How to Find Your Wedding Photographer – THE MISSION
Finding and selection the perfect wedding photographer for one of the most significant days in your life can be like a serious mission. Many brides are getting married for the first time and have no idea where to start. With the help of their recently married friends making recommendations, which should be much appreciated, you may still need direction in finding out who is right for YOU. This is why I put together a guide on finding the perfect fit for your day.
1. Choose your Style
Before you start looking at anything else, look at style. Your wedding photographs are the one thing you will have forever when that one day is just a memory – a great memory at that, or we hope. Make sure you know the difference in style. Hiring a photographer is like hiring a painter to create a work of art for you. You can’t hire Van Go and then tell him you want your new art piece to look like Picasso’s. Here are some things to consider:
For the bride who loves the candid moments, the natural photos, the not-so-posey stuff, the photos that tell a story. This is your kind of photographer. Keep in mind that you may not have as much guidance or many posed photos. Maybe this is exactly what you want, a fly on the wall to capture all the special moments you might not have seen.
Fine Art Photography:
For the bride who wants that sense of fine art and maybe a hint of fashion, or maybe the bride that still has a great appreciation for film photography, this photographer is for you. Fine art photographers will create moments and strive for that art-gallery type of style. The trade off with this photographer is that they may not be the one to stick around and take a great deal of your guests getting down on the dance floor. On the flip side, they might be just the person who will go find a balcony and capture a dancing piece of art form a birds-eye-view. Always ask, because every photographer is different at the reception.
Traditional Portrait Photography:
For the bride who wants a plethora of formally posed photos, the kind that mom and dad had on the fireplace all those years you grew up in their home (but with an up-to-date spin on it), this photographer is for you. He or she may also not be the kind to grab all those candid moments at your reception, but again, ask. Many photographers combine styles and can give you both looks throughout the day.
Modern, Edgy Photography:
For the bride who just LOVES those crazy skies, the bold colors, the intense shadows, or maybe that dramatic light, this photographer was born for your wedding. Many modern and edgy photos are a result of off camera flash (you know, those big umbrellas on the stands), while other impacting photos of such style are shot in a dark lit area with just a small bit of light shining on the subject. Most often, the images are very sharp and clean.
My photographic style lies between the photojournalist and the fine art photographer. I love to pose my couples and their loved ones at the wedding, but then I let natural situations happen and capture true moments and emotion. I spend the pre-ceremony and post-ceremony time taking control of that photograph and leading my clients, but as soon as the grand entrance happens I become a fly on the wall. I dive into my photojournalistic approach, being as invisible as possible. I truly believe this combination of the two brings a great variety of artwork to the day.
2. Research the Market
Alright, so you’ve chosen your style. Now how much do you need to budget? Almost every bride has a budget, whether high or low, it’s just a matter of how big your budget is. The biggest mistake a bride can make when planning her wedding is make her own budget without looking at the market. The market will determine how much each aspect of your wedding will cost, and there are many markets. The key to getting what you truly want, is to find the greatest value in the market you want to pay for.
The market today for a full day of professional wedding photography can range anywhere between $2,000-$10,000 and above. Also, comparing photographers is like comparing apples to oranges. What one photographer may give you in 8 hours may greatly differ from another photographer’s 8 hour package. Decide which aspects of your day you want covered and ask them how long it will take them to capture all of those aspects on your day.
3. Consider Your Entire Wedding Before Signing Any Contracts
If you’re planning your own wedding, do not, I repeat, do not sign a single contract without looking at your total wedding budget. Many of the biggest pitfalls of wedding planning is spending too much on the things that weren’t at the top of your priority list, and then finding out the things that truly matter to you are now out of reach. If photography is one of your most important items, you may want to cut back on the things you care less about and see where you can make adjustments before determining how much you have for photos.
4. Narrow Down Your Choices
Great, you’ve decided on style, and a realistic budget. Now who do you hire?! Make a list of your favorite photographers and begin inquiring through their websites on their packages and pricing. You want to narrow your list down to no more than 2-3 favorites.
5. Check References
Ask your photographer if they have any online references. You want to see a place other than their website, where they have total control of what is posted. Ask them if they have a Yelp, a Wedding Wire, or Google Reviews. If their clients are raving about them, it’s a good sign. On the flip side, you might find out some things that could save you a headache in the future. Do your research.
6. Interview Your Top 2-3
I cannot stress enough that you need to totally click with your photographer. You should feel absolutely comfortable with the person who is photographing your wedding. The best way to determine this is by sitting down with each one of them over your favorite cup of coffee or glass of wine. Get to know them on a personal level. Make sure they are a right fit for you.
Secondly, you want to see more of their work. Ten times out of ten, a photographer is going to post their BEST work online. You want to see at least 2-3 full weddings. Ask them to bring along weddings that look like yours. If you are having an outdoor wedding reception, seeing a ballroom dinner is not going to help you determine what your wedding photos will look like. The two scenarios are polar opposites, and you need to see how someone will perform at your venue.
Also ask to see an album if you are considering purchasing one. There’s nothing more valuable than a photograph in print! Album quality can vary greatly. Touch and feel what you may be ordering before making a decision.
7. Go With Your Gut
At the end of the day, follow your heart. Your wedding photography is not just about an end result or a product, it’s about an entire experience with a new friend in your life. Your photographer will be the one vendor by your side the entirety of the day, so you need to love them!
If you feel like I may be the right fit for you or your newly engaged friend, inquire through my website here!