While planning a wedding, you can find yourself feeling a bit lost. Many of the things you need to figure out are things you never had to deal with before that moment. You’ll need to find a location, a catering service, make-up artist, a DJ or a band.
And how do you choose your wedding photographer when there are so many out there?
Here I’ll try to give you some tips to go through this process as smoothly as possible.
Find out which style of wedding
photography better express your vision
We talked in a previous article about different style of wedding photography and how photography is an art. Photographers will embrace a style and work with that as long as it feel right to them. This means that it is important to know what style you envision so that you can look for someone who can give you what you want.
It will be very hard to convince a photographer change their way and, in the end, neither of you will be fully satisfied with the result.
So, look at as many photos as you can – search Instagram, Pinterest, Google and anywhere else you can think of; make up your mind about what you like and get in touch with photographers that can give you exactly that. You won’t regret it.
Set a budget
Once you know what you are looking for, it’s time to set a budget. This isn’t easy, especially if you have no experience and you have never looked for a photographer before.
The best way to set a realistic budget is checking the average price of a wedding photographer in your area. Once you know that, you can think about what’s the price you are comfortable paying. Get in touch with photographers in that price range. You can also contact photographers who exceed your budget a bit if you are in love with their work and ask if they have any packages that could work with your budget.
You can check this article for some tips about how to save on wedding photography.
Check their references and reviews
The best way to know if your chosen photographer will live up to your expectation is talking to someone who already worked with them. That isn’t always easy but some photographers will be able to provide references upon request.
However, when this isn’t possibile, you can just scroll the internet and read the reviews other clients left on their page.
Check social media for comments, see how they respond to critics if there are any and ask about them. Photographers are humans and they can make mistakes. There can be someone out there who wasn’t completely satisfied with them and you should ask what happened in that situation. A professional photographer won’t dismiss your concern and will be able to make you feel safe even though there have been one or two bad reviews in their past.
Ask to see a full wedding gallery
As everyone else, photographers will show only a selection of their work on their website and social media. Ask to see a full wedding. This will show your photographer that you are very interested in their work and you care about photography. Moreover, seeing a full wedding gallery or album will give you a better understanding of their work.
Is the quality consistent in all the photos?
When shooting several hundreds photos it is quite easy to get a few great shoots. The difference between a good professional photographer and a not-so-good one is the amount of beautiful image they consistently are able to take.
Meet them over a coffee
Or, if you don’t like coffee, for a walk.
Meeting someone over the phone or the emails will never give you a full understanding of their personality.
When meeting in person, you will be able to see if you personality match. Is this person someone you feel comfortable with? Is the chemistry right?
If so, you are a step closer to choose your wedding photographer. Feeling comfortable and trust your photographer is important not only for your state of mind, but also for the final result in the pictures. If you are happy and relaxed, you’ll show it.
Ask them how they work on the wedding day
As we know already, each photographer is different. After looking at many different photographers’ work you understood what you are looking for. You found some photographers in your budget and you now have to choose one.
It is time to ask questions. One of them is: how do you work at weddings?
Do they direct the couples? How do they get them to loosen up? Do they try to go around unnoticed?
You know more or less their style, so you have a general idea whether your photographer’s work is more staged or reportage but still there can be a few differences.
A great way to see if you like your chosen photographer is to work with them.
Some photographers offer engagement shooting as part of the wedding package. I personally am not a fan of this way because you will have to commit to them right away in order to get the deal and if something doesn’t go as wished you will have to terminate the contract, possibly loosing your deposit.
My suggestion is to book a separate engagement shooting and then, if you are happy with it, proceed in booking the photographer for your wedding.
Engagement shootings are great to make you understand how you relate with the photographer, it helps getting you comfortable in front of a camera and seeing how good you look in those photos will boost your confidence for your wedding day.
I hope this short list will make it easier for you to choose your wedding photographer and will help you to ease the hectic process of planning a wedding.