Why choosing the right photographer for YOU matters!
Most newly engaged couples who look around for photographers just look at the body of work to determine who the right photographer is for them. Dont forget that there is a living, breathing human being behind that camera that will be making decisions and guiding parts of your day, so you need to look the photographer to see if they are a person you want to be spending a good amount of time with! Im a lovely person yall (I promise!) but I may not be your cup of tea, and thats ok! Not all photographers are right for just any bride! Here are a few things to think about (besides the photos!) when picking your photographer!
1. Of all your wedding vendors, you will spend the most time with your photographer, so its important that you really jive with your photographer! Think of it this way. If they aren't really "you're kinda person" and you think you can just deal with it, can your guests also deal with it? Hopefully you have something in common with your friends and family, and if you don't really get along with your photographer, odds are your friends and family wont either. The day is absolutely about you, but making sure you have the right photographer for you can make or break your day as well because photographers, unlike most other vendors (or even most of your friends and family!) are right there with you the whole day. Honestly, other than your spouse, your photographer is the person who you will probably spend the most time with on one of the most important days of your life. Dont you think that warrants taking the time to make sure they are gonna treat you right? That youll get along and be ok with them pointing their camera at your face all day? Ive seen vendors who have totally ruined wedding days by being rude, arrogant and abrasive to brides, grooms, and their guests. If they dont seem like a good personality fit, time to look elsewhere!
2. A good photographer is so much more than just a person who takes photos for you! They should helping you to create memories and helping things go smoothly. Family photos are NO ONES favorite part of a wedding day, but your photographer should make sure it goes smoothly and quickly to avoid people getting grumpy. I tell my couples where to stand for the cake cutting to get the best shots and help their friends and family see whats going on - I instruct my brides on how to do the bouquet toss. I know the difference between a photographer who takes charge and one who doesn't, because I used to be the latter. I thought to myself, "this day isnt about me, I should just be here to capture photos and stay out of the way!" But the truth is, my couples and I both NEED me to take charge. Now that I have shifted my mind set that its part of my job to keep the day running smoothly, I get comments from clients and their friends and family at nearly every single wedding that im "such a good photographer!" before they ever see any of the photos! What they are recognizing is that I know what needs to be done and I do it! And they appreciate it! Not only am I doing what it takes to get the best photos possibly, but it also creates a nicer experience for everyone else when the day is running smoothly!
3. Being a wedding photographer doesn't just happen one day when you pick up a camera. It comes from years of experience, seeing all sorts of wonderful things that worked well, and some disasters that didn't. Its knowing the best light, poses, how to get clients to show their true selves, how to do crowd control, ect. The day is literally full decisions for a wedding photographer. Where to take photos that will have good light and a nice background, which group shots to do first so we can get through them efficiently, how to pose clients, where to stand when the bride comes down the aisle, when to turn and get the perfect shot of her groom seeing her for the first time, not to mention the technical side of photography - exposure, composition, white balance, ect. I look at the photographer I was a few years ago and I know thats not a photographer I would want at my wedding! I would want the photographer I am today, the one who has experience and education to make those decisions! Does that mean no one should ever hire a beginner? Absolutely not! We all start somewhere! Some weddings are simple and straight forward and a beginner can totally handle certain situations! But the majority of my couples tell me that photographer is one of the priorities for their wedding - and if thats you too, I highly recommend you hire a seasoned pro. You cant fake experience and decision making skills. I recommend looking at the '3 E's of photography. Education, Experience and Equipment. They are all so important! Weve already touched on education and experience a bit, so lets talk about Equipment
4. What gear is your photographer using? There are absolutely scenarios where gear straight up DOESN'T MATTER (again, we all start somewhere!) But there are a lot more scenarios where it does. When I switched from a crop sensor camera to a full frame camera, it made a world of difference in the quality of my work. Now I have two Nikon D750s that I take with me to every shoot. One is a back up so that if something happens to one camera during your wedding, its not a big deal, I just grab the other one and keep shooting! Not all photographers have a back up and that terrifies me! Another piece of equipment that a lot of photographers dont have or don't know how to properly use is flash! I used to be so intimidated by flash that I didnt buy one for years, and then I didnt learn how to properly use it for years after that. Learning flash has COMPLETELY changed the way I photograph in darker spaces. It has 110% elevated my work! I can create so many different looks with my flash set up and im passionate about helping other photographers learn to get over their fear of flash!
Hopefully ive given you some things to think about that! Using an experienced photographer with the right gear, decision making skills and the right personality for you is so important! You only get to do this day once, so make sure you enjoy it and make sure you are with someone you trust to capture it for you!