How to Choose your Wedding Photographer
Choosing a wedding photographer can be stressful.
I think as photographers we all know this. We all also want you to book us, obviously. So here's my attempt at helping you weed out the competition (be it mine or someone else you have in mind) and be neutral to help you love your photographer on your day.
- Before you start looking, make a list of what all is important to you in your photographer as well as what they provide. Do you want someone that can be there for 10+ hours? Do you want someone with the same belief system? Do you want an engagement session? Is having a tangible wedding album and prints important to you? Do you want a photographer with TONS of personality? (Hi, that one's me) Your wedding photographer is with you on one of the biggest days of your life. You want someone that you want to be around and that makes you comfortable and who can provide for you exactly what you need. That means don't compromise what you want to appease your family or friends or to avoid hurting your wedding photographer friend's feelings. My work isn't for everyone. No one person's work suits everyone.
- Budget. The scary, awful word that everyone hates. Wedding photographers understand that everyone has a budget. Figure out what you can reasonably afford and be prepared to maybe push it a little to get what you want. Depending on your market, the skill level of people in your area and amount of photographers in your budget will vary. I can't tell you what you should spend or what a "good" photographer will cost, but normally "you get what you pay for" is true.
3. Ask to see full galleries. I have two on hand at all times for anyone who asks, and normally when someone inquires, I send them 2 weddings + an engagement/sweetheart session. Why would you want to look through hundreds of someone else's photos? Ask yourself if you can see yourself in their work. Is the posing/lighting/coloring something that intrigues you? Lighting and conditions change so wildly throughout a wedding day and if you don't like the way family photos or something in particular looks, you may be disappointed in your final result on your day. As photographers, we get into a groove and strive for consistency from client to client so we want to make sure you're happy with what we already provide instead of trying to make us something we're not. This ensures everyone's expectations are managed.
4. Read reviews! Of course, not everyone will be 100% on their game 100% of the time. Learn to read between reviews. Maybe a photographer wasn't great at setting expectations but they've taken this constructive criticism and have grown/learned from it. However, if you run into a photographer with consistently poor reviews, you may find yourself in the same situation. Check Facebook, WeddingWire, Google, The Knot, anywhere you may be able to find. If you have a question about something you've seen in a review? Ask your photographer. Of course, anyone can twist a situation to their liking but a simple misunderstanding could always just be that.
5. Most importantly, communicate. Ask to set up a call with your wedding photographer before booking if you have questions. We can't always meet in person, so my FaceTime or phone call sessions with brides are great. We get a chance to discuss any fears they may have. I've helped set up ceremony times, helped flesh out timelines, I've bustled dresses, we do it all. I firmly believe you cannot over communicate with me. Find someone whose communication style you gel well with. You'll be meeting up with and talking to your photographer a LOT leading up to your day.