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Oh No, They're Already Booked!

What to do if Your Dream Photographer/Videographer is Booked on Your Wedding Day

Hopefully this blog post is reaching you early on in our wedding planning journey. Nothing is more disheartening than reaching out to your dream vendors you envision for your wedding day just to find out they’re already booked. Here’s some advice to hopefully avoid receiving that message at all, or how to move forward if you do.

What to do if your dream photographer/videographer is booked on your wedding day - lumpkin house, wedding day details

My top tips to booking your dream photographer or videographer

As soon as you’re engaged and ready to start planning, there are four vendors you should knock off the to-do list first: the venue, the dress, the coordinator, the photographer/videographer. Specifically, venue, coordinator, and photographer/videographer books fill up quickly. As a wedding p

photographer, my calendar consistency has bookings for weddings that are over a year and a half out! It’s never too early to reach out to these three key vendors.

If you have a dream vendor(s) that must be part of your wedding day, start off by keeping your wedding date open. If you have an open date, you can collaborate with multiple vendors to find the perfect fit. If you envision getting married on a specific date, then make it a goal to reach out to your dream vendors no later than one year out from your date. If you’ve already tried these strategies, but your Dream photographer/videographer is booked… What should you do?

What to do if Your Dream Photographer/Videographer is Already Booked

You’ve received the dreaded email from your dream photographer/videographer that they’re already booked. There seems to be only two routes from here, change your wedding date or book a different photographer/videographer. What if I told you that there might be another option? An associate shooter!

What to do if your dream photographer/videographer is booked on your wedding day - Stone bridge in Cullman, AL, Piano couple portraits

An associate shooter is a trusted photographer/videographer by your dream photographer/videographer to step in as them on a wedding day. Although your dream photographer/videographer might not physically be at your wedding, you have the ability to receive a similar service as if they were there. I actually have a blog post that deep dives into who an associate photographer is, and the pros of considering them for your wedding package.

If an associate photographer/videographer isn’t an option, the next best step is to ask for recommendations. Most photographers/videographers have a recommendation list of OTHER photographers/videographers that they have EITHER worked with in the past OR have a similar creative style. If you mention to your photographer/videographer that you plan to reach out to a specific vendor on their recommendation list, they might be able to put in a good word for you! This could quickly move you from tHAT photographer'S/videographer’s inquiry list to the list of potential projects they want to take on.

If your dream photographer/videographer and all their recommendations are booked out, where do we go next? Hint, it’s STILL not changing your wedding datE! Start searching and exploring photographers/videographers outside of your region. If you let your dream photographer/videographer know that you’re opening your horizon to different regions, they may have travel photographer/videographer recommendations! Although paying for travel might be pricey, choosing a travel photographer/videographer for your big day might be the perfect fit.

What to do if your dream photographer/videographer is booked on your wedding day - harvest hollow, first look with bridesmaids.

If your photographer has previously never traveled to your specific venue or region, there’s potential that they may spend more time with you than what they’re contracted for. For example, I once had a client book me for an engagement session in Big Sur, CA. I’m based out of Huntsville, AL, so I had to travel out a whole day in advance. After being a little stir crazy from the hotel, I was ready to get creative by the time the session started! The session was supposed to be 2 hours, but it quickly turned into 4. Another example, a different client booked me for an 8 hour package for their wedding in Dahlonega, GA. Dahlonega was 3.5 hours outside of Huntsville, so I planned to head out early in case I ran into traffic. With no traffic, I arrived over an hour early. Instead of scrolling on my phone in the parking lot, I decided to get started at no additional cost to my client since it was my decision to GET STARTED early.

As a fellow photographer, I do not recommend taking advantage of another creative. A travel photographer simply might be a little lenient on their contracted time in order to grab additional content for their portfolio. It’s a win-win situation!

If you’ve exhausted all these pathways with no luck, then we might have to start at square one - choosing a wedding date. Start by checking in with the vendors you’ve already locked in to SEE if you have the flexibility to change your service date. If they do, then there’s hope! Collaborate with your DREAM photographer/videographer to find a new date that works for everyone. If you cannot change your service date, then it’s time to make a difficult decision. Lose your deposit with those other vendors or change your expectation for photography/videography. Most will choose the ladder because burning money isn’t… fun.

My last piece of advice would be to take to Instagram and Pinterest to explore other photography/videography styles and hopefully find your new dream photographer/videographer!




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