A whopping 85% of wedding planner Chandani Chandekar’s clients ask her to recommend a photographer.
In the fiercely competitive markets of Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., getting on Chandani’s preferred photographer list could mean the difference between a slow calendar and one that’s bursting at the seams. We asked Chandani how she decides which photographers deserve glowing reviews – and which ones she’ll never ever refer again.
Keep reading to learn Chandani’s top photographer qualifications . . .
Chandani Chandekar Tells All
The top three things I look for in a photographer are:
- The quality of their work and products.
- A good match between the photographer’s personality and the couple’s. I want to ensure that it’s an enjoyable experience for my clients.
- Creativity. I love to see in a photographer’s portfolio and social media that they strive to be creative and take unique shots. I usually steer away from portfolios that have the same images over and over – just with different couples.
“My biggest photographer frustration:”
The biggest challenge we’ve come across is communication. Since I’ve been a wedding planner for several years, I know how much time to set aside for getting ready photos, the first look, etc. But, at the same time, I understand that every photographer’s style is different, and their needs are different.
I always do my best to share the timeline with the photographer as early as possible – especially when I don’t have much experience working with them – to ensure that we’ve set aside enough time. Sometimes photographers don’t reply until just a few weeks (sometimes even days) before the wedding, and they want to change everything around.
I prefer for the photographer to be a part of the timeline-building, but if they don’t communicate well and in a timely fashion, it becomes a huge challenge to provide them with what they need.
“The one photographer I never refer . . .”
There is a photographer who is pretty popular in my area whom I don’t refer to my clients.
The photographer doesn’t give direction to the couple, and I’ve noticed both posing and lighting issues. The last straw for me was when both of our common clients didn’t receive their online gallery until well over a year after their wedding when, based on the contract, it should have been delivered six to eight weeks after the wedding.
“Here’s how to get more clients: be a photographer I LOVE to refer!”
There are many photographers I love, but one in particular stands out and is my absolute favorite. I love working with him and referring him because he excels at all three of the top qualities I look for in a photographer – and more!
How to Get More Clients: QUALITY
He is always on time – not just on the wedding day, but also with product delivery, remains mindful of the time we have on hand, and consistently provides couples with stunning images. Also, the albums and prints he provides to couples are of great quality. He includes one of these albums in each of his photography collections, which I find to be very important since most couples don’t realize the value of an album until it’s too late. By including the album from the beginning, he helps couples feel confident that he has their best interest in mind.
How to Get More Clients: PERSONALITY
My favorite photographer has a very fun personality which my couples and I really enjoy. He has a way of making even stressful situations feel light-hearted.
We’ve had a couple instances where things didn’t go exactly as planned (sometimes it’s out of anyone’s control!), and the couples have come back and thanked him for helping to keep things calm with his laid-back jokes.
This is a great asset to me as well. All we want is a happy bride and groom!
How to Get More Clients: CREATIVITY
I have been working with him for several years now, and I am always blown away by the images he creates. He continues to improve his craft instead of using the same poses over and over.
I’ve worked with him in many locations where the scenery is at a minimum, or in not-so-pretty hotel rooms where my clients are getting ready. He works his magic however, and looking at the image, you wouldn’t know that we were in an unattractive location. (This is quite the opposite of the photographer I don’t recommend, who relies mostly on locations to make their shots look attractive, rather than their craft.)
Couples obviously love the end result, but I think he also makes them very comfortable in front of the camera by teaching them posing techniques as we go. This is a huge relief to me, since many couples start out saying they aren’t comfortable in front of the camera – and some say they don’t want to take portraits at all. By the end of their session, however, they are ready to be models!
All in all, I love referring him because he produces great images, my couples love working with him, and he makes the flow of the day easier for the couple – and for me!
– Chandani Chandekar, Events By C
What are your tips for how to get more clients from vendor referrals?
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