Choosing the best wedding photographer for YOU!!!
Ok. I’m going to be a little biased here; the most important vendor for your wedding that you will choose will be your photographer…..there I said it. Before you roll your eyes, let a professional wedding photographer tell you why.
I realize that you are at the pinnacle of bliss at the moment. You are finally engaged and showing off the beautiful engagement ring to family and friends. You have started creating a pinterest board and pinning like crazy to help plan your dream wedding. There is a whirlwind of happiness around you because you are marrying your soulmate and starting to get ideas of what you want your wedding to look like. I believe great wedding vendors(florists, caterers, DJs, wedding planners, dress designers, stylists) are gifted artists in their own right and their experience and talents should be valued and you should consider hiring them if they can make your wedding vision come alive. Everyone has an idea in their head about what is most important on their wedding day but with all the hard work that you put into it ,wouldn’t it be a terrible thing to have chosen the wrong photographer for your wedding? The documentation of the wedding shouldn’t be overlooked or undervalued, these are the pictures that will tell the story of your wedding day. These are the images that your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be seeing; you should really ask yourself “how should this story be told?”
How to pick the best wedding photographer for you?
- Style – This is probably the most important element when choosing your wedding photographer. Do you like dark and moody images or light and airy? Does the photographer shoot true to life or does their images look out of this world? How does the wedding photographer pose the married couple? Do their images make you feel a certain emotion when you look at their images? Do they capture small details of the wedding? All these little details make up the photographers personal style and it’s very important that you like the images that the photographer is putting out. Style is also number one on my list because personal style can be an big indication of the photographer’s personality. Bubbly images probably mean that the photographer has an extroverted character and will aim to produce images of you and your hubby smiling and laughing.
- Style Consistency– Your wedding photographer should have a consistent style, otherwise you risk your images not looking the way you expected them to. In the photographer’s blog or gallery you will see different weddings but you will be able to pick out certain components(like color toning, posing similarities, similar lighting, mood, etc.) that create consistency throughout their work. If you do not feel like you can find those components then its best to search for another wedding photographer.
- Print VS. Digital Images– Once your wedding photographer has captured your wedding, do they offer you print work or just digital images? Is it important to you to have your wedding images displayed in your home? I have heard a common complaint among individuals that when they took their digital images to their local Walgreens or Walmart to have prints made the image looked very different from what they saw on the screen. This is because printers from department stores are usually low quality and are not color calibrated. A wedding photographer that offers prints will have their computer screen calibrated to their print lab’s printers that way the color tones that they are seeing on the screen will be what you see on your prints. A good wedding photographer will also choose a lab that offers quality prints with a variety of product options like canvas, framed prints, and photo albums that can be displayed on a coffee table.
- Create a shot list– Before narrowing down your photographer create a shot list that is important to you. Is it important that you and your bridesmaid’s be photographed together in your pajamas while getting ready? Or do you want the your images to be more candid and unposed? Will you be having family group shots? If so how many? These lists will help you determine which photographer is right for you.
- Create an itinerary for your wedding day– Narrowing down your photographer early in the wedding planning process will help the remainder of the process go smoothly. Giving the wedding photographer a loose narrative of how you would like your wedding day to go will give your photographer an idea of when they can squeeze in pictures of you and your groom and give suggestions on optimal times for lighting. Many wedding photographers will also suggest a first look, this will give your photographer the chance to capture an intimate moment between the bride and groom before the ceremony. While a ceremony is a nice place to capture the bride and groom, more often then not this place doesn’t have ideal lighting and the officiant, bridesmaid’s and groomsmen are usually in the way. A groom seeing his future wife for the first time almost 100% of the time prompts beautiful, raw emotions and having other people in the scene can complicate the images.
- Reputation-What are their previous customers saying about them? Any potential photographer that you meet with should have good reviews. This includes reviews from social media or a list of referrals. The wedding photographer should act like a professional during the wedding and refrain from drinking while on the job.
- Do an engagement photoshoot– Give your potential wedding photographer a test drive by booking an engagement photoshoot. You know your future in laws, parents, and grandparents will enjoy having these images while looking forward to your wedding day. Being in front of the camera before your wedding will help both the couple and the wedding photographer become confident around each other. Working with each other prior to the wedding will help eliminate a majority of the stresses and help everyone involved become accustomed to each other’s work flow.
- Everything has a cost– This is last on the list for a reason. While it is important for a wedding to not go over budget, it is also imperative that the photographer that you choose has a realistic business model. Let me explain……. Say you hire a photographer that charges $500 per wedding, sounds like a good price, right!? Let’s break things down. Typical equipment for a wedding photographer ranges from $3,000-$10,000, this includes cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, editing software, computers, etc. Costs such as advertising, website, permits, business license, travel expenses can be between $500-$1200 per year. A standard wedding is about 6-8 hours long; then there is editing, typically editing can take 30-50 hours with about 400+ images delivered to the bride and groom 6-8 weeks after the wedding. At $500 per wedding, the cost of doing business is unsubstainable and the photographer will not be able to operate under this business model. At this point you might pay for your wedding photographer six months prior to your wedding date and then run the risk of that photographer closing shop by the time your wedding date arrives.
Remember, while the wedding planning may be overwhelming in certain situations this is supposed to be a fun time in your life. Help yourself with the planning process by enlisting a support system of friends and family to help you overcome stressful situations. The less stressful you are the better your images will come out. Feel free to ask your wedding photographer questions and always know that your photographer is hired to create heirlooms-pictures you and your family will be constantly looking back at. Dont settle for someone who cannot bring your wedding photography vision to life.
Thank you for reading!!