5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
When you chat with anyone about their wedding day, whether they’ve been married for 3 months or 47 years, the conversation almost always leads to a proud display of photos. Photographs always have and always will be one of the most nostalgic and precious memories you’ll have from your wedding. Being a bride and a photographer, I’d love to extend some advice on how to choose the person who is best for you! Keep in mind, it’s more than just photos you’re paying for. You’re also investing in peace of mind, guidance, expertise, and an experience. Using these tips will help alleviate some stress for you in the grand and overwhelming search for the perfect wedding photographer!
1. Do Your Research
Good photographers (and bad ones for that matter) tend to create a buzz and a reputation wherever they go and in the lives they touch. Create a list of characteristics and qualities you’re looking for in a photographer and company: do you want to work with a single photographer, or would you prefer two photographers to capture different angles of each moment? Is their website professional and easy to navigate? Do you see a dozens of couples showcased, or do you see one or two couples showcased several dozen times? This can be indicative of their experience and the number of weddings they have shot.
2. Determine Your Personal Style
Each photographer has a specific way they see the world and how they capture that vision. Some photographers have a staged, fine-art style, while others have a more candid, photojournalistic approach that aims to capture and tell a story. Photographers can have several variations of editing styles as well, with some opting for a muted, vintage-style look, and others preferring vibrant colors and higher contrast. Choose the style and look that best represents your personalities and filter your options to photographers who specialize in that area. This will help you easily narrow down whose work you feel drawn to and the style that will best represent and accurately capture your wedding day.
3. Evaluate Their Work
When looking through a photographer’s album, look closely for standard-industry factors, such as clarity, colors, exposure, composition, and focus. Look for common threads and consistency in their editing (adventurous, stylized, candid, posed). Pay attention to how comfortable the people in the images appear and determine if you can see yourself in those images. Hearing couples tell us that our images look relaxed, natural, and happy is the greatest compliment we can receive, as we always aim to make our shoots as fun and as comfortable as possible.
4. Professionalism & Personality
Professionalism in the photography industry is a must, and you can often gauge a photographer’s professionalism from the very first phone call or e-mail. Your wedding day will only happen once, so it’s critical that you choose a photographer you can have absolute trust in. An experienced photographer will know when to offer sound advice on images, locations, timelines, and even other vendors. Be sure to ask questions about how many weddings they’ve shot, their familiarity with your venue, whether they scout out venues prior to the wedding, if they have backup cameras in case of equipment failure, proof of liability insurance, and any other questions that will provide you with reassurance on your wedding day. Feel free to ask questions about their personality as well: is photography their full time job? Why are they passionate about wedding photography? What did they learn from their own wedding day? Their personality is equally as important as their professionalism, which leads us to the final tip…
5. Interview & Reviews
The importance of meshing and having a genuine connection with your photographer cannot be overstated. You don’t have to plan on inviting them to your baby shower (although we love when that happens), but you should feel a sense of comfort and happiness with them. A wedding-industry professional should have a servant heart and mentality, and it’s worth taking the time to find a photographer who lives for their career and for the happiness of others. A photographer with a servant heart is just as interested in the relationship as they are about delivering the highest standard of images. They will live and capture your entire wedding day with you, often spending more time with you than your own family or bridal party. And on the most exciting day of your life, you’ll want your photographer to be your friend in addition to being a professional.
On an ending note, don’t forget to pay attention to reviews from other brides and grooms. Website testimonials may only showcase the best reviews, but Facebook and Google reviews can shed light on the good as well as the bad. They also can’t be edited or deleted to the photographer’s liking, so the words are honest and valuable. Rest assured, if a photographer has thirty 5-star reviews, it’s not because they went through and deleted all the bad ones. It’s because thirty couples were thrilled with their experience and the quality of their photos—and that’s worth more than any words said by the photographer themselves.