Choosing a Wedding Photographer
Why does it matter?
If you are reading this, you may be engaged or getting engaged soon, if that’s the case, congratulations! Planning a wedding can be stressful for everyone. There are so many things to organize, find, and decide on before the big day. It can be hard to agree on details and it’s easy to get caught up in all of the deciding. However, there are only a few things you get to keep forever after your wedding day: your groom, your dress, your ring, and your photographs. Your wedding gallery should take you right back to your day, from the grand celebrations to the quiet passing moments. You will look back on your images years after your wedding and love them regardless of changing trends. Your timeless and lasting love will transfer into your photographs and through them you will be able to relive the emotions and experiences of your wedding day. This is the main reason why I am so passionate about photographing weddings. If you are going to take time on deciding on anything, take the time to choose the right photographer. There are so many different photographers and each one is unique. When choosing a wedding photographer there are a few things to keep in mind. I’ve compiled this list on how to choose a wedding photographer that best fits your needs.
This one is going to be the lengthiest one I cover, but it is also the most important. The number one thing to look for in a wedding photographer is their experience. This will be the most important day of your life, and like mentioned before you get to keep these images forever and pass them on to your posterity. You want a wedding photographer you can trust will all of those special moments that you never want to forget. You need to be 100% sure that they are responsible and ready to take on the task of documenting your special day. Here are a few key things to watch for or ask the photographer about.
The most important one is if your photographer has a contract. The contract should protect all parties involved and cover things like payments, rescheduling, tardiness, weather policies, copyrights, limit of liabilities, and processing/timeline of delivery to name a few. This way both the photographer and the client will be on the same page and both parties can make the most out of the experience.
When looking at the photographer’s portfolio check to see if they can handle different or hard lighting situations especially if your ceremony will take place outside or in a low lit space. If you don’t see different lighting situations don’t be afraid to ask for examples, or if they have shot that type of situation before. Some reception venues have a lot of ambient lighting, you want to be sure your photographer knows how to handle those situations so they don’t miss any special moments. The photographer should have a solid portfolio, they need to show they have real wedding experience, not just portrait session experience but real wedding day galleries to show.
The work shown should be consistent enough that you know exactly what you will be getting. I would steer clear of photographers who’s galleries look very different from wedding to wedding. It will be clear to see if a photographers work is consistent, a few things to look for would be coloring, exposure, and posing to name a few. Click here to see an example of a consistent portfolio.
One part of being a wedding photographer is handling all of the group photos. Make sure that the photographer knows how to handle a big group of people and direct them and do so in a timely and positive way. When you hire a photographer they are working for you, so make sure your photographer will do exactly that, work for you. They should work with you to help make sure your day goes smoothly. If a wedding planner is also hired they will be the ones in charge of the timeline, but in the cases where wedding planners aren’t hired, the photographer can help keep the day running on schedule. When my brides book with me they receive a guide of all preferred vendors that I trust and that do similar style work as me. Finding a photographer that can help you decide on other vendors and choices can be a big help. Photographers have been to several weddings and can give good advice when planning a wedding.
When looking at different photographers’ galleries it should be clear and easy to pick out what their style is. A couple that are pretty commonly used are “light and airy” or “dark and moody”. Some others may be classic, timeless, trendy, modern, colorful, adventurous or boho. Not only is the editing style important but posing, lighting and locations also make up the photographer’s specific style. Along with the way the picture looks, the photographer may have a certain style of posing. Some of these also may look more classic, candid, unposed, playful, romantic, moody, or happy. It is important to choose a photographer that poses you in flattering ways and who uses poses that you’d be comfortable and happy with. Lighting is also a big factor in the way the pictures turn out. Does the photographer use flash, natural light, or both? Does the photographer shoot midday, sunrise, or sunset to fit their style? What types of light are you most drawn to in pictures? Is is the soft light or more harsh light? If you aren’t sure what style you like best it would be a good idea to head to Pinterest or Instagram and do a search for wedding photographers to see what styles you are drawn to. For example you could type in “Utah wedding photographer” in Pinterest or #utahweddingphotographer on instagram. You could narrow the search even more by using the city name or certain style you are looking for such as #darkandmoodyutahphotographer or #utahfineartphotographer. This way you will get an idea of what type of styles you like best!
When looking at all of the packages and services the photographer offers be sure they can cover all of your needs so you can hire your favorite photographer for all of your sessions leading up to your wedding day. Look for services offered such as engagement sessions & bridal sessions. See how many hours the photographer suggests you need for your specific wedding day coverage. Do they offer second shooters, or options to add on extra hours if needed? Is the photographer flexible with their packages offered? Can they make a custom package that fits the exact needs of your wedding day? Once the wedding is over do they offer prints or albums? Are they included or extra on top of the package purchased? Another thing to consider is how the gallery will be delivered once finished. Does the photographer send a USB or CD or do they use an online gallery where the pictures will be available for download?
It is important to make sure that you and your photographer will get along. Are you looking for a photographer who will be personable and help you along the way in planning the details? Or would you rather have a photographer that stays out of planning/helping? Are you wanting a photographer who is more reserved or more outgoing or a mix of both? It’s a good idea to meet with your photographer in person for a client meeting before you book them. If you can’t meet with them due to distance or conflicting schedules be sure to schedule a time to FaceTime, Skype, call, or Marco Polo to be sure that it will be a good fit for you!