With so many photographers in the market how can you even make a choice? What should you look for and what are the pitfalls you want to avoid?
Choosing the right photographer takes place at the first stages of your wedding planning, meaning that you most probably have already booked your venue and your wedding planner.
You have to like their style, the emotions they capture, the colors they have and the overall feeling. But that’s half the work. Your wedding photographer is the only professional that will be by your side from the early stages of getting ready until the party time. You want to select one that will make you look & feel beautiful. It’s about the experience they will provide you with. The added value that is hidden under the surface. It’s not enough to have gorgeous pictures, you deserve an one-of-a-kind experience. Take the time to visit their “About” pages and read their online reviews. Especially the bad ones and how they responded.
1. Select the photographic style that you prefer
You may like a more fly-on-the-wall photojournalistic style, or perhaps you love the light, airy and romantic fine art feel. My personal style is a mix of these two. Balancing the moments that I help you pose and look your best with the moments that a little more distance helps real emotions to surface. Avoid booking a photographer for their natural, candid style of shooting if you want more posed, traditional photos. Asking a photographer to shoot in a style that is far away from what you see in their portfolio is never going to make you or them happy, so once you have decided which style you are more drawn to, then narrow down your search to photographers who shoot in that style, and also fit your budget.
2. Their personality
So you have decided which style of photography you want, and have found 2 or 3 photographers who may be perfect. The next step before booking is meeting them. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you feel like you are on the same page? This works both ways, and is just as important for you as it is for the photographer. They will be with you for the whole day, and you will most likely spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anyone else, so it’s important you feel relaxed and happy around them. Meeting your photographer in person or having a chat over Facetime or phone is always a good idea to make sure you’re the right fit for each other. This will also give you the chance to ask any questions you may have and to understand their work process or view a few full wedding galleries online.
3. Deciding on your budget
That’s always a biggie. Your wedding planner can help you to prepare a total estimate of your budget. Lots of studies and previous statistics have shown that the budget you should allocate for your photographer is about 10% of the total. Allow me to offer you a simple counter-example. Having the most expensive photographer in the world to capture a small-budgeted wedding is clearly overkill. The opposite is also true. If you have invested a lot in your wedding dress, decoration etc you don’t want to jeopardize having someone incapable of documenting your day inadequately. The pricing of wedding photographers is almost always reflecting their value, as any free market dictates.
4. Do they offer something of added value
An experienced wedding photographer can help you a lot on your other decisions like the timeline of your day, hair and makeup advice and much more. I have prepared a Bridal Guide that I’m sharing with all my couples after booking my services. Also, as I’m a firm believer that printed pictures live forever, there is always a box of prints with your favorite photos included in my packages.
5. Booking timing
Wedding photographers, usually get booked about a year in advance, so when you have found the one you really love, don’t leave it too late to book them or you will be disappointed. All dates during the season are not equally popular. Peak wedding season is from June to September, with some weekends like the first of June and September being asked frequently. Midweek weddings are also becoming popular, so don’t hang about if your wedding is on one of those dates! Most photographers will offer bookings on a first come first served basis.
Bonus tip: Consistency
As all artists, photographers, have good days and.. not so good. It’s imperative to provide you with a certain degree of professionalism and quality level no matter what. This is a key factor of separating experienced photographers from the rest. The best way to do this is to scroll through at least 5 wedding galleries on their website and also ask to see a couple of full galleries. That will help you understand the quality of work throughout the full day and their consistency on capturing specific key parts of it.
The photographer you will select is the one that you TRUST the most. It’s a very important feeling that will guarantee you will enjoy your wedding photos, during the day but also afterwards when looking at them.
“Your wedding photos are the only investment you will make that its value will raise over time”