First off: what is a boutique photography company? These days, it’s a buzzword that many wedding photographers use to describe themselves. However, that doesn’t diminish the value of a boutique company. It’s a single photographer or small team (like us, husband & wife!) that does this thing on their own. All communication is with the person who will be behind the camera, and the same photographer has been a part of each photo you see in their portfolio. On the flip side, there are larger photography corporations who book volume and send out one or two of their employees on their payroll to service your photo needs. You’ll typically speak with an office manager, and the entire process will feel more corporate.
If you’re not sure which type you prefer, here are some pros & cons of hiring a boutique photography company.
Pro: You are supporting a real person
Whenever we book a new client, it feels like the best day ever! We rejoice in knowing that our work is appreciated, and that we will be able to continue doing our dream job. For these small teams, each booked job means they are able to put food in their cat’s bowl, sign up their daughter for ballet lessons, and afford to continue pursuing the dream of a creative career. And the best part of it all, is that you get to celebrate with them, because you will soon form a personal relationship after months of communication and a few photo shoots leading up to your wedding!
Pro: An intimate, personalized experience
Being a boutique business means dedicating the time and energy it takes to create an amazing experience for each client. We take on a limited number of clients each year, because we want to spend ample time getting to know each couple. We learn what makes their relationship unique and then embrace it and tell that exact story through our imagery. This process takes time and effort that we happily pour into our business, because it’s the people we work with that make our job fulfilling.
Pro: You know who and what to expect
Because you are dealing with just one or two people throughout your photography process, you know that you can expect a product consistent with what you see in their portfolio. It’s the same hands, the same vision, and the same post-processing style. There should be no surprises when you get your photos back!
Con: Limited availability
Keep in mind that since you are working with just one or two people, they can only be in one place at a time. So, if you find your perfect match but they are already booked on your wedding date, you’ll have to continue your search. They are also living an everyday life like anybody else and need to schedule some time off in order to rejuvenate, so if you find them and love them, reach out ASAP to make sure they’re available to photograph your wedding!
Con: Slower process
All photographers have a different workflow when it comes to editing, but generally speaking, boutique photography companies do all their own editing. This can become time-consuming, especially when weddings start to stack up during busy season. We hand-edit every photo, making sure that they are intentional, interesting, and consistent. We also only have so many hours in the day, so while we personally make a focused effort to respond to emails right away, one (wo)man shows can get backed up on communication.
While most photographers who are in this field are professionals with necessary licensing, liability insurance, and legal contracts that protect both parties, that’s not the case for everybody. When you’re researching smaller businesses, make sure that they are running a legitimate business. Although we never want to think about the worst that could happen, sometimes it does. And you want to make sure you and they are covered.
What it all comes down to is doing your due diligence to make sure whichever photographer you are interested in will tick all your boxes. Decide what your priorities are in terms of delivery time, quality of deliverables, quality of experience, and anything else that comes up in your search. And whether you decide to go with a boutique photography business or a large photography business, your perfect match is out there!
Sold on a boutique biz? That’s us!! Reach out so we can get the conversation started about giving you an amazing, personalized experience ASAP!