Based on my experience in the wedding industry, I will discuss how to narrow down choices for hiring a wedding photographer in an order that makes sense. This list takes into consideration that you have found a few potential wedding photographers by, doing some searching online, finding photos online that peak your interest or have a referral or two from friend’s weddings. How do you choose? You need to set up meetings with potential photographers. Here are the next steps to help you find the right photographer to meet with and possibly hire to capture your cherished day.
- Are they available for my day? Should absolutely be your first question before you meet. If they are not available, don’t waste your time. Before you ask, what are your packages and pricing?, you should be telling them your wedding day. Does pricing matter if they are not available? The first question a photographer will ask is, “what is your wedding date?” So, why not speed up the process by telling them your date first when making inquiries. Why meet and fall in love with a photographers work and them not even be available?
- Are they within my budget? Don’t meet with any photographer unless you have a general idea of their pricing. Some photographers list their prices online. Be mindful about hidden costs. On their websites, some photographers say, “Starting at $xxxx. This at least lets you know if they are within your budget for their beginning cost. If that number is higher than you have budgeted for photography, eliminate them from your list.
- Do you have more examples of your work? The only acceptable answer to that question is, “Yes!” If not, why would you even consider them? They should indicate you will see more portfolio work and album examples at the meeting. If that’s not the case, they are not really a professional. Don’t worry about them sending you a link to some online album. You should want to see their examples in person.
- What is the photographer’s creative style? As you search google for a wedding photographer, you’ll hear terms like photojournalistic, classic, fine art and…a new one, epic. What’s the difference? Why should you want to know? Photojournalistic…candid, documentary, natural light. This style is not geared towards making an album. This means there are no real posed photos and you get photos showing what happened, as it happened, regardless of background or surroundings. Classic….posed, formal, modern, traditional. This is what you grew up looking at and probably what your parents had. This is what Mom generally sees when envisioning your wedding. This style lends itself well to having albums made from your photos. Fine art…artistic, creative, natural light. This is a very new category that really never existed before digital photography took over. This make this very hard to define but, when you see it, you’ll know! In addition to working well for amazing wedding albums, it is perfect for creating wall art for your home. Epic…artistic, editorial, modern, dramatic. I’m sure you have an idea already what this is. Epic wedding photos are very technically perfect and offer astonishing images completely perfect for large prints hanging on your walls. This tends to be very set up and specific. Locations that have incredible architecture or landscapes, are perfect for epic wedding photos. These photos often take time to set up and need to be staged. Expect that will need enough time built into your day for this.Sometimes, you’ll run into photographer like myself that uses a Hybrid Style. I know another term… no worries. This just means they use a blend of styles to tell your story. I find myself using all the styles regularly for every wedding.
- Full time or weekend warrior? Now this is a slippery slope. Most of us photographers start out as a weekend wedding photographer. However, when I did I was not charging what I do today. Weekenders are building their craft and portfolios. There is nothing wrong with that. You have to decide if you want to trust your wedding to someone who has honed their craft enough to be a full time wedding photographer or someone who’s trying to get there. There’s usually a drastic difference in price and what’s offered from a professional or a part-timer. Professionals use professional cameras, tend to offer beautiful albums & professional prints and, bundled wedding packages. In most cases, the weekend warriors use consumer level cameras and offer your photos on a disc with basic edits looking like IPhone photos.
Having the answers to these questions will help you decide who to even meet with. Stay tuned for the next post. I will help you ask the right questions at the meeting.