Okay, so listen… booking your wedding photographer is a big deal! It’s the only long lasting form of memories from the big day. Flowers die, food gets eaten, and your dress gets packaged away… but the photographs stick around for FOREVER. How incredible is that? So, I believe (obviously), that picking the right photographer is so important. As a photographer, I can look at 10 different wedding photographers and see technicalities that I like or don’t like but to the average person, they might look at all 10 and not see a difference, which is totally normal! There is SO much more to taking a photograph than clicking a button. Everyone could be labeled a “photographer” with a camera in their hand but, what makes an amateur and a professional different is their knowledge and education. There are a few things I suggest that everyone pays attention to when deciding which photographer is right for them.
- Style: Style can be interpreted in a few different ways. In this case, I’m going to refer to style as the way in which the photographer edits their photos. Are the photos bright and colorful or dark and moody? Is color muted or popping bright! This is a simple start into the kind of photographer you are looking for. Once you figure out the editing style you want, you can start tailoring your list to that style. You wouldn’t walk into a Lily Pulitzer store and ask for a black sweater… the two just aren’t the same. (you’re probably not walking into a Lily store… but you get the point.) Try not to be offended if a photographer declines your inquiry for style reasons. They’re actually doing a great service to you in pointing you in the direction of someone who might be able to help you better! You wouldn’t want to work with someone who ultimately wasn’t going to deliver what you had imagined.
- Pricing: Does the photographer have pre-selected collections or is everything a la carte? When a photographer sends you pricing, you’ll be able to see what exactly is included in the collections like the amount of hours, 1 or 2 photographers, engagement session, etc. For me, I have 3 collections that my couples can choose from that all have the “basics”. Each one starts with a set 8 hours, 2 photographers, and a complimentary engagement session. What makes them different is whether or not they include albums. My goal is to make the pricing easy and understandable without hidden fees or charges later on in the process.
- Angles: When I’m taking a photograph, I take horizontals and verticals but I don’t do any tilts. Tilting can become distracting or look unnatural with people “falling” in the photo. Angles can also refer to where the photographer was standing when the photograph was taken. Along with the normal portrait shots, do you like the other angles that photographs are taken? For example, when I’m photographing a ceremony, I’ll take shots from the center aisle and the side aisles to get a variety of photos. I will also use images that my second shooter has taken, maybe a closer shot or a wide angle shot to give my clients the “full experience” of that moment.
- Lenses: Let’s be real… you don’t really need to know WHAT lens your photographer is using BUT look at the way the photos are shot. Are there wide shots? close up shots? I tend to take a mix of both! Do faces look distorted? Some wide angle lenses can distort faces when shot up close. It’s all personal preference, but you won’t see that in my images! I like to shoot true to life.
- Full Gallery: If you fall in love with the photos you see on their site, ask for a real wedding gallery! This will show you what they deliver to a REAL couple! You’ll see the whole day versus just a few portraits or detail shots that you might find on their website. Check out their blog as well to see other examples!
- Lighting: How does your photographer handle lighting? As a photographer, I encounter all kinds of lighting situations throughout the day. Indoor, outdoor, midday, sunset… but all throughout, I try to remain consistent in my tones and light. When researching your photographer, look to see if their work stays constant in different types of lighting situations like an indoor ceremony vs an outdoor ceremony. Does the style change?
- Personality: Last but not least. Do you like this photographer. But really… you’re going to be spending the majority of the day with this person and you want to be comfortable! If you’re not comfortable, it’s going to show in your images. Schedule a phone call or an in-person meeting to get to know this person before making your decision! Here’s a mix of my goofy and “serious” about me photos!
Overwhelmed yet? I bet there were a few things in there that you maybe hadn’t thought of before or wouldn’t have noticed! I’ve been studying photography for 10 years and I’m still learning. Since I started my business, I continue to watch educational webinars and attend workshops. I’ve got my style down but there are always new things to try and things to educate myself on. It’s a full-time job of not only photographing clients but learning new knowledge and training myself to be the best photographer I can be. The last thing I leave you with is: ask questions. Like I said in my first sentence — this is a big deal! Get all your questions answered before signing the dotted line! Make sure your photographer is the perfect match for you! I hope this blog post has been educational and will help you with booking your wedding photographer!
Check out other Wedding Wednesday posts, here!
Brett, I love all your blogs but I especially liked this one. It’s crazy how you never run out of fascinating wedding topics to focus on. I always know I’m in for a treat when I see a new blog post pop up on my email.