Okay, I know what some of you might be thinking…
“Hmmm, a wedding photographer giving us advice about how to choose a wedding photographer? Is he just attempting to sell himself to us?”
I’ll answer that one – no, the purpose of this post is not to try and sell myself to you!
Put simply, you should book whoever you think is most suited to the job! However, many wedded couples will tell you that booking a wedding photographer can be a confusing, and even overwhelming process if you don’t know exactly what you want or what you’re looking for. The market is saturated with a spectrum of photographers that shoot in different styles, offering different packages in different price ranges and, unfortunately, people can sometimes be left disappointed.
The purpose of this post is to aid you with your research and decision-making process by breaking it up into five easy steps, helping you to find the photographer that is right for you!
Step 1: Find Your Favourite Style of Photography
If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve probably already discovered that there is an abundance of wedding photography collections all over the internet; on wedding blogs, in magazines, on Pinterest and everywhere else. With just a little bit of browsing it’s fairly easy to decide what you like and dislike, what is harder is trying to describe what is it you want.
Pretty self-explanatory, natural pictures are photojournalistic, un-posed, documentary-like and capture real emotion. People will be mostly unaware that they are having their picture taken. A photographer making us of this style will often be discreet and capture the day exactly as it unfolds around them; their pictures will tell an emotive story of the day as it happened.
For the most part this will be fairly similar to a natural style, but images will be characterised by a more artistic look, be it that they’re grainier, or dream-like or more muted. Using distinctive post-production recipes, the photographer will often exercise greater artistic freedom and create a collection of more dramatic and colour-filtered images.
Photography of this style will be the most unique because the photographer will often use unconventional framing to compose their images. It will not be uncommon to see images taken on the slant or from high and low angles. It is pretty much the opposite of classical.
Most of the images will be focused around portraiture - think about the traditional wedding album that your parents or grandparents might have. There will be lots of photos of the newly-weds posing with their friends and family in and around various locations in or around the wedding venue.
If you’re scratching your head over what sort of pictures you want then it’s best to take your time, look at more examples for inspiration and consider the various options. If you feel like you can confidently describe what you want from your photographer, then you’re ready for the next step!
Step 2: Create a List of Photographers
Luckily for you, wedding photographers are not too difficult to find. I advise that you start your search by doing the following:
1. A quick internet search of wedding photographers in your area.
2. Ask your venue if they have a list of recommended photographers - most do.
3. Ask married couples that you know who photographed their wedding and if they were happy with them.
4. Ask other friends if they have a friend, or a friend of a friend that shoots weddings.
Write down the names of everyone you find in a list. Got a decent sized list? Good!
Step 3: Narrow Your List Down
So if you’ve followed Step 1 you should know what kind of photography you want and if you’ve followed Step 2 you should have a list of wedding photographers – but don’t contact anyone yet! Remember, its about finding the right photographer, not just any photographer.
Hop on over to their websites and have a browse through their portfolios. Like what you see? Do you like their style? Keep them on the list! Not so sure? Cross them off! This should narrow it down a bit. Look at who remains and extend the criteria of what you are looking for.
Do their packages offer the kind of service that you’d like? Are they in your price range? Do you like the sound of them in their ‘About Me’ section? Are they free on the date of your wedding? (Okay, I know that’s an obvious one!). Thinking about these questions should allow you to eliminate a few more from your shortlist.
Step 4: Arrange a Meeting
Do you have a favourite one or two photographers? Arrange to meet them, or if they live far away then arrange a Skype conversation. It is important that you do this for several reasons:
1. You need to get a feel for their personality and if you like them or not – after all you’ll be spending several hours with them nearby to you on your special day! Plus, it always helps to build up a rapport.
2. They need to know the details of what is happening on your day and what is important to you so that they can deliver the best results. It is easier to discuss this in person. Good photographers will have genuine interest and enthusiasm towards what you have to say.
3. It gives you a chance to ask them any questions and queries that you might have, hopefully erasing any concerns that you have with regards to photography.
Step 5: If All is Well, Book Them!
Take some time to reflect on everything. Ask yourself if you feel confident in their ability and if you can rest assured that if you book them, they’ll deliver great images. Don’t book them if you’re not sure, you can always find someone else. But if all seems great and you’re sure that they’re the right person to provide the service for you then ask if you can book them!
Until next time.