Why These Brides Said "I Do" to Pro Photographers

"Maybe instead of a five-course meal, you could have hors d’oeuvres; but don’t cut the budget on photography" - Anna Marie Huffman, October 2009 Bride

It seems like everyone has a camera these days, which places more of a burden on professional photographers to show and explain the difference they can make in situations like weddings. So how do photographers prove to brides that a professional can really make or break their big day? 
 
What convinces someone to choose a professional photographer is different from bride to bride. But after speaking to some satisfied brides who hired PPA wedding pros, we have a better idea of what not only sealed the deal initially, but also turned these clients into enthusiastic evangelists.
 
Find-a-PhotographerThe Best Brides
It’s not always the bride with the biggest budget or the most beautiful wedding setup that makes the perfect day. Often, it’s the attitude that makes the difference. David Esquire of Esquire Photography found just such a bride in Anna Marie Huffman last year. From the beginning, Huffman was focused on her location and photography—they were her two biggest priorities. A self-proclaimed “theater and music kid,” she always had an appreciation for the arts, which might have helped her see the need for photography.

“I knew I’d try to live in the moment during the wedding day and would miss so many things,” Huffman says as she explains her reason for choosing a professional. “Photography lives on perpetually. It’s what you have at the end.”
 
Jamie Snively, an entertainment coordinator, also recently got married. As one might expect, Snively knew the ins and outs of the industry and the value of professional photography, so she hired Leanne Reis of Photography by Leanne Reis. “We were really nervous about the photography at first,” remembers Snively. “I wanted our photos to be perfect.”
 
How You Meet
Perfection is what all brides want (in a variety of definitions), and perfection is what professional photographers can help provide. First, though, the bride has to find her photographer. The Find a Photographer database is a great place to start.
 
Snively turned to the internet where she found Reis but the kicker was that two acquaintances recommended her—and one was a professional photographer friend.
 
On the other hand, it was a bridal show that connected Huffman with her photographer, Esquire. She was looking for a certain artistic attribute and saw three photographers’ displays that she liked, but she wasn’t able to speak to Esquire until after the show. “We met him that evening for drinks and just meshed,” Huffman says. “I put a deposit down that night!”

Connections
Professional Photographers know that one of their most important jobs is to connect with their clients and brides are looking for the same thing. They want to feel comfortable with the person who is going to be documenting their entire wedding.
“Honestly, I knew the first time I talked to Leanne—I’d already made up my mind on the phone,” comments Snively. “It was her personality. She made me feel like a real person and that she was a real person.”
 
Personality also sealed the deal for Huffman, who was actively looking for that connection. In fact, her husband and her photographer just went to the movies together (the relationship has held strong even after the wedding).
 
Along with personality, Huffman and Snively both point to the photographer’s outstanding service and professionalism as reasons for their satisfaction. From going location scouting and offering suggestions, to backing up images before leaving the wedding, these brides’ photographers stood out.

What Brides Want Brides to Remember
Yes, all brides want “pretty pictures”; but when budget crunch time comes, photography is often an area where they’re tempted to cut corners.

Huffman says don’t do it and sums it up best by sharing what she says to friends who “have a friend with a pretty good camera”: “You only get married once—don’t trust it to maybe ‘good enough.’ It’s give and take, but you can budget the rest of your wedding and still do phenomenal things. Maybe instead of a five-course meal, you could have hors d’oeuvres; but don’t cut the budget on photography. No one’s going to say they had a bad time at your wedding because the linens were cotton, not silk. But you WILL look back at your photographs.”

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