This blog follows a bit of our personal and professional life, and features images from weddings and portrait sessions we've done, the places we traveled, and the adventures of our combined family-life. It's basically an ever-changing photo album combined with an information source for current and potential clients. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

8 Steps To Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - A Photographer's Perspective

Ready to help you talk photography

It is no surprise that brides (or grooms) don’t instinctively know what to look for when deciding who will photograph the most important day of their lives – their wedding!  But if you ask a photographer, especially one who photographs weddings for a living like we do, rest assured, you’ll get advice with real value.  And guess what?  Price is not THE most important factor.  Read on to see why.

Believe it or not, this IS the first item of importance to consider because it will determine how well you’ll connect with your photographer. Unless you’re a natural performer, it’s not unusual to feel timid or unsure during posed portraits as opposed to candids. Finding a photographer you can relate to in personality is THE best way to overcome this awkwardness.

The couple spends virtually the entire day with their photographer(s), so being with someone who irritates or makes you feel uncomfortable is going to take away from the wedding experience. If you don't like your photographer(s), you won’t feel as calm or as confident as you might otherwise. Having that fun relationship with your photographer means you’ll be more relaxed in the photographs you’ll look back on for years to come.

The style of a photographer is the second most important point to take into consideration. Have you seen some photos that many others seem to rave over but you’re just not that crazy about? The reason might not be because the photographer has done a poor job, but because his/her style is not yours.  If you swoon over soft, light-filled images with lots of sun flare or blown-out backgrounds, then a photographer who shoots everything using artificial lighting or mostly indoors is probably not the best fit for you. Always review the photographer's portfolio to be confident their style of imagery is a match for your wedding dreams.

Let’s face it – price is an important factor for most people. Talk it over with your future spouse and set a reasonable budget. “Reasonable,” however, is a very subjective term, so you’ll need to ask yourself what aspects of your day are the most important for you, and set your priorities accordingly.  Some couples agree to compromise on their venue choice, or their food/beverage options, in order to pay more for the photographer who really “does it” for them.  Of course, you should still do your homework to get an idea of price ranges for your geographical area. Prices might seem high but remember that your wedding photography (and/or videography) is what will endure long after the wedding cake is digested and the dress has yellowed - you don't want to skimp on it!  You DO get what you pay for.
Your photographer should be licensed, insured, and tax-paying; in other words, a true professional! Naturally, you want to deal with an honest business person who’ll make your day joyously memorable and free of complications. Look through the contract carefully before signing to ensure everything is as agreed. Will the photographer advertised be the one there on your wedding day or do they send out another photographer in their place? Will they bring an assistant? How many photos will you get? How many can be retouched? How long will it take for the photos to be ready?  Do they offer payment plans?  

After narrowing down your options, it is time to research a photographer’s reputation.  Do a search on Yelp, Google, and Wedding Wire, in addition to checking out the testimonials on his/her website.  What other brides are saying about your potential wedding photographer does matter.  A really good photographer often books the majority of his/her weddings through positive referrals.
Experience and Skill
Experience speaks to the length of time your photographer has been in business, but does not always guarantee the best results. Skill speaks to how talented the photographer is and you’ll have to trust your personal opinion in addition to any awards he/she may have earned.  In addition to experience and skill with the camera, your photographer should have the ability to relate well with the other professionals you’ve hired.  He/she must know well the natural progression of a wedding day, and be able to confidently direct your guests into combinations of groups for those all-important formal portraits.

Some photographers may refuse to even try something they normally wouldn't do. You should be careful about working with such people because it can end up being their vision only instead of yours. Don't be afraid to ask questions during the consultation.
Second Shooter/Assistant
Some photographers never work without an assistant. Some do.  It is worth inquiring about.  Weddings are notoriously busy with a multitude of happenings and expressions to capture, so having a second shooter can be a plus, providing you with optional angles and more depth to the photographic story being told.  Of course, if your wedding is extremely small, you might ask if you can economize on the photographer’s offerings by having only one shooter.

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