More than ever before, photography is about as custom as it gets.
We will be the first to say we are not the best photography team for every couple or wedding. There are certain couples who catch our vision, love our work, and want us to rock it out on their wedding day. Those are our couples. But you may have a more traditional taste for portraiture, or may be looking for an all-film photographer. Whatever your preferences are, think long and hard, do your research, and ultimately, follow your heart when it comes to the people capturing the most special day of your life. In some ways all the options out there are exciting, but in other ways the hunt can seem daunting.
Hopefully, these tips will help you in picking the perfect artists for your wedding.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Do you like traditional posing, artistic posing, completely candid natural moments, or a mix of different styles? Are you into every image being completely in-focus or do you like some tilt-shift and blurred out artistic images thrown in there too? Is your priority getting those classic portraits or having true emotion captured on the wedding day? Are you a big fan of natural-light photography or do you want more editorial-looking photos with strobes? Further – it is very important that you absolutely love not only the shooting style but the editing style of the photographer you choose. If you’re not totally sure what style you love, look through your Pinterest board! See what the majority of wedding photos you have pinned are. Heck, even click on some of the really killer shots to find out who the talent behind the images is — maybe they’re your dream photographer!
Once you’ve found someone whose style you love, leave the creativity to them and don’t ask them to take photos that have a different vibe than what they have in their portfolio. If you hire someone who isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll be stressed out trying to guide them, they won’t feel trusted and so won’t perform as well, and the images will not shine.
While you could ask how many weddings a photographer has shot, we have met some people just starting out who are killer at what they do. Don’t discount someone for being new in the game, but do make sure that they are not only a confident photographer, but a confident wedding photographer. There is a difference ;). Wedding days are often fast-paced with complex timelines and the moments pass quickly, so you want to make sure they feel really comfortable in that role.
A big factor you want to consider is how they handle light. Light is literally the most important aspect of a great photo, so you need to see and know that they handle both sunlight and artificial light in a way that impresses you. Do they have a good lighting setup for the reception? Do they thrive in natural light and so you’ll want to prioritize time for photos in the sun? Their blog posts should show a wide range of shots, from getting ready through the reception, so you can get an idea of their comfort level with lighting.
You are probably going to spend a lot of time with these people, so you better make sure you click. For us, it’s really important that we are the best fit for our couples for a number of reasons, one being that we want them to have fun with us! We want them to feel like they are hanging out with friends at their Engagement Session, and by the Wedding, we want to truly be a part of the celebration. When it comes to such a personal, intimate thing such as your wedding photos, you want to make sure you are big fans of who your photographers are as people. If you don’t light up at all when thinking of them shooting your wedding, that’s a big sign they might not be the best fit for you.
4. Pricing + Packages
“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten.”
Photography is a fast growing industry and there are always new photographers who are excited to start shooting weddings, and offer their services cheap. While saving money is generally a positive thing to do, in the world of wedding photography (where you can’t go back and do it again) it’s the exact opposite. I can’t tell you how many friends and acquaintances have told us that they wished they would have spent more and gotten a better photographer for their big day. Please don’t skimp on something so important.
It’s wise to get a good idea of what local photographers cost (or, if you have your eyes on an out-of-state photographer, knowing how much travel will cost) when establishing your wedding budget. Also, have in your mind what you’re looking for from your photographer. Do you want all day coverage, partial day coverage, or are you planning an elopement? Do you want the rights to print your photos or are you happy to order everything through them? Do you want an album of your wedding story? What about a canvas or two… or five? Do they include an Engagement Session or is that extra? Do they offer Bridal Portraits or Rehearsal Dinner Coverage?
The best way to build trust initially is by reading reviews on the photographer you’re interested in on sites like The Knot. From there, contact them and once you feel ready to move forward, set up an in-person or Skype meeting with them to make sure you have you full confidence in their skill, personality, and artistry.
Artistically, you need to really trust your photographer to lead. Since photos are a collaboration between the photographer and the couple, there has to be good level of trust built to capture authentic joy in your images. Especially on your wedding day, you don’t want photos with fake smiles! It’s crucial for us that we feel trusted by our clients so that we can thrive creatively. Part of the way we work to build that trust is with a complimentary Engagement Session — we’ve found that this time spent together helps us know our clients so much better and prepare them for how we shoot.
Legally, you want to make sure that your photographer provides you with a thorough and professional formal contract and you completely understand the terms of agreement. Never ever enter an informal agreement for any of your wedding vendors.
6. Responsiveness + Communication
This is huge. Does the photographer you’re interested in take a week to respond to your email? Are they less professional or more stiff than you’d prefer in conversation? It’s important you get the vibe you want from the initial contact you have with them, and that they respond to your email or call in a reasonable amount of time. Some photographers overbook themselves and aren’t able to communicate as much as you may like, and some photographers aren’t full-time so they have another job that has to come first. Better that you ask too many questions than not enough — every photographer runs their business differently than another, so make sure to clear up anything you’re confused about.
Already found the photographer you have fallen almost as far in love with as you have with your future spouse? Contact them first — before the venue, before booking the date, before any other plans! Find out their availability and pricing and if you can, book your big day based on their schedule. If they are in high-demand and especially if it’s during high volume wedding season, they may have many dates booked a year or two out.
Hope this was helpful, friends! Have the most fun picking the perfect photographer for you. Check out the Wedding Tips category on our blog to see more posts like this and follow us on Pinterest to see all the wedding and session inspiration we’re pinnin’.