Tis’ the season for booking your wedding photographer, so I thought I’d share some advice on how to choose the right photographer for you. Pro tip – it may not be me.
It’s really an overwhelming process & with good reason – there are a ton of photographers out there! So.. how to choose? There are so many things to consider, and you may not have thought of them. Below are just a few things I think are important to consider.
Determine your style.
The first thing you want to think about in your search for a photographer is the style of photography you’re wanting. This is the best way to narrow down your search, and is also the best way to ensure that you’ll be happy with your photo experience as well as the end result of your images. This applies to all types of photography from weddings, babies, families, seniors, etc.
To determine what your favorite “style” of photography even is, do a simple search on google for photographers in your area and check out their websites. See what appeals to you the most. Think about variables like posing and location as well as the way the photographer edits their images. Besides that, think about if you’re wanting more traditional images like your parents may have had at their wedding or something more artistic like lifestyle photography.
Do some research.
Maybe you’re a bride getting married and want some outside portraits, and that’s great, but you must always make sure your photographer also knows how to take photos indoor. The best way to determine how versatile your photographer’s skills are is to take a look at a couple different types of weddings they’ve shot. Make sure you’re not just viewing straight outdoor weddings and photos, but also things that have been shot indoors or in low-light situations.
Another thing to keep in mind is the photographer’s online social presence. Even just looking at their website design will tell you about their sensibility and personality. However, you should go beyond that and creep on their Facebook and instagram. This will really give you a sense for their personality and if you go on their Facebook business page, you’ll be able to see what clients comment and how the photographer interacts with their audience.
Make sure your personalities mesh.
This is extremely important. You’ll be spending hours with this person on your wedding day. They’ll be there for your most intimate moments, so you want to make sure you’ll feel at ease. The best way to do this is to meet your photographer in person. Not everyone can do this, and if you can’t, creep on them extra hard! But seriously, if you can meet prospective photographers, do so. Set up an in-person interview, or talk with them on the phone. Ask them questions. Get to know them & make sure they try to get to know you. You want them to be about as excited for your wedding day as you are.
Perhaps the best way to make sure you are happy with your photographer is to schedule an engagement session. This will help you understand how the photographer may work on your wedding day. & most importantly, it will show you how you look in their pictures. You’ll also be able to see what poses/situations work for you, and what may not. It’s also a *great* chance to get some awesome photos in your everyday clothes.
Know what products you want, and why you want them.
In terms of prices and products, it really depends on what your priorities are when it comes to your wedding. Price does reflect quality in this industry, and you’ll find that some packages will offer just the digitals, while others cost quite a bit more and offer a wide range of products from USBs, digital downloads, prints, canvases, metal prints, flush mount albums, and even more… and that makes your decision even harder. So, my advice is this – make sure you get a package that includes all of your digital files. At the very least. You can always order an album after your wedding. So if you absolutely cannot spend the extra money to get a package with all the bells and whistles, don’t compromise on a cheaper photographer who may include more things in their package for less money. You can always save up after the wedding to purchase those heirloom products.
If you find that your budget will allow you to get a photography package with some product in it like an album, or an image box, then I suggest considering it because usually when products are included in packages they’re bundled and therefore cheaper than if you’d purchase a’la carte after the fact. Plus, it’s always nice to have something tangible in case the hard drive crashes where you have all your images backed up. (Which, by the way, I recommend backing up your images in at least 3 locations.)
You should be able to tell from the first few times of contact whether this person will be good at communicating with you. E-mail communication is important, but that’s just the starting point. There are several things that you’ll need this person, who will be working so intimately with you through the process, to be skilled at.
Communicating ideas. This goes both for the client and the photographer. If you’re a client concerned about certain “must-have” shots, then make a list of them and a point to ask the photographer(s) during a consultation if these are shots they typically take and if not, if certain ones are possible. You’ll often find that many “must-have” shots are simply moments that naturally unfold during the day, or poses/prompts that are regularly part of the photographers workflow. If you’re a photographer, you’ll need to be skilled at relaying your ideas to your clients. This means doesn’t only mean prompts/posing. It also means helping to plan location, timing, and logistics for engagement sessions, as well as the wedding day. Otherwise, lots of confusion ensues. Again – this is why an engagement session with your photographer is SO important.
Communicating before and after the wedding day is essential. At the consultation ask the photographer what a typical wedding day photo timeline looks like. Although every wedding day is completely different, they should be able to give you generalizations of typical stuff like portraits. Additionally, they should be able to help you put together the best timeline in order to get the most out of your photography package. After the wedding you, as the client, have to communicate any questions or concerns to get them addressed. SO if that’s a blemish the photographer missed – no problem. If it’s a conversion from black and white to color or vice-versa – that’s also no problem. The photographer should be prompt in responding to your request and giving you a timeline of when the task will be done.
Lastly, you’ll want the photographer to be good at communicating should any problems arise. This of course means any serious problems, but also the “little” things. This could be anything from an uncooperative Wal-mart employee needing a “print release” via e-mail ASAP, to problems downloading files, or questions about printing options, etc.
So, there you have it, my personal advice for considering a wedding photographer.
If you have any questions or concerns or think that maybe I’m the photographer for you, please click this link to contact me now.