A Helpful guide for choosing your Wedding Photographer from TRUE Wedding Professionals who have been Photographing Weddings for 15 years!
Other sources of information have come from Photographers who have only been Photographing Weddings for a short time (maybe a year or two). This information may not be truly informative, so it is good to really understand the credibility of the source in which you are getting this information.
Have they been in the business for a long time? If they are giving advice on a subject matter, is it something they do day in and day out?
With photographing almost 900 weddings over 15 years, we wanted to provide an unbiased guide on choosing a Wedding Photographer for your special day!
Many Wedding Professionals will not agree with this thought process being the first thing to consider. We understand that your budget will dictate how much or how little you can spend on a Wedding Photographer. We will say this. You will NOT always get what you pay for. Looking and basing your opinion on Price alone is not the best decision maker. Some Photographers will charge a few hundred dollars; others will charge a few thousand dollars. In reality, these Photographers could have photographed the same amount of Weddings. Simply put, an expensive photographer can do just as poorly as a cheap photographer.
Knowing that your photography is the only thing you have left of your precious memories, do figure on a healthy part of your budget being set aside for your Photographer(s). We will be honest; we have seen clients walk away from us due to price (and we are as affordable as you can get). In the end, they have regretted choosing a low end Craig’s list Photographer because their Wedding Photography was ruined.
We have provided a great list of Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer about his/her experience in being a “Wedding Photographer”. Photographing kids or families in a park does not qualify a person to be a Wedding Photographer. It takes years and years of experience, the right equipment, and the knowledge of Weddings to be a great Wedding Photographer:
1. How many years have you been a Wedding Photographer?
2. How many Weddings have your Photographed?
3. If you have a team, or second shooters, what is their experience level?
4. Do you have referrals or a review site (Such as Wedding Wire) that will provide positive customer feedback to confirm these answers?
5. Have you photographed in my venue or one similar?
6. What do you get and how long will it take?
The key is to find out, not how long they have been a photographer, but how long they have been a Wedding Photographer. It’s a very important distinction. Most great Wedding Photographers apprenticed with a well-known Wedding Photographer, and developed their craft before becoming a professional themselves.
See their Work
Make sure the Photographer you choose can show you an abundant amount of work. Make sure they not only show a gorgeous; luscious well-lit field, with an incredible bride and groom, but also show the low lit situations. These items are important for you to consider:
Low Light Environments:
Can he/she shoot well in a low light environment? Do they use extra flashes when available? If the church or venue prohibits flash, do they have the proper equipment to handle this? Can they show the work? Natural Light is a wonderful medium, but it cannot be your only source of light. A great Wedding Photographer has mastered both.
Some Photographers will label themselves “photo journalistic” photographers for various reasons. Photo journalistic Photographers are able to capture moments that are not posed, BUT they should also have the ability to properly pose a couple/group when they are photographing formal photography.
Full Day Shots:
Make sure your Photographer can show you Photographs, not just of the posed perfect moments, but also the events throughout the wedding day (ceremony, cake cutting, first dances, etc).
Make sure when looking through a Photographers work, that they can show consistency with each wedding, in both proper exposure as well as, not MISSING any key moments.
Find out how long it will take them to do formal Photography before the wedding or between the ceremony and reception. A Photographer should NEVER make you late for your reception. An hour between ceremony and reception is standard for a professional photographer to take care of Family, Bridal Party and Formal Photography with the newly married couple.
Make sure your Photographer not only has Business Insurance in case of accidents, but also can take care of you on your big day if they get hurt or have an emergency come up. Some companies with teams of photographers can provide a greater amount of insurance to make sure you will still get amazing Photography even if something happens with the initial photographer.
Understand what you get
It is very important to understand clearly what you will get in the end. We have heard a hundred times from clients that come to us, that a photographer they were speaking with was not up front with what they were paying for or when they would get the final images. Find out what you are getting and what is extra.
1. Are all of the images edited?
2. Will I get prints or a disk? If not, what is the cost?
3. How long will it take to see ALL of my wedding images?
4. How long until my final product is delivered?
5. Will you archive my images?
Some people will like a particular style about a Photographer, whether it’s heavily edited images, how they pose or how they light a subject, etc. Make sure the style you like today will be the style you will like in 10, 20, 30 years.
Make sure you understand how your photographer will handle the day. Will they be relaxed, as well as keep you relaxed all day? Are they funny and enjoyable to be around? Weddings are fun and amazing days, and the Photographer’s personality should reflect that. Your Photographer should be fun and relaxing, but also step in and take charge to make sure your day is as perfect as possible.
Make sure you are signing a legitimate contract with your Photographer. This should be a document that is more than one page. It should talk about cancellation policies, back up plans if something happens to your photographers, payments, etc.
We truly hope this guide will provide you with a clear understanding of what to look for in a Wedding Photographer! Happy Wedding Planning!!!