As someone who has been to and photographed their fair share of weddings, I understand how stressful it can be. There are so many moving parts, so many decisions to make, and so many people involved. So here’s my top 8 things one should know when selecting a wedding photographer!
1. Your photographer will end up being one of the most important decision you make about your wedding!
Apart from choosing who you will marry, I believe the wedding photographer selection will be one of, if not THE most important decision you make about your wedding… and here’s why: Even if every other detail was absolute perfection, if your photographer is inexperienced or style doesn’t match your taste, your perfect day won’t be reflected in the photos. You want someone who is going to care just as much about your day, by capturing all the right moments in a professional way and style that matches YOU. Your photographs will be a huge part of looking back on your special day. Make sure you choose a photographer who you feel confident will show up and do the day justice. If you’re going to put a little extra money into one area of your wedding, the wedding photographer is IT.
2. Know your style.
If you’re not sure what style of wedding photographer you want, this is the time to do some research. Hop on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook and find those dream photos you could see yourself in. Look at the photos together and see if there’s anything specific about the style that really grabs your attention and use those keywords to do your search. Are you looking for more light or moody wedding photos? Maybe you’re all about black and white or film photography. Whatever your style is, think about it before diving into the search.
3. Location, location, location.
It’s important to share with your wedding photographer where you’d like to take formal photos. If you’re not sure you can always let your photographer know what kind of scenery you’re thinking of. A seasoned wedding photographer should have a few ideas of what makes for a nice backdrop when it comes to formal wedding photos, but it’s always a good idea to have a few places in mind. Do you prefer fields and flowers? Something by water? Or are you all about mountains and forests? Even these ideas will narrow in on what you like so your photographer can make some informed suggestions. One important thing to keep in mind is your timeline and ceremony vs. reception location. You may want to choose somewhere close to one or both locations so it’s convenient to snap your formal photos without losing too much time of the day. You may want mountains in your backdrop, but if they’re an hour away from your reception location that’s 2 whole hours spent in a car. Be sure you’re OK with that first!
Let’s face it, most people don’t have a limitless budget when it comes to their wedding. There is a lot of ground to cover and much of it comes with a premium price tag. If this is you, but your don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your photos, there are a few things you can do to keep the costs down:
a.) Keep the amount of time your wedding photographer will be there to a minimum. Maybe you aren’t too worried about getting those “pre-ceremony getting ready” shots. Or maybe after you cut the cake you just want to boogie down without a flash going off every 5 seconds. Either way, if you can shave some time down at the beginning or the end of your wedding day, this should bring the cost down.
b.) Print the photos yourself. Some wedding photographer will put together print packages or wedding books for clients, but keep in mind there is at least a 10-15% mark up on these products. Printing the photos yourself will save your photographer time, and you money!
c.) Offer a trade. If you have your own business or sell a product or service that might interest your photographer, offer it for a discount for part of the cost of the wedding photos. Maybe you’re a certified massage therapist who gives killer deep tissue massages (lord knows all us photogs could use more of those), or maybe you’re a realtor and your photographer is looking to sell their home. If you’re really in a tight spot, but NEED to have those high quality wedding pics, think about what you could offer in return to help meet your photographer in the middle.
5. Make sure you feel comfortable with the person behind the camera!
You don’t have to be besties with your wedding photographer, but having your photo taken can be a pretty intimate thing. Make sure you choose someone professional who makes you feel supported, comfortable, and at ease. A wedding day can be a long day and stressful at times, so make sure your photographer is someone you don’t mind spending the whole day with, who will handle things well if last minute mishaps happen. You want to make sure you only have pleasant memories when you look back at your photos.
6. Ask lots of questions, and read the contract closely.
This is an important decision, and you don’t want any surprises on your wedding day. A good wedding photographer should be able to answer all your questions (there are no bad questions!) and offer good suggestions as to location, poses, etc. Most wedding photographers will ask you to sign a contract (which is good for both parties) so be sure to read it closely so you understand the rights and usage of the photos once you receive them. Make sure the contract includes what your photographer will do if for some reason they can no longer shoot your wedding (due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, etc.). They should provide a substitute photographer of equal quality and similar style who will charge the same amount or less. If you refuse the photographer they provide, you should receive your deposit back so you can select a different wedding photographer.
7. Think about what specific shots you’ll want and don’t be afraid to ask for them!
Even the most experienced wedding photographer can’t read your mind. If you want to do a “first look” shot, be sure to communicate that ahead of time so that your photographer can orchestrate the perfect time, location, and angle to shoot it from. Or maybe you want your photographer to have extra focus on one of your guests (like a sibling or cherished grandparent), don’t be afraid to let them know that. Think about the final shots you will want to receive after your wedding day, and share those thoughts with your photographer. A good photographer will want to know what’s important to you!
8. It’s YOUR day.
With the emergence of digital photography, most people know at least a few photographers in their family or friends circle. As much as you may want to say yes to someone you love who wants your business, be sure that they will live up to your style and quality expectations. Your wedding should be about you and the love of your life, not about doing favors for others or making other people comfortable. It’s important to do what feels right for you.
The bottom line? Know what you want, and choose what’s right for you!
If you have any more questions or would like to chat about booking me for your wedding, feel free to send me a message under my contact session for more information! Happy nuptials friends!