I know, finding the right photographer in a sea of photographers is no easy task. They come in every skill level and price range from the to-good-too-be-true category on up to the only could be afforded by celebrities and then everything in between. So how do you decide? How do you choose?
Listed below are Five things to help you hire a wedding photographer….the perfect one for you!
What is most important at my wedding?
1. Ask yourself this: How important is photography at my wedding? Once you have answered this question, you will know where to go from here to seek out the appropriate photographer for you. To some, the quality of the wedding photos is EVERYTHING. It is the one thing they will splurge on and cut corners elsewhere because to the “photography is everything bride” the memories of the day need to preserved to perfection and mediocre photos won’t do. Of course I am biased and believe photos are the one thing that shouldn’t be skimped on, because I have heard time and again…..”I wish I would have hired a professional to do my wedding photos”. However, if quality of your photos are less important than decor, the cake or other aspects of your wedding you’ve worked hard to make perfect, searching for the perfect photographer may not be as high of a priority.
Get to know your photographer
2. Do you love their work? When you see it do you see yourself in that photo? In that moment? Can you see your own moments come to life? If so then you may have leaped over the first little hurdle.
Great, you love the photographers style but do you love them? Not likely, since you may have never even met them so how do you know if you’ll click? Well believe it or not, liking your photographer and getting a sense for their personality is very important. You want to be able to convey your vision without apprehension, or feel awkward about insulting your photographer some how. You will be spending your entire wedding day with this person, so you better be sure you are comfortable with them.
To get a feel for their personality, check out their website, does it convey feelings of casualness, upscale, fun, serious, thrown together, sloppy, or any other first impression? If a website is well thought out and caters to the client and makes you feel good when reading through their info, then chances are, they will be that way in person. What they don’t have a website? Well that may be ok, but a serious wedding photographer will likely put a lot of time and effort into their image and their business which means they will most likely do the same for their clients. Finally, call them on the phone, you know that thing you use to text on all the time? Ask questions, have a chat, any professional photographer should have no issues with this. If they do? Hmmmmmm I’d be suspicious.
Do your research
3. Anyone can call themselves a photographer these days. Everyone has a camera. Some people even have better cameras than the photographers themselves, but if they are leaving it in auto mode, trust me, they are not photographers.
A line every photographer hates to hear is “man, your camera takes nice pictures.” It’s the equivalent of telling a chef that his stove made a delicious meal. There is a tremendous amount of skill, practice, cost and learning that goes into making beautiful photographs. Yes, professional equipment greatly aids in that but all of the things I just mentioned makes a photographer not their pricey camera.
So how do you find out if your photographer is skilled? There are a few things you can do. See samples of their work. Is it consistent? Most photogs have a style they tend to stick to. If most of their photos have this consistent style, it means they have spent time developing a look they prefer and tend not to stray from it too much. If you look through their website and see a ton of different styles, such as one photo vintage, the other clean, the next high contrast and their style seems all over the map, they are either just starting out or maybe a fauxtographer. What’s that you say? A fauxtographer is a “photographer” who steals images from other websites and tries to pass them off as their own work, then only after you hire them and get your photos back do you realize how crappy they are and that you have been scammed. Read more about it here on a fellow photographers blog.
Ask for references, check out their website and facebook page, what are people saying? If it’s generally good things and there is a level of consistency, then you are likely headed in the right direction
What is your budget?
4. Everyone has a budget for planning their wedding. Rarely do most people stick to it. They get caught up in wedding bliss and overwhelmed by the cost of things and tend to splurge on a few more things they were planning on. Hey, I do this in everyday life, so I know how it is….Many people scoff at the costs of wedding photography and can’t understand why it is soooo bloody expensive. I did too until I got into this business. If you care to know what goes on in a photography business and why it is so expensive read this article from another photographer to shed some light. It’s not as simple as spending the day snapping photos then it’s over. We photographers actually work hard before, during and after your wedding to bring you the images you will cherish always.
Find out what your photographer is offering. Is it a bunch of photos on a disk and that’s it?, or is there an album, prints, canvases, a second shooter, and engagement shoot included in a package. What do you want? What is important? If it’s just images on a disk, it’s likely you will pay a lower price as there is not as much overhead involved, but if you want all the bells and whistles expect to pay more.
Did you find one photographer offering $500 to shoot your wedding and another that costs $3000 offering practically the same package? It’s not hard to do, but look at the difference in quality, websites, equipment, experience, customer service, products etc, as the old adage goes, you often get what you pay for. So I know we all have to try and stick to our budgets, but if photography is one of things that matters to you most, then you may just have to loosen your purse strings a little more.
5. You have been searching for what seems forever for the perfect photographer. You have been trolling websites, getting word of mouth referrals and hitting up the Pinterest circuit like crazy. You have finally decided on 2 or three you are interested in. Now what? Contact them silly, ASAP! Most wedding photographers book 6 months to a year or more in advance. Don’t wait to contact a photographer you are interested in, there are only so many weekends in a year to book and those spring/summer/early fall weddings are the first to be snapped up. If they are available on your desired date, arrange a meeting to go over all the details of your day and decide if they are indeed the one for you. If they are, most photographers require a deposit or retainer and a signed contract to hold your wedding date. If you do not arrange this with them, you may be out of luck and your date could be snapped up by someone else.
Now that we have established a few key points to get you on your way to successfully finding a wedding photographer, I will shamelessly promote myself by letting you all know I still have some late summer early fall (and of course winter) dates for this year and am accepting bookings for next year. CONTACT ME and I will be more than happy to assist you with any and all questions for your big day!