Picking the best photographer is a major decision that a couple must make for their wedding. If you think about it, the wedding photographs (other than the rings and your spouse) are lasting memories of your special day. Great wedding photos (and videos) help you relive that moment and perceive the beautiful moments.
A good photographer will help you capture all the special moments of your wedding. Choose the wrong photographer and you may not even have any worthwhile photos of your special day.
Consider the following 6 things when picking a wedding photographer: wedding style/vision, skill, creativity, professionalism, personality, and your budget. Once you have picked your photographer, you can use your engagement shoot as a practice run to see how the s/he performs.
1. Your wedding style/vision
Every wedding has a unique style that fits the personality of the bride and the groom. Pick a photographer whose style matches your vision. For instance, if you prefer edgy photos, you would be best placed with a photographer who’s proficient in that style. Or if you are aiming for a whimsical, romantic feel you should look for a photographer whose portfolio matches that ideal.
Requesting a shoot in a particular style which is remarkably different from the photographer’s portfolio would cause both of you lots of unhappiness. This is because neither you nor the photographer will achieve the desired outcome.
Start by identifying your vision and then select 2-3 photographers whose photography styles match with yours.
Look for a photographer who is proficient and is well-recommended by peers. Evaluate proficiency by finding out how long the photographer has been in business, whether full-time or on weekends, and experience in wedding photography. Have a look at one or two full wedding galleries to have a comprehensive view of their skill and photography style.
Ensure that the person you speak to at the studio will be your actual photographer. You may find that the person you met with was the studio manager and that the photographer assigned to your wedding is an associate whom you’ve never met.
Each photographer has a unique way of telling a story with a camera. It is important to know how they tell their stories because it will influence how your wedding story is captured.
Photographers also have unique styles of shooting, compositing, and editing photos. Look for emotional connection and honesty with their work. Also, find out how they shoot their photographs. Do they give direction? Do they need lots of posing, or do they prefer candid imagery?
Before you book their services, ensure that you view each photographer’s portfolio to determine if their styles of shooting and editing match your vision for wedding photos.
A good photographer should be concerned about delivering quality wedding photos rather than selling a package. They should keep time and meet deadlines. Also, their appearance should increase your confidence in the quality of their work.
Check online reviews of your preferred photographers and ask your networks for any feedback they may have.
Once you have decided on the 2-3 photographers whose style you like, you need to schedule a meeting (physical or online) with them. Engage with them and note down:
- How you got on with the photographer
- How comfortable you felt
- Mutually aligned goals
Look for a photographer that is friendly and will bring fun and excitement to your wedding. This is because you will spend quite a lot of time with him/her on your wedding day.
Most couples set aside a budgeted amount for photography. The amount depends on the wedding budget and the cost of wedding photography services. Usually, photography costs about 10% to 15% of the wedding budget. The allocation could be more or less depending on the couple’s priority.
Photography costs vary by the level of photography experience, the duration of the service (evening or whole day), and any additional products. If the photographer offers products as part of the wedding package, ask for samples. Also, get clarity on:
- Format of the photos – via an online link or USB
- Number of edited photos
- Access to the e-gallery
- Number of print photos
- Limit on the film they use
Choosing a photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding. You must pick well because weddings cannot be redone, and the memories captured in the photos remain forever.
Before you book that wedding photographer, ensure that you have considered their skill, creativity, professionalism, personality, budget, and their alignment with your wedding style/vision. Once you agree on the way forward, write a contract that stipulates all the services, products, photo permissions, and timelines for their services.