As I was sitting back reflecting on the process of April and I booking our own wedding photographer, it occurred to me this would be a great time to give engaged couples some simple tips for finding the best photographer for them. You can find a ton of tips by doing a quick Google search, many times those tips are written by people who are not working wedding photographers. I’m here to provide some real tips from a working professional wedding photographer.
For April and I hiring the right wedding photographer was just as important to us as the venue we chose. Being in the process of planning our own wedding has opened my eyes to the somewhat daunting task my clients face in planning their own weddings and my outlook of the whole process had changed for the better, but that’s for another blog post..haha.
Top Five Tips For Hiring A Wedding Photographer
What To Look For On A Photographers Website
So you’ve done a Google search for wedding photographers or maybe some one referred one to you. The next step is probably checking out their website. Here are three important elements of their site you should focus on before contacting them.
This probably goes without saying, but you need to like the work you are seeing in front of you. Every photographer has their own style of shooting and how they edit their images. Some photographer like a photojournalist approach, some like to pose their clients. Some do very minimal editing to their images; some like the vintage look to their edited images, and some like clean vibrant colorful images. Take time to look at the images on a photographers website and make sure their style matches your vision of how you want your wedding images to look.
About Me Section
Take a few minutes and read the about me section a photographer has written. A lot of times we will share who we are. If you feel like your personality matches theirs, that’s a great thing.
Photographers blogs are great for seeing current work, but I feel they are more powerful for sharing who we are as photographers with the world. Take a few minutes to see some current work and hopefully read a post or two about that photographer’s personality. A good blog is a mix of both a photographers’ portfolio and about me.
Only Contact and Meet With The Photographers You Honestly Are Considering Hiring
Now that you have found a few photographers you like it’s time to set up meetings with them. My suggestion is to pick two or three photographers to meet with. Don’t waste your time meeting with a ton of them; you will only be more overwhelmed and possibly frustrated. Meet with the photographers who’s work you love, and hopefully if they tell you a little about themselves on their website your personalities seem like a good fit. A face to face meeting is best, but FaceTime or Skype works as well. Use the meeting to tell your photographer about yourselves, your wedding day, your vision, to see more of their work, and ultimately talk face to face about what they can offer you.
I suggest scheduling all your meetings within a week or two and only focus on booking a photographer in that time frame. By only focusing your time on meeting with photographers, you will make a better decision with a clear head and find the perfect person to capture your day.
You Need To Like Your Photographer
You have to like who your photographer is as a person. Besides your family, wedding party, and maybe your wedding planner, the only other person who will be by your side from start to finish is your photographer. On a wedding day, I spend an average of eight to twelve hours with a couple. Imagine spending all that time with someone whose personality doesn't mesh with yours; it could be a long day!
Photographers are just like you; they all have different personalities, beliefs, and traits, so getting to know your photographer well during your initial meeting and engagement session is crucial in my opinion. The more you like your photographer’s personality, the more comfortable you will be on your wedding day.
Let’s Talk About Pricing For Moment
Weddings are expensive events, there's no doubt about it, and by the time you start meeting with photographers, you’ve probably just been hit with some big numbers since you most likely just booked your venue and possibly a caterer. You still have a slew of other vendors to book, and oh yea a beautiful dress to buy. Considering investing thousands of dollars for wedding photography might seem crazy at the moment.
Working in the industry I know the rates photographers charge are all over the place, from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not one to suggest how you spend your money, it’s your money and you have to be comfortable with the amount you spend on your wedding, but here are my thoughts on price.
I know you have a budget, April and I had one too. We said to each other if we loved a photographer’s personality, work, and the albums they offered, we would not be afraid to spend a little more to book the photographer we feel most comfortable with documenting our day. Spending a little more money than you planned on to book the photographer you love and whom you feel the most comfortable with is a smart investment.
At the end of the day, once the cake is cut, the music stops, and you’re wiping off your make up after a day of celebrating, all you have left to remember your wedding day is the photography and maybe a video if you hired a videographer. Sure, you will probably keep your dress, and maybe a family member will give you an awesome heirloom item that will remind you of your day. But, photographs and perhaps a video, are the only items you will have left 5,10,15,20 years from now to conjure up the great memories of your day.
Not Sure About An Album Yet? Make Sure To Get Great Coverage
I’m a photographer, I love albums, I love to see work printed, and a big part of April and I’s wedding photographer search included purchasing an album from the start. For many couples, a wedding album can appear expensive during the initial meeting with a photographer, and by not purchasing one in the beginning or asking to have it removed from a photographers collection you can stay within your budget. If you choose to wait on purchasing an album, do yourself a favor and make sure you get great coverage.
What I mean by great coverage is booking your photographer for enough time to document your wedding to the fullest, and I also suggest adding a second photographer to capture even more intimate and candid moments. I’ve had couples want to book me for six hours of coverage, and after speaking with me, realize they really need eight or more hours of coverage to document the day how they would like it documented. By getting great coverage your day will be documented to the fullest and you can always order an album later. The worst situation in the world is realizing that you didn’t book your photographer for enough time and they come up to you and say they are leaving in a half hour and the cake has not even been cut yet! That extra hour or two can really help. Trust me on this one.
For April and I hiring the right wedding photographer was super important for one simple reason. You put a ton of work into every detail of your wedding, and once the day is over, all you really have to remember how amazing the day was six months to 20 years from now are the photographs, and possibly a video. That might sound a little crazy at the moment, but it’s the truth. I see it every weekend during wedding season. A couple puts in months to years of planning and the day goes by super fast. It will be awesome, but many times when I say goodbye at the end of the night my clients say to me “I can’t believe our wedding is over, that went by quick!”. I’m sure April and I will be saying the same at the end our wedding. So while you might want to book the first photographer you find, so you can move onto booking the next vendor, or the cheapest one you find, I highly suggest taking your time and hiring the right photographer. You will be happy you did in the long run.