Planning your wedding day is one of the most exciting, and taxing times of your life. Making sure that every detail has been researched and planned for, you attempt to create the special day that has been the subject of your dreams. As you prepare for this momentous occasion take extra time in selecting the photographer just right for your style and personality, as your wedding photos will be the one item you can look back at years from now. When you gaze at portraits of that special day you should be taken right back to that moment in time and remember fondly the events of that day.
When selecting the right photographer for your event keep the following 5 Tips in mind.
Style & Quality
A thorough review of the photographer’s portfolio will tell you if you like their photographs. You should understand the style and approach of your photographer by reviewing their collection. Do you like how he/she is telling the “story”? You can ask yourself a few questions to help better understand what you are looking for: Do I like the overall feel of these images? Does the lighting seem appropriate and appealing? Do the people in the images look happy, natural and relaxed? Can I pick out the special elements of the day or event, as seen through the photographer’s eyes?
Once you have narrowed your choice to a couple of professionals, ask to review a sampling of their work representative of their various specialties and skill-sets. Often websites are not up to date with gallery posts, or may not truly be representative of the actual images offered. This allows you to gauge the consistency of their work, so you know exactly what to expect.
Once you have chosen a few photographers whose work you like, and their style seems to fit your wants and needs, it’s important to conduct an in-person interview. Not only should you enjoy their art, but also their company. A professional trust and genuine likeability factor should be present, allowing you to feel comfortable working with them and relaxed in their presence. A good working rapport with the person behind the camera makes it easier to capture the best pictures, especially the unanticipated moments. Beautiful and inspired wedding photography is mainly a result of having a great relationship with your photographer.
One last thought here, consider your guests as well. The photographer will better capture your family and friends in photos if they are personable and friendly. Assuring they are approachable and down-to-earth allows for candid shots captured throughout the day as it naturally unfolds, rather than forced poses and fake smiles.
Value (Cost vs. Product)
Think of your wedding photographs as an investment. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for – right? These images are meant to last a lifetime, and as such, you want to plan (financially) for something you absolutely love. Though budget may dictate your selection to a degree, be sure that you do not sacrifice cost for quality.
Likely your photographer has a variety of packages and is flexible on what can and cannot be included. Be sure to review options to get what you really want in the end. Do NOT neglect to ask about “hidden extras.” It’s better to know the cost associated with add-ons and upgrades well before the day of the event.
If you are planning any part of your wedding in a dark or dimly lit venue, or you’re having an evening wedding reception outdoors, you need a photographer that’s skilled with those lighting environments. Review their portfolio for weddings shot in similar lighting environments and ask them specifically how they would handle your particular situation.
When possible, interview photographers who have a lot of experience working at the venue at which you will be married. This eliminates a lot of the guess-work for both of you. Length of experience does not always mean that you will get the photos you were hoping for. If you are selecting a very seasoned photographer, keep a watchful eye while reviewing their collection of works to understand how their style has evolved and modernized over time. Most couples do not want their photos to look like they came from a bygone era.
It’s safe to say that merely asking for a list of references or testimonials is not going to give you an accurate summary of the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses. As you’re interviewing various photographers keep in mind the “must-haves,” the “wish list,” and the “deal-breakers”. Just like all of us, your photographer won’t be perfect, but they can be right for you. Ask up-front what their weaknesses are, as well as what their expectations are for you.
Then ask for a short list of past clients who would be willing to speak with you candidly about their experiences: the flow of their wedding day, the images captured and delivery of the final product. Don’t be afraid to ask them about challenges or disappointments when working with a particular photographer. Whatever their answer, remember that personality is probably partly at play here, yet the information gives you plenty of opportunity to review the total experience.
When you have selected the right photographer for you, be sure to book them as soon as possible. Most in-demand photographers book out well in advance. For a small deposit you can secure them before anyone else does. If you really want to experience what it is like to work with your photographer before the big day, secure them to shoot an engagement session for you. Some photographers may include this in the package, while others may offer it as an add-on or upgrade. Regardless, this precursor to your wedding day will provide a “sneak peek” at the working relationship you can expect, allowing insight into the working style, creativity and personality of the photographer, while you still have time to make a different selection.
Most importantly, remember that quality photographs are one thing you will not likely regret purchasing. They should be the kind of images that will transport you back in time to your wedding day, each and every time you look at them.