How to Choose a Wedding Photographer You’ll Love
Ok, so your boyfriend kneeled down before you, asked you to be his One and Only ’till death do you part, you said “Yes”, and you’ve notified your friends and family. On to organizing the wedding. You booked your favorite wedding reception venue and your favorite band that will create an atmosphere to be remembered. After this, you ought to book a photographer as well – someone to create a lasting memory of your special day and take photographs that will make it possible for you to remember your wedding day for the rest of your lives.
When organizing a wedding, there are three things you should be picky about – the wedding reception venue, the band and the photographer. Food will be eaten, music will be listened to, flowers will wither. What will remain are memories in the form of photographs; hence, hiring the right photographer is of immense importance.
Ever since I got into photography, weddings were always among the top 3 things I wanted to do. I’m not the best photographer in world, however, over the last 4 years of working as a wedding photographer I’ve learned a few things about how the business works and what you need to look after in order keep both you and me happy.
Here are nine important things that will make picking the perfect photographer for one of the most wonderful days of your lives easier.
1. Set up a Budget for a Photographer
Wedding photographers can be quite pricey. It’s likely some of them are overpriced, however wedding photography truly requires a lot of time and effort. Besides being there for you and making themselves available throughout your wedding day, there are hours of preparation involved behind the scenes, as well as days of processing the wonderful photographs you get at the end.
There are many photographers on the market, with many different styles, as well as prices. If you take a liking to someone whose price is slightly above your budget and love the type of photographs they make, you click with them as a person, then treat yourselves to that photographer. You’ll cut expenses on something else. Remember, photographs will last a lifetime.
Before you meet with a photographer to make final arrangements, ask to see a brochure with the prices, carefully go over each of the packages and see which one suits your wishes and your budget the best.
2. Know What You Want
there are many different styles we use to take and edit wedding photographs. Some photographers take a more natural approach when processing photographs, others process them by adding a few dramatic notes. Two wedding photographers may capture same amazing photographs, but their styles in processing them may be entirely different.
Instagram and Pinterest are an inexhaustible source of ideas. Go through social networks a bit and see which style you like the most. Perhaps you won’t be able to find the exact same photographers, but at least you’ll create a vision of the type and style of photographs you want for your wedding. If you find a photographer you like, you can always send them a few examples and ask if they do anything similar. Fortunately, most photographers will be honest when it comes to their style and tell you if what you’re looking for is their style or not.
It’s extremely important that you know what you want. It has happened more than once that brides book me for their wedding, and then send me examples of photographs with a style I don’t do after a few months. The photographs you can see on my website are a pretty good indication of my style.
3. Request a Gallery of a Whole Wedding
This is probably the most important thing you should do – examine the complete work of a photographer.
Feel free to request to see a whole wedding. Anyone can take a few good photos at a wedding, but a complete gallery will show you what a photographer’s work actually looks like.
4. Carefully Examine the Offer
All photographers offer different packages. Some deliver all processed photographs on a CD, some on a USB stick, some deliver both processed and unprocessed photographs, and some deliver only up to 500 processed photographs. Some limit the number of hours they spend in the field, others stay as long as needed. Carefully examine the offer and ask the photographer to explain the things that aren’t clear.
Once you’ve come to an agreement, put it on paper and draft a contract so you have both the offer and the conditions in writing. The last thing you want is to think you’re getting one thing and end up with something you did not expect. Contracts are important and most photographers use them. A contract protects both you and the photographer from any unwanted misunderstandings and it will make you feel safer.
5. Recommendations and Reviews
We live in a world where three clicks will get you reviews of many different services. Make Google your friend. Search the internet, ask your acquaintances, read forums or posts in wedding groups – there’s no shortage of those these days, that’s for sure.
In my own experience, I get booked for many weddings due to recommendations. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend anyone. There’s no accounting for taste, so you should always look into any recommendations you get.
Speaking of recommendations, I recommend you approach your photographer the same way you would a friend. Anyone who cares about you will help you in any way they can. Most of us who work in wedding services are connected, so we’ll gladly help you with recommendations for the band, print, lighting and other things.
6. Pre-Wedding Session
If you like a style of a photographer, but you’re not completely convinced, consider booking a pre-wedding session with the photographer. Give him a chance to show you what he’s got, and you’ll be glad as well, since you’ll get great memories. This is also very beneficial because you’ll get to see what the approach of the photographer is and whether you’ll be able to successfully work together. The pre-wedding session may be an unplanned expense, but it’s still less than hiring a photographer you don’t like.
7. Personality Is Key!
An important factor in choosing a photographer is how you get along together. As I already mentioned, you should think of your photographer as a friend. He’s the one who’ll be there with you on your wedding day and the one you’ll share your wonderful memories and moments with. If you “click” with a photographer, everything will run more smoothly and you’ll be carefree, take my word for it.
Don’t assume the photographer knows what you want. It’s important to let the photographer know what you expect and vice versa. If something is bothering you, tell this to the photographer. Everyone’s different and everyone has different priorities and needs. Be sure to tell your photographer what kinds of photos you want to have (e.g., photographs with your families, grandparents, etc.). Remember, communication is the key to a successful cooperation.
9. Be Picky
Once digital cameras became more available, there’s been an increase in the number of photographers – which is great. Greater availability made it possible for everyone to show how creative and talented they are through photography. Each type of photography is specific in itself.
I believe wedding photography requires a sixth sense for capturing the right moments.
The photographer needs to feel all the emotions of that day. I’d recommend you to be picky when it comes to your wedding.
If you get offers from photographers that didn’t do a single wedding on their own, perhaps you should keep looking. If you have a friend who’s offering to photograph your wedding, it’s best you avoid this too. Invite this friend to have fun without obligations, and find someone else with a good wedding portfolio who will dedicate that day to capturing wonderful moments only.
I hope this quick guide helps you find a photographer who will become your friend and who will create Unique Moments. Forever.