Tips for choosing your wedding photographer
I saw a meme the other day that said “hiring a friend to take your photos just because they have a camera is like hiring me to cut your hair because I own scissors.” I laughed out loud and that. It’s funny cause it’s true. Wedding photography is a skill set with many facets - technical skills including understand how to work your camera, what settings to use, ect as well as artistic skills, like posing, directing, staging, finding good light. And let’s not forget the social skills it takes as well. Helping clients feel comfortable, getting people to listen to directions during group portraits, ect.
This is your wedding day. Don’t just find someone who takes pretty pictures and book them. Do your homework. Make sure your photographer is the right fit. There is a lot to look at when considering who you want to photograph one of the happiest parts of your life.
Pricing - Not only is it important to make sure they will fit into your budget, but their prices can be a really good indicator of how experienced or how high quality of a product they can deliver. Someone charging $100 probably isn’t a experienced or using as good of quality equipment as the person charging thousands. You can find a photographer for any price point, but you get what you pay for. The lower budget photographers likely are just starting out. No knock to those photographers, we all start somewhere. But some brides dont mind the idea of having their wedding be the first wedding someone has ever shot, and some brides only want someone who has 10+ years of experience and has shot hundreds of weddings. Price point is a good indicator.
Editing Style - This is an obvious one - you should like the way their work looks. The colors, the tones, how light or dark their imagery is. Some photographers might be willing to make small adjustments to their editing style if you ask, but for the most part, photographers find their editing style and they stick to it. its what they do well and being consistent with their editing is one way a photographer can make sure prospective clients know what to expect.
Posing Style- The more I started trying to define my own style of photography, the more i realized how important posing is. Sometimes photographers use a lot of very structured posing that provides more of a high end, fine art feel. Some photographers throw structure out the window and their sessions are all about emotion and adventure and movement. It all comes from the way a photographer poses and directs their shoots. Some photographers like to control every aspect of the shoot, telling clients when to move, where to look, when to smile, ect. I like to work with my clients, giving them instructions but leaving space for them to be themselves and capture natural moments. Some photographers just turn on some music, dont give hardly any instruction and just capture whatever happens from there. Ask questions and find out how a photographer runs things to make sure you are comfortable with the way they do things and the way they will be directing or not directing you.
Personality- One of the first times I realized that choosing a photographer based on their personality is actually a really good idea was when I read on a photographers ‘about me’ section on her website how she loved to hop fences and shoot in locations she wasn’t supposed to shoot. Literally just reading that gave me anxiety. I LOVE this photographers work, but I realized we would not have been a good fit if she was going to ask me to do things I wasn’t comfortable doing. Im sure her ideal client is one that LOVES the adventure and the thrill of the risk, but i’m much more of a rule follower and I can promise I would HATE hopping fences with her. Now, i’m not actually thinking that if I booked a session with her that she would force me to go hop a fence, but it helped me realize that our personalities probably wouldn’t mesh well and that I would be better off finding a photographer whose vibes I was more on board with. This is true ESPECIALLY for the wedding day. Your photographer follows you around all day. You want it to be a person you gel with, I promise.
Terms and Conditions - Some photographers dont allow anyone else to take any photos at the wedding - Not grandma, not uncle Bob, not even your mom. Not even on their cell phones. Some photographers require a hot meal be provided. Some dont deliver raw images or accept editing requests. Some will only give you 50 images and then you have to buy the rest. Some require that all of the prints and products you want be purchased through them. Most of the time, we have good reasons for the terms and conditions we put into our contracts, but sometimes, a policy simply won’t work for you and the day you are planning. I personally try to keep my terms and conditions very reasonable and have never had anybody decide not to book because of something they didn’t like in my contract, but it would be absolutely reasonable for someone to not book if they didn’t agree with the terms and conditions. It simply means that they wouldn’t have been a good fit in the first place and everyone will be better if you find someone who you can agree with on contract info.
Last but not least, find someone who will have a good attitude and a smile on their face your whole wedding day. I have seen grumpy photographers bring the mood of the whole group down. Photographers who act like the day is about them. That they are the most important part of this day. You dont want that photographer. You want someone who will happily do what it takes to capture the moments you want. Someone who is happy to be there and recognizes that this day is about YOU, and that they are just there to capture it, not run the show.