I have talked extensively about what she wants for her big day, and I’ve already know the venue and have a few ideas for shots in my head. There’s just one catch.
I’ve never met the bride or groom.
Only, it’s not really a big deal. In fact, this is my normal – couples hiring me without ever first having a face-to-face meeting. We exchange e-mails and phone calls. They ask for samples of my work. And we handle everything, from contracts to big day detail discussions, without every actually getting together.
Ten years ago, most couples never would have thought to hire a photographer (or any other vendor, for that matter) without first meeting them in person. But a shift has been occurring in recent years, making these remote hires much more common. For many couples, it may be their only option if they are planning a destination wedding and don’t live in town. But for others, it is simply a matter of time. They are busy people with busy lives, and they have learned that if things can be handled without carving time out of their day for a live meeting – doing so is often optimal.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still more than happy to meet with couples in person when that is what they prefer. And even more so, I love being able to photograph my couples before the big day – arranging an engagement photo shoot, and even tagging along for a few of the pre-wedding events. But when couples need to hire me sight unseen, for whatever reason, I am also understanding of that. Because like I said – it is becoming fairly normal.
So what should you know (or ask) if you are looking to hire a wedding photographer you won’t be able to actually meet before the big day?
First of all, I would recommend requesting a full wedding to view. If you just review what the photographer has on their website – you’ll just get the best of their images, without getting a true understanding of what you might expect when they shoot your wedding day as a whole. A full wedding (as in what would be delivered as a whole) allows you to assess the quality of all the images you might receive, and gives you an idea of what you will be getting for your money, should you hire this photographer.
For most couples, viewing the website, an album or two, plus a full wedding is enough to give them a sense of what a photographer is capable of. This should allow you to ensure you are hiring someone with a style that matches your own vision. You can also ask questions about the types of images you are personally hoping to achieve, and about anything else you may be concerned about.
Make sure you also understand all the terms of any agreement you may make. We are definitely in the midst of a digital age, and signing digital contracts is a fairly common way to go. But that also means you have the time to review those contracts in the comfort of your own home before signing on the dotted line, ensuring you are comfortable with all the terms and in the knowledge that your photography needs for the wedding day will be met.
Much of this can apply to just about any other vendor you may be considering hiring. There are some who may be more important to meet in person first than others (cake tastings can’t be done over the phone, after all), but in reality – handling those hires remotely is always a possibility, should the need arise.
So long as you are willing to ask questions and trust in your assessment of a business without that face-to-face contact.