Your big day is on the horizon and everything’s got to be perfect. You’ve been planning for months and the venue is booked, the dress has been ordered, the invitations have been sent…and now it’s time to find a wedding photographer. Unless that was one of the first things you looked for – we don’t judge.
But not any wedding photographer will do. After all, this is the person you must trust to capture memories of your special day that will last a lifetime.
Picking a wedding photographer can be tricky and there are certain things you will need to look out for to make sure you make the right choice. This article will review the things you need to look for in a wedding photographer to make sure you choose the one that is right for you.
Every wedding has a style. Ultra-formal, super modern, fairy tale vintage, rustic country….and the list goes on. The photos your photographer takes should match that vision. Therefore, you want to find someone who has experience with the look you are going for. Most photographers will have a portfolio with samples of their work available. Browse through to find out if they are able to recreate the style you want for your wedding.
It goes without saying that you will want a photographer that’s not going to break the bank. However a photographer is usually one of the most important investments you’ll make for your wedding day – the photos will last you longer than any flowers, cake or songs played. The photos will create your memories for generations to come.
It’s a good idea to budget your wedding before hiring any vendors or buying any supplies. That way, you have an idea of what you want to spend on food, venues, invitations and more. Get an idea of what wedding photographers charge so you can decide how much you want to set aside for these services. Go from there to find someone that fits your budget. Remember it’s an investment for a lifetime!
It’s important to hire a photographer you get along with and who shares your vision.
Remember, your photographer will also be your wedding guest and he or she may be following you around closely during the wedding. Therefore, you want to make sure they are someone you feel comfortable with. As photographers, we’re often there to help you hold your flowers, fix your veil, help tie ties, and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Also, you want a photographer you can see eye to eye with creatively. Then you can be sure they will give you the results you are looking for.
Customer Reviews and Referrals
There are many sites that offer online business reviews. Check into your photographer’s reviews to find out if they have been recommended by other customers. (You can see some of ours here: Google & The Knot)
Remember, both positive and negative reviews can be telling. For instance, if you are looking for a photographer to give your wedding a vintage look, and you see that a lot of people are recommending them for modern wedding looks, you may want to find someone else.
It goes without saying that reliability, affordability, and great photographs are all things you will want to be looking out for in a photographer. Reviews can be telling in these respects as well.
Find Out About Your Rights / Contracts
In most cases, photographers will own the rights to your wedding pictures. This means that he or she will be able to use them for promotional marketing. For some photographers (not us) this also means that you will not be able to print the pictures digitally without a watermark or without properly crediting them.
If this does not sound like an ideal situation to you, talk to the photographer to negotiate around this or find out how much it will cost you to buy the rights. Also, ALWAYS make sure you have a solid contract in place – it’s always great to review it early on so you can see and red-flags before you get ready to sign it.
Find out About Post Production
The real excitement will begin when the couple sees the finished product, but how long will it take to get the finished product and what will this entail?
Most photographers will take a month or two to get your photos to you. This is because they are dealing with huge raw files that are easy to edit and touch up but also take a long time to upload and process. In addition to finding out when you’ll get your photos, you’ll also want to find out what you’ll be getting.
In other words, how many images will you get? Will they be high or low resolution? Does your photographer offer retouch? And what retouching options does he have available? Will you be able to select what photos you want to get retouched? Or will he provide you with retouched versions upfront?
These are all important questions that will help you determine if the photographer you are talking to is right for you.
Photography Skill Level
One of the most important things to look for in a photographer is a high skill level. After all, you want your photos to look great, right?
Looking over a photographer’s portfolio will help you assess their skill. But to the untrained eye, almost anything will look good. With that in mind, here are some details you will want to pay attention to.
The crispness of images: Images should not look blurry (it may be artistic in some but you don’t want 90% of your images to be blurry)
Composition: Pictures should look balanced
Good Lighting: Pictures should not be too dark or washed out
Content: Your photographer should be catching key photos like pictures of the dress, pictures of the ceremony, the first dance, and more.
Emotions: Photographers should be good at catching emotions. He should have precious shots of the couples looking at each other meaningfully and laughing together, the mother of the bride getting emotional, wedding guests having fun, and more. There shouldn’t be pictures anyone looking like a deer in the headlights or looking overly uncomfortable.
It’s a good idea to look at a few different wedding albums/galleries the photographer has on hand. That way you will be sure to see a range of what the photographer is capable of as opposed to the key shots he/her selected for theri portfolio.
Availability/Meet and greet/interview
It may go without saying that you will want a photographer that is available on your wedding day but don’t become committed to one without confirming in advance. Photographers often book up on a “First Come-First Serve basis” meaning their availability can change quickly. Ask if they have any other inquiries for your day already or not.
It’s also a good idea to interview photographers before deciding to hire them (in person or on the phone). A lot of them may talk the talk and put on a great first impression but when it comes to walking the walk, they fall a little flat. Therefore, you want someone who is not only available for your shoot on the day of your wedding but someone who is available for an interview beforehand.
If your wedding is coming up, you want it to be as special as it can be. The right photographer will provide you with memories of your day that you can look back on for years to come. Knowing what to look for in a photographer will help you make the right decision.
Hopefully, this article has given you valuable tips on finding someone that works for you – it’s a big desition so don’t rush it. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all! We’re here to help!