A Q&A with Christina Hamilton, the owner of Hamilton Photography, a wedding and event photography company serving the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington DC markets. Christina’s passion for photography began in a high school darkroom, where she knew from her first class that she wanted the art to be a special part of her life. Shortly after graduating from college, she accepted a job with Black and Decker in San Francisco, where she met her husband, Mark. It didn’t take long for Christina and Mark to discover a mutual passion for photography and start their own business. They have been artfully documenting weddings ever since.
Q: What are some misconceptions clients have when searching for a photographer?
A: There are so many brides who contact you and love your photography, but they want your prices to be so much lower than they are. They don’t always understand that price is directly related to the quality of the photography, the experience level of the photographer (meaning how they can handle the day no matter what happens and still get amazing photos) and the customer service provided before, during and after the wedding (and couples underestimate the importance of this one!). What I always try to communicate when brides are comparing price is to make sure they are looking at photographers on the same playing field, not just playing the same “sport”.
Q: How do you try to reframe expectations to help couples make the best decision on a photographer?
A: I highly recommend the couple prioritize what is most important to them before they start their photography search. It is personal to them and only them. Once they start reaching out to photographers, they will hear many opinions but the couple needs to stay true to what they want in their wedding photographer. Know your ‘numero uno’, make sure you are looking at ‘real weddings’ and don’t let something that is not on your priority list become a deciding factor.
Q: What’s the typical price point for your field in the Maryland, DC, Virginia region?
A: You really need to make that comparison analysis and determine what’s most important to you. I would say that relatively typical is anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000. In the DC market, you can go a little higher. Your $3,000 to $4,000 range will be a photographer with less experience who probably isn’t going to rate as high on that comparison chart. The midrange of $4000-$6000 will rank higher in that chart and most likely include a few bells and whistles in the package. The $6000 plus will be your highest ranked photographers and/or a lot of bells and whistles. You have to decide what the right balance is for you and then pick your price range based on that.
Q: What’s something you wish every bride and groom understood about the wedding industry?
A: Photographers best work is on their website. If you don’t absolutely love what’s on their website, that’s not the photographer for you. And one that is always overlooked is customer service. Customer service really matters in this industry. Make sure the person you’re speaking with is responding in a timely fashion; make sure they’re professional. Understand they’re giving you their best when trying to get your contract.