Mistakes To Avoid Choosing A Wedding Photographer
Find someone who cares more about your wedding images than they do about their own packages and policies. Someone you know will help your wedding run smoothly and efficiently. Choose someone that you can communicate with someone that truly understands how you want your wedding to feel. How do you know? When you talk to her, she’s more interested in learning about you than describing all of the print sizes and prices.
Is this someone that will add to the fun and emotion of your wedding? Remember your friend’s photographer, the grumpy, sweaty, old guy that was a boring, annoying jerk? Steer clear of that! Get someone that will make the work of posed pictures fun, memorable, and exciting! How can you tell who’s cool? When you talk to the photographer, ask how she feels about your family members taking pictures over her shoulder! If she stays relaxed, then everyone will have a good time.
Look for someone who has some flexibility in styles. See what they have to offer. Some of the styles you may want to consider are Traditional, Black & White, Candid, Romantic, or Photo-journalistic. Check to see how they handle both indoor and outdoor situations. Can they do fine portraiture as well as a truly candid style? Find out what they have for you. Remember that the photographer’s creativity and personality (and your rapport with him/her) is what makes your wedding images unique, and your expressions more genuine!
Find someone who has as few restrictions as possible regarding packages, number of prints, limiting locations, and limiting the amount of film they shoot. Prepaid, pre-designed packages limit the creativity of the photographer. Creativity does not come from a pre-packaged album containing, for example, 24- 8x10s. If you’re paying for an album, it should look and feel like a storybook! Think of it, not like a photo album, but an illustrated storybook that uses no words to tell the story. In most cases, packages are NOT a good thing because the photographer “knows” beforehand what he needs to shoot and will only strive for those images.
Ask about their guarantees!!! They should have some sort of performance guarantee – GET-IT-IN-WRITING! If something didn’t come out the way you expected, they should offer to recreate it somehow or give you your money back! As of this writing, one performance guarantee is to get “preview” images on a CD before you get anything else. These are small versions of your digital images, like getting a sample before buying the whole scoop of ice cream. If you don’t like them, the photographer should give you your money back! In other words, you don’t buy the photographs until after you’ve seen them!
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer
For some wedding vendors, you really don’t need to care about their philosophy. Wedding photography is not one of those places. Chances are, you’re going to spend more time with your wedding photographer than with your maid of honor on your wedding day, so you want to make sure they’re someone you jive with. The simplest way to start is to sort through the vendor listings of a wedding website where you feel like you fit in. (Oh, hi, APW Vendor Directory.) Once you’ve found photographers you’re interested in, look at their About pages. Those pages are carefully constructed to give you a sense of who the photographer is and how they work. Back when our CRO Maddie shot weddings, she had an About page that really laid out who she was very clearly. It said, “As a wedding photographer, I believe that getting married is one of the bravest things a person can do. It’s messy and it’s hard work, and rarely the result of a perfect love story.” That sets out a very specific philosophy that might be really right (or realay wrong) for you. Look for written philosophies that feel like they just click, and then see if that feeling continues when you meet with the photographer in person or talk to them on the phone.
DO YOU LIKE THE PHOTOGRAPHER?
Once you’ve narrowed down photographers whose work you like, and whose philosophy you seem to gel with, set up an in-person meeting (or a Skype session, if that’s what works). Then, figure out if you LIKE them. If you don’t, please don’t hire them. You spend enough time with your photographer on your wedding day that you should find them generally pleasant at minimum, possible-BFF-forever at maximum. (Only you know how much you care about love-loving them, but make sure you like them.)
LIGHTING SITUATION FOR YOUR WEDDING
Before we get too far into this idea of, “Just hire someone whose work makes you feel happy inside,” let’s have a quick reality check. The easiest wedding to shoot is a wedding in the daytime, with a ceremony under shade and great natural light. If that applies to you, ignore the rest of this paragraph. If, however, you’re getting married in a dark church or you’re having an outdoor evening wedding reception, it’s really important that you specifically look for a photographer that’s skilled with those lighting environments. Don’t assume that experience equals skill in low lighting. Look for weddings shot in similar lighting environments in your photographer’s portfolio, and ask them specifically how they would handle your particular situation
REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Every photographer is going to have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty easy to get a sense of what someone’s strengths are (let’s assume taking stunning photos is one of them). The trick is to get an accurate sense of what a given photographer’s weaknesses are, and then decide what you can live with. You can do this by a robust conversation with a photographer. (Just ask them flat out what their weaknesses are. A professional will tell you. Run away if they say they have none.) Or you can ask to chat with a past client
PRICE AND WHAT THEY OFFER
When looking at someone’s pricing, be careful to see what’s included in the package you’re looking at. Things like second shooters, additional hours, hi-res JPGs, albums, and engagement sessions may be included in the price quote, or might be extra money. Just make sure you’re not signing up to pay more later for things you definitely want (i.e., having your wedding photos taken isn’t worth all that much if you have to pay $3,000 extra to get the files). That said, things like albums and prints can always be ordered later when you’re not facing the burden of paying for a wedding, so if you love someone’s art, but they don’t include as many bells and whistles with their package, go for the art.
Essential Things To Consider
When you’re researching how to choose a photographer, it can be a bit daunting at first. What do you base your choice on? How do you choose? What advice on photographers is best?
It’s not an easy task, so I decided to write this wedding photographer advice with the aim of making the process of choosing a photographer more comfortable for you.
How to choose a photographer: Technical Proficiency
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best camera, lens and other photographic technology if you don’t know how to use it. Today’s photographic equipment comes with a multitude of features and options, often more than most wedding photographers would ever require. It feels good to have the latest equipment, but often an incompetent or inexperienced photographer of weddings doesn’t quite get to grips with how a feature works, or when or why they should use it.
Equipment alone doesn’t make you a better photographer.
I once worked alongside a photographer who had just bought a new tripod that enabled them to shoot photos from a low down on the floor. Unfortunately, the photographer didn’t practise setting up the tripod before the wedding day and decided to use the tripod for the first time while shooting photos of newly-weds at their wedding. He had no idea how to set up the tripod for this unusual angle
The photographer wasted a good ten minutes trying to figure out what was going on. Unwilling to accept advice or help from anyone (including me), they persevered in vain. I felt sorry for the bride and groom having to waste the most important day of their lives waiting for this guy to figure out how to operate a new tripod (though the couple seemed happy enough enjoying a glass of champagne while they waited!). I learned from this – the simplest option is often best. The latest equipment enhances what I do and how I do it – but I learn how to use it and become proficient at using it in demanding situations before being on a paid job. Low angle shots? I’ll lie down and have the shot done in seconds.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Traditional or formal wedding photography is the classic posed look you see in conventional group shots of the couple and the wedding party. This used to be the most popular style and involves plenty of direction from the photographer, but it also takes time and you might miss some of the action of the day. Your photos are likely to be a bit formulaic, but will be beautifully shot and well-lit
Contemporary photography will feel more like fashion or editorial photography combined with reportage. It’s ideal if you want fashion-led couple photos and an artistic approach to other shots. You’ll need to find a photographer with the same creative vision as you, whether that’s street style, portraits, conceptual or nature-focused
Set a Budget
No point finding a photographer you love and then discovering they’re well beyond your budget. We’ve got our complete guide to wedding photography prices to give you a good idea of what you can get for your money – the average is £1,500-£2,000.
Find Your Style
Now for the fun part of starting your search! Your preferred photography style really is one of the most important things to consider. We’d suggest you browse our wedding photographers section – you’ll see the styles of hundreds of photographer and can easily work out what you do and don’t like. Do you want candid, classic, a mix of colour and black-and-white, creative, contemporary? Normally one of the styles above will jump out at your straight away.
Ask for Testimonials
One of the best ways to find a photographer is to ask friends for recommendations. If anyone has got married recently and you loved their shots, find out who their photographer was. Other places to get recommendations from are your venue, social media and online reviews. Is there a forum for your county? What about asking in
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
First off is decide your style, you can browse our site and see hundreds of different wedding photos by different photographers, however it is important you find a photography style that matches what you want, a style that you want your photos to follow. Shortlist photographers that match your style, be it reportage, traditional or contemporary, quirky and creative
They may have been taking photos for years, but have only recently started capturing weddings. Make sure they have a good few solid years of photographing weddings. Weddings are very different to fashion shoots or staged shots as they are dynamic, it is a live event, an experienced wedding photographer will know the flow of the day and know where to be at the right time to get those stunning shots.
If they have the experience then they should certainly have a lot of testimonials and great references. Ask to speak to previous clients, make sure they were happy with how it all went and are thrilled with the end result when they got their photos.
You may have found a photography with the perfect style you are looking for, they have some great shots on their website, now you want to see some albums, whole weddings that are complete.
Have they shot at your venue? This certainly isn’t necessary, however it is an added bonus if they have, you can see wedding shots they have taken there, and they will know the best places and locations at the venue for some great shots.