If you are in the process of looking for a photographer to capture your precious wedding memories, you will know that there are many of us, offering many different packages at different prices and that the styles of wedding photography also vary from photographer to photographer. It is therefore no wonder that it can become quite a daunting task for a couple to choose the photographer that will be right for them.
I thought I’d share a few tips to aid couples in making this very tough decision.
1) You must like your wedding photographer
This might sound obvious but is often overlooked when you are in awe of someone’s work and don’t make the time to see if your personalities fit. Since you are going to spend more time with your photographer than with any other of the guests at your wedding, you should well make sure he or she does not get on your nerves. The person you hire for your wedding photography must be able to bring out the best of you – this is a mix of communication and camera skill. You have to be confident in your wedding photographer’s ability to guide and instruct you during both the couple shoot and the posed group shots. If they are able to make you smile and put you at ease, the job is half done.
2) Choosing the style you like
Wedding photographers all have different styles and a unique way of editing their work. Make sure that your expectations are in line with your photographer’s style and that he or she has the ability to deliver the wedding photography that you want. The trend nowadays leans a lot more towards artistic, sometimes abstract interpretation of the wedding day. It is not uncommon for wedding photographers to have photos in their portfolio that focus on only a part of the body (like the grooms hands on the bride’s hips) which do not include head and shoulders. If this is not your style, don’t get caught unaware and be surprised when you receive your photos.
Remember that whoever you choose, they are choosing you too. The better photographers will turn down a request to shoot a wedding if they can see that their style is not in sync with yours.
3) Checking out the website
This goes hand in hand with point 2. Modern wedding photographers not only have a website but also a blog where they post their most recent weddings as well as interesting occurrences in their business and even their personal lives. It is important for us to let you know that we are normal people with normal lives, so that couples are able to identify with us. By reading the blogs of photographers on your short list you can get a pretty good idea of their personalities and what they are about.
But also be aware that wedding photographers will put their best foot forward when it comes to their blogs and websites. After all, it is the shop window of their business. Photos that are chosen for portfolios are the best of the best. They tend to be dramatic, showstopping images. You should be interested in the other 99.9% of images a wedding photographer shoots. Be sure to ask them to see an album or a gallery of a complete wedding so that you can be rest assured that the overall product you will receive will be to your satisfaction. A further point is to delve a bit further than the first page or two of the blog. How many weddings can you find? Is there an archive of weddings that have been done in the past few months? If there is only one or two, how many weddings have they actually photographed?
If it seems that the cost of a wedding photography package is too good to be true, chances are it is! Many photographers just starting out tend to charge really low prices and only cover their costs. Many see your wedding as a way of building a portfolio of wedding images. Now this will not apply to all budget priced photographers but as a general rule of thumb, if the price seems really low, then there is a reason for it, so try and find out what it is. Having said that, there will always be photographers that provide a service to the lower end of the market. It is important for you to decide where you position yourself in terms of what you spend on your wedding and specifically your wedding photography.
Sadly, for many brides and grooms, price ends up being the determining factor. One has to wonder why a couple would spend thousands on the dress, pay the venue a small fortune, rent a car, get the groom proper attire, getting beautiful Bridesmaids dresses, cake and flowers – only to cut costs on the wedding photography? Surely this can result in poor wedding photography and huge disappointment at photographs of the day that you simply do not want to look at.
This is a definite example of YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! THIS IS NOT AN AREA TO SKIMP ON! (Don’t believe me? Ask around, sadly, it is not that uncommon).
Communication with your wedding photographer is essential, both before you book her, and in the months leading up to the wedding. Don’t assume anything. Make sure your photographer knows what the schedule for the day is, what is happening, and when. If your package includes a certain amount of hours, how long before the ceremony and after do you want them there? Don’t be afraid to let the photographer know that there are certain specific shots that you would like, even during the couple shoot. Most often you have seen photos on her blog that you want to replicate. Preferably discuss this beforehand so that your preferred shots don’t get left by the wayside in the rush of things. Professional wedding photographers have a certain way they approach the shooting of the wedding, but most will be open to your suggestions. Don’t assume they can read your mind. Communicate!
Be creative and work with your photographer to produce the wedding photographs that you desire. That way you will have a great wedding experience that you can cherish forever with great images captured by the professional wedding photographer you choose. Chances are, you will form a friendship with the photographer, that will last a lifetime!