The Paradox of Choice – More is Less When it Comes to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Why Having More Options Isn’t Always a Good Thing!

Has the title of this post confused you a little? Don’t feel so bad if it did, it confused me just writing it. But, it serves a really important purpose. We have all been told when making any large purchase decision (think houses, cars, insurance) that it pays to do our research. That we should be looking at our options. Sadly, somewhere along the line, things got a bit convoluted, and we started thinking that we needed to have as many options as possible before making a decision. This trend has followed the wedding industry, and is pretty standard when choosing a wedding photographer.

I can hear you asking, “why is having options a bad thing?” Well, by nature it isn’t, but having too many is! Let me give you a little hypothetical you can most likely relate too. You are out at a restaurant with some friends. You browse through the menu, and pinpoint something you love. Then you overhear your friends talking about what they are choosing. It’s different to yours. All of a sudden you want those things too, and your original choice seems slightly less delicious. Now you find yourself looking at the menu again. This is getting annoying. So you finally choose something. The food arrives at your table, and whilst you are happy with your meal, you wonder how amazing all the other meals might be, and your happiness with your choice is lessened.

This is called ‘Buyers Remorse’, I am sure you are all too familiar with that term, we’ve all been there. But what’s the relevance of this story to choosing a wedding photographer, or any other wedding vendor for that matter? Stick with me, let’s delve a little deeper.

Groomsman helping Groom dress and put on bowtie before the wedding. Candid image captured by hunter valley wedding photographer james white

How does this happen?

Very easily, let me tell you. You get engaged and everything ins really exciting. you are pumped, and the options are endless! So what do you do, you rapid fire off 100 emails to venues/photographers/florists (or whoever) because you are excited and want to get into it. Is this bad? No, you’re recently engaged and have every right to be excited!

You speak to past brides and grooms, maybe your parents or you research some blogs online. You get told to ensure you don’t just pick the first person/venue you find. At the heart of it, this is solid advice, and is always meant with the absolute best of intentions. So you start researching, and ultimately end up just collecting emails of anyone you kind of like, and fire off emails to them, asking the same thing (usually something about prices and availability).

You now have an absolute influx of email replies, with no idea which one to pursue. So you do what you were told, you organise meetings with everyone. Let’s assume photographers (easiest for me to talk about). So now you are starting to like a lot of these photographers, their work, them as people. You want to use all of them, but every time you meet with someone you think you would love to use, you remember you have 10 other meetings organised. So you tell them you will let them know, and hope they don’t book your date in the mean time. How on earth are you ever going to choose?!

Bride reads letter from groom pre-wedding making her emotional. Candid shot captured by hunter valley wedding photographer james white

What do I do about it?

Remember the advice you were given earlier? About seeking options and doing your homework? This is where you need to understand how to use this advice appropriately. Here is what I recommend you do when choosing a wedding photographer (or any other vendor).

Firstly, do your research. Look at as many photographers as you want online. But, and here is my big piece of advice, don’t just look at their photos! Let’s face it, there are so many photographer out there who take stunning photos, and if you want to choose a wedding photographer based solely on that, it’s going to be very, very difficult. What you need to do, is read what they write. In particular, the about me section. Why? Well this is where you will learn more about whether or not this photographer would be a good personality match for you. If you read the words, and totally find yourself loving this person, and their work makes you all tingly, now is probably the time to send that email.

Do this a few times, find maybe your favourite 3 and wait for their reply. If they are available on your date, now is a good time to schedule in your meeting (or skype, either way, you want some kind of face to face with them). Now, instead of having to deal with potentially 20 or more wedding photographers, of whom you have no idea who is best for you, you have 3 very well suited shooters. Organise to met them all on the same day, or same weekend if not possible, that way you don’t have to wait ages between meetings and run the risk of them re-booking your date while you make a decision.

As soon as you meet with these people, you now know, you love their work, love their personality and what they are about, they are available and fit within your budget. You are ready to make a booking. No procrastination!


Can you summarise that? TLDR!

Of course I can wary reader! So let’s pick up from where we left off in the last paragraph. You had 3 options, and you booked one. Congratulations! You only had 2 other possibilities, which makes you feel much better about your choice. However, let’s say you did it the long way, and had 25 photographers to choose from. Once you finally choose one, you are left with 24 others who you also liked. You start seeing all their posts on Instagram and Facebook. You love them! Did you pick the right person? Imagine if you picked that other guy who did that beautiful sunset photo?

It is exactly this kind of thinking that causes stress and can cause anxiety on your day. This is something I think we can all agree we want to avoid, right?

The take home message is this, the fewer choices you have, the happier you will be with your final decision, and the less likely you are to suffer buyers remorse. Having read all this you now know, that fewer choices doesn’t mean less research, or less due diligence. You realise that it means you more finely select your options, based on deeper criteria than just “yeah, they look kind of cool”. This ultimately leads to a better match for you with your chosen vendor, greater happiness, and ultimately better results.

Want to test this hypothesis out for yourself? Head to your nearest Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Store, and taste test every one of their 32 flavours. Choose just one, and see the results for yourself.

I hope this will help make the planning process more straight forward, less stressful, and ultimately help you achieve the best potential vendor match for your big day! If you want to get in touch with me, lets chat about your big day!

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