In my line of work, there are often 2 brides asking for services for the same wedding date. My policy (and a fairly common videographer policy) is that whoever sends their signed contract and retainer fee first gets preference.
Let me tell you a little story: Bride A contacted me and said she wanted to book. Bride A said she was going to mail the check to me, and also made an appointment to FaceTime with me. She missed our FaceTime appointment. I emailed her twice with no response. In the meantime the mother of a different bride (MOB) contacted me and asked for my price list. Then she called me said she wanted to book. I told her that Bride A was planning to book for the same day and that whichever check I received first would secure the date. This situation concerned her.
“What if the other bride mails her check before I can send it?” she asked.
I reminded her that whoever’s check I receive first gets the date. Then I reassured her that I didn’t expect Bride A to send her check any time soon since she missed our FaceTime appointment and had not responded to my emails.
An hour later I walked out to the mailbox and low and behold, the signed contract and check from Bride A were inside! I had a dilemma: Bride A and the MOB were both very excited about hiring me. That being said, the prices quoted to Bride A were different than the prices quoted to the MOB because I had recently raised my prices. Subsequently, I would make more profit from booking the MOB. It was tempting to disregard Bride A, but she had already paid and the MOB had not.
I started with this anecdote because I had a decision to make. Should I choose honesty and do the ethically right thing by booking Bride A (I repeat, my policy is to book whoever pays first), or choose the slippery slope and book the MOB for more profit?
The first characteristic you want to look for in a Videographer/Photographer is honesty. I mean, who wants to deal with a crook, or at the very least a liar? When your wedding memories are at stake, you want someone who is honest and who will fulfill their obligation to you, and fulfill it on time. Reviews are a great way to find out this info.
(Just in case you were wondering, I adhered to my policy despite the draw of greater profit.
Don’t confuse customer satisfaction with customer service. Someone can have great customer service and not be focused on customer satisfaction. You want a videographer and photographer who are focused on customer satisfaction. Do they seem focused on you or themselves? Do they want to get to know you? If they want to get to know you, that’s a good sign that they are focused on making sure you will be happy with their product. By asking you a lot of questions, they can better tailor their shots and editing to you.
Customer service is good too. I’m more apt to offer my patronage at a business with excellent customer service than one without good customer service. It comes back to showing that they care about you. If they don’t seem interested in you now, they might just be after the money. But if they actually show an interest in you, then chances are they really do care about you and want you to be happy.
Also, smiles. You want a videographer or photographer who smiles! Why? Because you will be smiling on your wedding day, and you want everyone else to be smiling too. Videographers and photographers are in close proximity with you ALL day. You don’t want one with a cloud over their head and rain in their hearts. You want them to rejoice with you – “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15a ESV).
You get what you pay for. Most of the time, price reflects experience, skill, and amenities. Obviously you want someone who is skilled in their craft. I encourage brides to take a look at my past videos and choose one of two styles of editing that I offer. You want someone who displays works from many different weddings, not just one or two. Check out a videographer’s YouTube or Vimeo channel, or ask to see multiple photography galleries.
What other guidelines do you follow when searching for a videographer or photographer?
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