Finding vendors for your wedding can be a daunting task. Your wedding vendors need to meet your individual needs, and you may require more or fewer depending on how extravagant your event. Each one is providing you with an essential service that is helping to create the perfect manifestation of your dream wedding. Once you’ve figured out exactly the kinds of goods and services you require, there is now a seemingly never ending list of vendors to choose from. How do you decide?!
First, you have to consider how important wedding photography is to you. Some people place it near the top of their list, considering the documentation and preservation of their day top priority. For others, as long as they get to be married, they are good with sharing guests photos. Determining how important wedding photography is to you will determine how much of your budget you’ll be using for your photos.
Which brings me to budget: the single most defining factor for most people. It’s true that there is a photographer for every budget, and having a ballpark from which you can start your hunt is essential. A lot of photographers will be ruled out immediately based on their price and what you have allotted to spend for photos. And while the old adage “You get what you pay for” is definitely true, there are things to consider other than budget when it comes to picking who will document your day. With those ideas in mind, here are my Top 3 Things To Look For In A Wedding Photographer.
This is a big one because it isn’t just the technical ability of the photographer to take your photos. What helps shape the way a photo looks is the the artistry involved in post processing and editing the images. A good photographer doesn’t just point and shoot. Understanding the camera settings and how to compensate for your desired effect while still properly exposing the image is a skill. Which is just a lot of jargon that means there are a lot of factors to consider before the shutter even gets pressed.
Posing is a big deal as well. Do you like posed or candid photography? Lifestyle or editorial? Choosing the style of photography will help dictate the storytelling of your day. Posing is a big deal as well. Do you like posed or candid photography? Lifestyle or editorial? Choosing the style of photography will help dictate the storytelling of your day. The skill set behind the camera, plus the posing and framing, are factors that dictate the way the image looks. But the end result you see when your gallery is delivered is pulled together in post processing. Professionally edited images are a signature for the photographer. Everyone’s editing style is different. From sultry and moody, to light and airy, you’ll be drawn to a particular style that will set the tone for your wedding photos.
It might seem trivial, but I’m not kidding!! Getting your photo taken is awkward for most people, and when you have a stranger photographing you for HOURS, asking you to kiss in front of them, it can get pretty uncomfy. When I was looking for wedding vendors, I went to a wedding show where I dropped into many photographer’s booths to chat and gather contact info. I knew right away when I met with our future wedding photographer, because within the first minute she had me laughing. I knew I could never do sultry and steamy poses with my hubby with a straight face, so we were looking for someone fun, friendly, and funny to bring out our joy and happiness in our wedding photos.
Picking someone you vibe with to ease the tension on your wedding day is so important. Your discomfort will show up in photos if your photographer makes you feel awkward, or is rude, terse, too shy, too outgoing, tells too many dad jokes… too whatever you find off putting. Take advantage of in person meetings, Skype, and phone calls to get to know your photographer! And if you get the chance, having engagement photos done with them will help you both to get to know each other so you are your most relaxed self come your wedding day!
Last but not least, how do you know you trust someone you’ve never met? Look for testimonials or reviews on Facebook or Google. Comb their website to see if there are testimonials. Join local Facebook groups and ask for recommendations or comment on other people’s posts inquiring about their experience. Personally, I establish immediate transparency by posting my prices upfront on my website. Couples tend to be appreciative of this so they know right away if my services are in their budget. Posting your prices upfront however is not an industry standard.
You should always inquire about a photographer’s price sheet. Sometimes there are hidden charges in the fine print that may go undisclosed after you initial inquiry, and that could raise some red flags. You always want to ask questions, go over package details, and review contracts carefully. Take time to speak with your photographer about your needs, your concerns, and your questions. Photographers should want you to have the best wedding day experience possible, so if anyone is cagey with you or avoids answering your questions, it may be time to look into other photographers.
Ask your potential photographer for access to view a full wedding gallery (or if that’s not possible, a full day highlight gallery), so you have the best possible idea of what your wedding day will look like!
Either yourself, or the photographer at some point in your communication may realize you are not the best fit. It happens! Let them know so that you can restart your search, and if the photographer initiates this line of conversation, don’t take it personally. We are just looking out for you and want to make sure you are delivered the photos you’ve always been dreaming of, and sometimes that means there is a better qualified person than us to do that for you.
What’s The Verdict?
There are many, many factors to consider when it comes to choosing your photographer. You may have a longer list than I do, and you may not even have my top three in your top TEN! That’s the amazing thing when it comes to choosing a professional to photograph your wedding, there is someone out there for everyone! We all have different price ranges, different styles, different specialties, and different niches. So make sure you do some research and find a photographer who you connect with!