You’ve agreed on a time of year. You’ve finally found a date that works for your family and friends. And you’ve found the perfect New Jersey Wedding Venue to exchange vows. Congratulations!
Now it is time to put down a deposit on a wedding photographer, or maybe you’re considering that big photography studio your best friend suggested?
But how well do you know who you’re getting to photograph this milestone moment? What are their values?
Here are 6 questions every couple should ask before saying “I do” to a wedding photographer in New Jersey.
1. What does your photographer stand for?
As Alexander Hamilton famously said, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
It’s more important than ever that you know what the people you hire believe and stand for. Do their morals and values align with yours? Are they going to be respectful of your family, friends, and relationship? I’m guessing you want your family to feel loved, cared for, and accepted. Right? So, be sure you know where all of your vendors stand on important issues that impact you, your friends, and your day.
Just go take a few heavy scrolls of the social feeds of many of the big wedding photography studios and you’ll notice a lot of the couples look the same. It’s very clear who the factory studios in New Jersey prefer to service.
2. Who will actually photograph your wedding in NJ?
It’s not uncommon for larger photography companies to send any “available photographer” to photograph your wedding day. Many New Jersey wedding photography studios, for example, often have a collection of photographers with different levels of experience or styles under their company umbrella. Often, they won’t confirm a specific photographer until much closer to your date. So, it’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get. And with a day as important as your wedding, do you really want to take that risk?
3. What happens if the photographer assigned to my wedding in New Jersey quits?
Factory wedding studios often employ photographers who are just getting started in their careers. It’s not uncommon for up-and-coming photographers to work for pennies to gain experience and build their own portfolio and experience. But once they’ve done a few gigs, and are tired of being underpaid, many will move on to more lucrative jobs. Trust me, I worked for these kinds of studios early in my career, about 12 years ago. So, I know firsthand. Be sure you know what the plan is if that fateful situation were to happen to you. Unlike these studios, our photographers are all paid above the typical rates, and are a close knit group of friends who have known each other for years.
4. Who will be the second photographer for my wedding? Do they have experience? Can you prove it?
If a company has a large pool of lead photographers to select from, imagine the even larger pool of inexperienced second photographers! So, if you aren’t sure who you’re going to get as your lead, I can assure you that you’re not going to know who will be photographing your small details and intimate moments. And because you’re already nervous enough about being photographed, do you want an inexperienced stranger capturing all that? Maybe someone who won’t even show up? Like we discussed already, how do you know that a random second photographer will align with your values, and respect your guests/family?
All of our photographers share the same core values when it comes to believing in the human rights of black/brown lives and LGTBQ+ people. We will also show you weddings they have photographed with us before too! They’re also familiar with all of the same New Jersey wedding venues that I am – we are always prepared.
5. I want natural-looking images. Who will be responsible for editing the photographs once the day is complete? And how quickly can I expect to get them?
Many photographers outsource the editing of their images to underpaid editing farms. So, you may get the images back quickly, but do you really want someone to rush the process of editing something as special as your wedding day? There is a major issue here with the ethics of using underpaid labor, and of course the inconsistencies when image editing is outsourced to strangers.
Many editors will often apply a one-click adjustment to your most precious moments, versus hand-editing each one like we do. And what’s even worse, they’ll often apply Instagram filter-like color adjustments to the photos – making your memories an odd shade of green or orange. There’s nothing natural about that…
6. Did you pay [insert your venue] to recommend your services to me?
It’s not uncommon for photography studios to pay a commission in an attempt to “buy” a recommendation from a NJ wedding venue or vendor. When you get a list of suggested vendors from a venue, it’s important that you know if you’re receiving a list of “the best” based on merit/experience, or based on some affiliate or “pay to play program” Some venues suggest our company, but only by the relationships we’ve built with them over the years. Mike Zawadzki Photography does not, and never will pay to be a “suggested” NJ wedding photographer on a venue list anywhere. Often too, the bigger studios who are on these “featured” lists, churn out the same tired and boring images for every couple over and over again. Those companies are simply concerned about booking dates and completing tasks, not creating customized artwork for you.
Bonus Question: What kind of experience do you want to have?
Do you want to feel like “just another wedding”? Or do you want something truly personal and custom to you? Assuming you want the latter, we hope you’ll set up a call with us, or send us an email.
With Mike Zawadzki Photography:
· Your lead photographer will be assigned from the moment you sign a contract and pay a deposit. So, you can start building a relationship right away. You will also be doing an engagement session with the same photographer who will be photographing your wedding – so it isn’t a stranger showing up on your wedding day.
· As the owner of this small business, you can relax knowing that I will never quit. I’m passionate about this work and plan to do this for the rest of my life. Well at least for the next couple of decades 😉 If I ever get knocked out of commission or seriously ill, I have a team of trusted and talented photographers who will back me up.
· The second photographers on our team are experienced wedding photographers who have been personally trained by myself to work to my standards and to the style you see on our website.
· We hand-edit our work to ensure it represents our brand – and more importantly – YOUR small memories and big moments.
· Worth repeating here, we do not pay kickbacks or commission to venues. So, you can rest assured that if someone refers us, it’s because we’ve earned their trust and their business.
· We have strong moral convictions supporting causes like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ advocacy, women’s rights, and the equal treatment of all under the law. And we’re not afraid to share about that either. Curious what they are? Click here. Or head over to our Instagram feed to read more.