If your wedding is in summer or fall of 2015, it’s time to start meeting with photographers! Feeling overwhelmed with the decision? Here are some tips for what to look for as you meet with wedding photographers (in no particular order):
- Style. Browse through Pinterest, galleries, and magazines to find your favorite images. Then gather all of them together and write down a few words to describe your style. Light, contrast, modern, natural, simple, artistic, classic, posed or whatever combination describes you. That way, as you look through a photographer’s portfolio, you know what style to look for. Do you prefer natural, light-filled images? Don’t choose a photographer that specializes in contrast-y, posed images. The more you know about what you prefer, the more likely you are to select the right photographer.
- Budget. Budget matters. Photography is important, but it’s not the most expensive item in your budget. It’s best to reserve between 10-20 percent of your budget for your photographer. When your photographer quotes package options to you, find out exactly what that includes. Are images a separate item, or included? Do you get a CD or online gallery? How much are prints or a wedding album? How much is a second shooter (I highly recommend having one, at least for the ceremony)? Before you compare photographer’s prices, find out what the photographer will really cost you by deciding exactly what you want. 10 hours, second shooter, 400 images, several prints and a wedding album? Be fully informed before you compare.
- Past Work. I’ll admit, my wedding gallery is filled with images I like. It’s meant to reflect my style and what I aim to provide for my brides. BUT, it doesn’t represent everything that I deliver to my brides. When you’re checking out a photographer’s work, don’t be afraid to ask to see a whole wedding (or two!) before you make your decision. If you notice that the photographer is really strong in portraits, but weak in candid moments, and candids are important to you, keep looking! Seeing a photographer’s complete wedding gallery delivered to an actual bride will be a solid indicator of what you will receive. Don’t assume that the photographer will deliver something you haven’t seen from them. Of course, every wedding is different, but the best way to see overall style and type of images is to see the finished product.
- Personality. This one is so big for me. I want to be friends with my bride and groom, because I recognize that I have a lot of impact on the flow of the day. If I’m happy, relaxed, and conversational, the day flows smoothly. If I allowed myself to get stressed or tense, that tension would affect the bride and groom, reflecting in the photos and negatively impacting the day. So as you meet with photographers, determine if you actually like who they are. Do you want them around you on one of the most important days of your life? Do you click with your photographer? It really is important to feel comfortable with your choice. Also, ask your photographer how they handle setbacks. If the photographer’s equipment breaks, or someone in your bridal party is late to portraits, what would they do? Find out how they’ve handled past conflicts. Look for someone who worked hard to make the best of a difficult situation, while keeping the atmosphere positive.
- Expectations. Lay out your expectations clearly. It’s best to know at the beginning how your photographer handles business, from pre-wedding planning, to the wedding day, to post-wedding ordering. Don’t assume that your photographer is just like your cousin’s or your MOH’s. Every photographer’s policie and processes are different, so ask as many questions as you can at the beginning so you aren’t disappointed later.
There isn’t one photographer that’s perfect for every bride. That’s what makes the creative, unique business of wedding photography fun! Most photographers aren’t trying to book every couple, they’re trying to book the right couple! I know that I want you to love my end product as much as I do, and I respect the decision of every couple that comes my way, whether they choose me or find someone that fits them better. If you want to learn more about my work, check out my gallery and wedding pricing! Seen my work and like my style? Let’s schedule a meeting! Happy Planning! <3