You are engaged! Woo hoo and congratulations. After the initial excitement dies down, the overwhelming experience of wedding planning kicks in.
Either you love it or you hate it, but either way it will involve countless hours or research, budget crunching and plenty of wine. Am I right?
Along with finding the perfect venue, selecting your wedding photographer is high on the list of must do’s. For me, the right wedding photographer is far more important than any other vendor, but that may be because I am biased. Truth be told, your photographer and their imagery will be the only thing from your wedding day that will live on long after the night ends and your dress is packed away.
Your photographer will document your love story, and if they are good, make any location or venue look like a million bucks.
Know yourself and your expectations
This may seem like a basic tip, but knowing how you interact with people in highly stressful situations is a must. Do you like to be left alone? Do you prefer minimal contact? Or do you appreciate help and assistance? Are you a contact person and a hugger? If someone goes to hug you, do you want to shove them back and scream back off?? Your personality dictates who you need for you.
Knowing yourself and what is comfortable to you is important in finding a like minded professional to work with.
Do you want minimal contact? To just sign the contract and not bother with them again until your wedding day? Or do you want someone who will guide you through the process and be in constant communication? Someone willing to walk the venue with you and offer their opinion and suggestions?
There is not right or wrong answer here. It all depends on what you personally want and prefer. The next step is finding the photographer who fits all your needs.
What style of imagery do you gravitate to
There are a million and one photographers out there, but finding the “one” can seem daunting. Look through vendor listings and bridal magazines. Is there a particular style you find yourself referring to time and time again? Do you want a timeless and classic look, or are you into the new fad and current trend of the dark and moody images? Knowing what your preference is will help you narrow down the list of photographers out there. Please realize, they will not change their editing style to accommodate you. They are the artist and their style is their own. Do not hire a Light and Airy photographer if you want Dark and Moody or vice versa. Once you know what you like, you can begin making inquiries. Stalk them on Instagram and check out their websites. Make sure you see not only the perfectly staged and posed images, but images throughout the entire day from getting ready to first dances. Some photographers excel in one area, but their images are lacking in another. Finding someone whose work speaks to you in every way.
Budget and Pricing
With photographers covering a wide spectrum of pricing, it should be easy to find a professional who you click with (no pun intended) within your budget. Newer photographers will have a lower price package than seasoned pros, because face it experience matters a ton in wedding photography. This is the one genre in photography where there are no “do overs”. We cannot reschedule or makeup images if we miss the shot. That is not to say some new photographers will not do an exceptional job for you. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? But having the best photographer you can afford is very important.
Photography is the one aspect of your wedding day you should never skimp on.
Your photographer will be responsible for documenting each step of your journey on your wedding day, AND follow up with quality images in a specific time frame. I hear horror stories all the time of the photographer who shot the wedding, then ghosted the couple. Where 4 months later there are still zero images received and communication with them leads no where. Whomever you decide to book, make sure they have upfront guidelines of what their service will be, including after the wedding. Communication is key.
Know what is included
There is no one size fits all package in wedding photography as every wedding and couple are unique. Most photographers craft a package and pricing around what is the “standard” or a traditional wedding time frame. Packages are determined by the amount of hours you will be requiring photography services, from the first moments or getting ready images to the last big event of the wedding. But your wedding photography is not only what happens on the big day.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Is an initial consultation included?
- Do they assist you with your timeline and answer questions?
- What is their policy for payment?
- How many images do they include in your package?
- How will you receive these images?
- What is the turn around time on receiving the final product?
- Is there a cap on how many images they provide with the package? Will there be an upcharge for additional images?
- How will they communicate with you?
- Are they insured?
- Do they use professional equipment?
- Do they have a back up plan in the event of emergencies?
- If you need to add more hours, can you do so?
- Do they offer a complimentary engagement session?
- If so, how many images will be delivered?
Knowing all of these questions will help you chose the perfect photographer for you.
For more on what questions to ask when interviewing a photographer, check out this link here.
Remember, you have to love the person you are working with. You must feel comfortable with them, and trust in their ability to document your day your way.
Best of luck finding who speaks to you!