Your big day is coming up and you have all this planning to do. How do you choose your vendors? Well here’s a list of things to look for when it’s time to decide on a photographer.
1. Always ask to see a whole wedding from their portfolio. Photographers always post their best photos online, leaving you the impression that all of their pictures are fantastic. This is hardly ever the case. Make sure all of the photos in their weddings are in focus, and not too light or dark.
2. You might want to educate yourself on what makes a proper photograph. Most people don’t know a good photo when they see one. Simply google what makes a good photo, and look for these things in your photographer’s portfolio.
3. Many photographers get angry when I say this. Ask your photographer if they shoot in manual mode or auto. When a photographer shoots in auto mode it shows that he or she doesn’t understand how to control the camera to be the most creative. It’s very common for new photographers. How do I know? Well, (cringe) I did it for longer than I care to admit and I know other photographers who still do it. The following question will test them: “What are the three settings on a camera that effect how light or dark a picture will be?” “Shutter speed, ISO and fstop or aperture”, is the correct answer. You don’t have to know what that means but your photographer should. If not, politely move on and look for a more experienced photographer.
4. Ask your photographer for references. Don’t rely on written testimonials. Many of these are fake. When I posted my work on a wedding site for the first time, I didn’t have any reviews so the employee from the site suggested that I make some up to help me book weddings. I refused. So take reviews with a grain of salt.
5. Choose a photographer whose style is eclectic. If you choose a photographer whose style is trendy, 30 years from now your photos will look out of style. Be aware that styles such as “light and airy” look good now but may not look as well decades from now. But it’s ok to choose a trendy look if you really like it, as long as you are aware of this.
6. Remember, there are three things you come away with after the wedding, the rings, the dress, and the photos. Make sure you get a photographer with the most experience and best portfolio for the money. Try not to cut corners on the photography. But if you have a low budget, don’t be afraid to look on places such as Craigslist or Thumbtack. Photographers with a range of skills charge a full range of prices, so some good photographers may charge lower amounts, and bad photographers sometimes over charge.
7. Always get an album. Your photos on your phone or computer can be lost if your computer crashes or you lose your phone and even if you have them backed up, digital photos may become unreadable in the future as technology advances. But an album can be passed down for generations and will always stand the test of time as long as it’s well constructed with quality materials. Many albums also have a lifetime warranty and can be replaced for free if they are lost, stolen, or ruined by fire or flood.
8. Try to get a package that includes videography. A nice highlight video set to music is money well spent. You will always enjoy watching it and showing it to you children and family.
9. Also try to get a package with two photographers. One photographer can’t be everywhere at once and, for instance, one photographer can shoot the bride getting ready and one can shoot the guys getting ready.
10. Don’t hire your photographer sight unseen. Always have a meet and greet. This way you can get an idea of the photographer’s personality to see if it’s a good fit. A good photographer should be polite, tolerant and energetic. If you don’t get the warm fuzzies…..enough said.
11. Make sure the photographer doesn’t have a lot of onerous rules and policies in their contract. This is a red flag. A lot of photographers seem to think that their main job is to keep clients from taking advantage of them. This is super small-minded. The photographer needs to make a profit, but generally speaking, a good photographer is flexible and tolerant, always putting the needs of the client ahead of their own.
12. Ask your friends who are married which photographer they used and if they were happy with their photos. Interview this photographer. Look at your friend’s photographs and see if you like them. Ask questions about the personality of the photographer they chose. Ask about the photographer’s policies, and see how long it took to get their photos and album.
13. Agree on whether or not you are going to feed your photographer and their assistants. Most couples allow the photographer to eat with the guests. Some photographers agree to pay for their meal. But most of the time the photographer goes without eating for long periods during a wedding. It’s a nice gesture to let them know that they are welcome to grab a plate. The best time for the photographer to eat is when everyone else is eating. Pictures of people eating are not very flattering. This applies to all the vendors at your wedding. It can get quite expensive to feed everyone so be aware of how many vendors will need to be fed.
So there you have it. Follow these suggestions for finding a great photographer and have a wonderful wedding day!