You booked your venue, now you have your wedding date (woo hoo!!), and it is time to book your other vendors! You start asking your friends, posting on facebook looking for recommendations, and looking up hashtags on instagram for great wedding photographers. You now are bombarded with so many choices and you are not quite sure how to decide which photographer is best for you. So I compiled a list of 6 things you should consider when looking to book your wedding photographer!
Okay, this one is obvious but sometimes, people don’t take this into consideration enough! So, make sure you LOVE their pictures. Pay attention to the color tones, if the pictures are darker, or bright & airy. Also take into consideration the consistency of style and lighting. If the photographer shares some really light photos, then some dark ones, you aren’t going to be sure which look you are going to get on the day. This is literally the ONLY THING from the wedding day that LASTS, and you need to look at these for decades to come. So of course, don’t settle, and make sure you TRUST them!
So for example: my style, is bright and airy. I leverage natural light and sun well to give that glow in pictures, as well as making sure you don’t have dark shadows on your faces, nice skin tones, etc. I also try to stay true to the colors of the day and of course with editing, I enhance all of the images to look more appealing. I’m also very mindful of flattering angles to make sure my couples look their best.
- Make sure you like THEM
Maybe the not so obvious thing to consider. I tell all my couples, and all my friends getting married to choose someone that they LOVE and don’t mind spending an entire day with. Believe it or not, you spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than you do each other, so make sure it’s someone you get along with and vibe with because you (and your family and your friends) will be spending quite a bit of time with them. You wouldn’t go on vacation and invite someone you don’t like, right? Same should go for your wedding day!
I personally am very mindful of the way I am communicating with the Bride and Groom, ensuring that they feel great and comfortable, as well as their family and close friends. I know that the Bride and Groom are the priority and at the same time, the people beside them they really care about. So I want to make sure that their parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen feel seen and cared for as well.
- Make sure they have POSITIVE energy
One of the things that is most important for me to do on a wedding day is bring positive energy to every interaction I have, and also bring a calmness when needed. Just like my point above, you spend all day with your photographer. Do they have an energy that is going to get your friends and family (and you guys) excited about taking pictures? When I’ve attended weddings as a guest, my heart has literally broken watching some photographers bring the energy down with their attitudes or giving terrible direction, leaving everyone confused, or lowering a bride’s confidence before my very eyes because she didn’t understand the photographers instruction and “messed up.” Which honestly, I’m a firm believer that it is the teachers fault (the photographer), if the bride does not do something well.
The way the photographer communicates and interacts with people is huge as well. I am big on being assertive, giving simple, efficient directions, while still being very nice. I don’t care how far I grow in business or in life, people will always remember how you make them FEEL. I have heard of some photographers who have created a big name for themselves that create high quality work, but bring their ego along with them (not saying that is all of them). So feel out your photographer, get on the phone with them. THIS IS ONE OF THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, so try to find someone just as eager to celebrate that as you are!
- Price vs. Value
All of us photographers understand that budget is something very important to consider. We don’t want you to take a second mortgage out on your future home because of a bad decision, but we also don’t want you to have regrets! Often times, our budgets may need to have a little wiggle room for the things that are truly important to us. There are all different kinds of photographers (ones that will send a contract, and then you won’t hear from them until your wedding day which will be less money) or ones that pride themselves (like me) on giving an experience. At the end of the day, I have seen couples invest a lot of their budget into their wedding photography because they valued pictures the most since it is what will last after the day is over, and I have crossed paths with some couples who put most of their budget (for example) into a gorgeous venue, but then risked it not being documented well and were left with their day not being documented as beautiful as it actually was. I’m a firm believer that a great photographer can make even the not so glamorous weddings look amazing, which then of course, they will document luxurious weddings even more beautifully.
I personally, love to help my couples through out the whole time of planning their wedding day. My goal is to make it as stress free and fun as possible! I want it to feel more like a friend helping you along the way by helping create your timeline, sending you questionnaires, your family formal list, giving vendor recommendations, album suggestions and design, and so much more. There is so much VALUE in an experience. I am very dedicated to making sure my couples feel amazing and ensuring they are comfortable. I’m definitely very hands on with giving direction and want to help you with picking out your engagement session outfits, or even if not your venue is not too far away, I’ll scope out your wedding venue with you if I haven’t shot there already, etc. Or if I am seeing the venue for the first time on the day of, I will visit it earlier than scheduled to scope it out and find the best lighting. I value making my clients feel more like a friend over just another number, so that is why I am big on only taking a limited number of weddings each year.
Make sure you know who the photographer is that will be shooting your wedding! (Seems obvious, but some large studios and people with a team of photographers just send a random person – whoever is available on your wedding day!) Talk to people who have worked with that photographer before (if you can) and hear about their experience. You want your needs, wants, and desires to be heard and taken into much consideration. At the end of the day, you really want to KNOW who you are working with and feel they will truly give you the experience you want. Find out how long they have been shooting weddings, if this is their specialty, etc. Time in the industry certainly plays a part, as well as if the photographer is continuing their education and is invested in always growing.
I am big on making sure I show up for my clients, regardless of what is going on in my life. There have been so many unfortunate circumstances that happened either before or even on a wedding day that my couples will never know was going on in my life or with me. Not to say this is a common thing, I have shot weddings while being 38 weeks pregnant, but the point being, I make sure that I show up well regardless of what’s going on because I made a commitment and understand the weight of capturing a wedding day. Whether it is in business or in motherhood, you learn very quickly how to keep persevering, regardless of how you are feeling, when it is necessary.
- The Delivered Product
Make sure you know what you’re getting in your contract. Are you getting digitals? How many? Prints? An album? Do they have a watermark? Do you have print rights if that’s important to you? Make sure that your photographer meets the criteria of what you want and what you’re hoping for! And if you are following them on social media, take notice of what the experience is like after the client’s wedding day. Do they share any sneak peeks? How soon after do they do this? Do they blog it?
I think people underestimate the post wedding experience. I personally try to be very fast with all of that and sharing a lot while everyone is still excited and eagerly waiting to see the pictures, especially those who couldn’t make it to the couples special day! I have read so many comments of family and friends who were so happy to read and see my couples weddings days just a few days after it passed. Sadly, after a week or two, people move onto the next wedding or thing (downside to our fast paced culture, haha). And I just remember as a bride eagerly wanting to see my pictures and feeling like each day, week, month, took FOREVER! It is the only thing left that you get to take with you. So finding out when you will receive your full gallery and taking notice of the sneak peeks (their post work flow), if they blog their weddings, how soon after do they, is something to consider too. Some photographers may post one or a few photos right after, then you just wait months till your full gallery comes in. Decide what matters to you and what is worth having!
So I hope this was helpful! I know there are a TON of decisions and options you have to make. I really want you to take into consideration things that I have seen people underestimate the importance of or realized the value in some of these details until after the day was done and over with. You want an amazing photographic experience and I believe you deserve that!