Deciding on a wedding photographer can be one of the most daunting tasks for a couple when planning their wedding. How much should they cost? What do they offer? How do I know I will love the images? These are some of the revolving questions that never get fully answered. I recognize that I’m not the wedding photographer for everyone, but the world isn’t over if you don’t choose me. What’s more important to me is finding THE wedding photographer for you. Now, I’ve already written a thorough questionnaire I highly advise couples use when shopping around (read that here) but in this post I want to focus on 3 big picture ideas.
1. Do I love their style?
This should go without saying but it’s important to recognize that the more experienced and talented a photographer is the more beautiful and eye catching their photos will be. You know those amazing photos that stand above the rest on Pinterest? Those are not from someone with a “nice” camera, they are from a skilled and trained professional who knows how to work the client, the scenery, the lighting, the camera, and the editing.
All photographers have different styles, specialties, strengths and weaknesses. This can be hard to understand for individuals who don’t have an artistic eye or much attention to detail but make sure that the style of photos your prospective photographers create line up with how you want to remember your wedding for the rest of your life. Some photographers pride themselves with beautiful poses while others are good at capturing candid moments of love and interaction. Some photographers make images epic and dramatic with special lights and equipment while others have mastered the use of natural light and give their images a more realistic style. While you look through a photographers portfolio try to notice the consistency that highlights their style and strengths as a wedding photographer.
2. Can I afford them?
Sadly for many couples this is the first and only question they ask. The downside to this is either a.) they count out any photographer that is out of their initial budget and miss out on quality photography or b.) they hire a photographer quickly because they are cheap and then regret the decision for long afterward. I’ve asked on multiple occasions “if you could change anything about your wedding what would it be?” and 90% of the time it has to do with who they hired for photography.
All too often I see couples hire a friend or family member because they won’t charge them big bucks. After all who wants to pay a thousand dollars for a few pictures right? Well there in lies the problem – how you see the value of a trustworthy photographer and the importance of quality photographs to commemorate your wedding will dictate how you spend money on them. How long does each of the other high dollar items from a wedding last? The venue – a night, the food – a few hours, the decorations – in the trash, the music – a few dances. But the photographs that immortalize your memories can last a lifetime and beyond. Do you have old photos from your grandparents lifetime? And how rare were photographs then? Now with the abundance of pictures and cameras I believe it’s important to provide future generations with beautiful memories of our lives. And while we are still here they can instantly take you back to those moments in time.
Photography is a long term investment in memories and heritage if you absolutely can’t afford a photographer you really love find alternative ways to fund the photography, don’t give up so easily! Ask the photographer if they are willing to trade services of equal value. Maybe your fiance does wooden flooring, maybe you’re a masseuse, maybe your do hair and makeup, or you fix cars! There are things in this world that hold value other than the almighty dollar. Ask your family and friends to contribute what they can as a wedding gift! And if you truly can’t afford wedding day coverage think about hiring a photographer to capture portraits of you two together all dressed up. You could do this before the wedding day (see my First Look post), after your ceremony with some family pictures, or after your honeymoon! Those portraits will live on and you’ll be glad you got them done.
3. Do we click together?
Lastly you want to make sure you and your fiance enjoy the presence of your photographer, if they are weird, uncomfortable, unfriendly, or pushy – you don’t want to deal with that on your wedding day. Your photographer needs to become your temporary best friend in some sense as you are entrusting them with one of the biggest days of your life full of priceless moments that happen only once.
Make sure that you are comfortable with the direction that your photographer wants to take with the photos. If you can’t communicate with them and they won’t compromise to serve your vision than think again before signing anything.