So lets just put it out there right away…!
Wedding Photography is IMPORTANT!
Not only is this day one you have been taking the time to plan for months (sometimes years!), it is one that you want to be able to tell your children and your grandchildren about some day! When the venue is all cleaned up and all the guests have called it a night, when the honeymoon is over and your in the reality of married life…you have your memory and you have your photographs (and sometimes a video!).
I wanted to take a moment and give you some things every bride and groom need to think about as they are looking for a wedding photographer!
1. It is a good idea to choose your date and venue first…before you book the photographer.
Most wedding photographers are booked out at least 9 months to one year ahead of time. Make sure that once you have your date and venue you begin the process of finding your photographer as soon as you can! As a photographer, I sometimes get inquiries from brides that haven’t booked their venue yet (thus they don’t have a for sure wedding date yet) It is difficult for me to be able to share my availability for their date, if they aren’t 100% sure they have a venue picked out. The only way that this rule should be broken it if you LOVE your photographer SO much and are willing to book your date based on the dates that they have open!
2. Become familiar with the different styles of photography.
I tell my brides/grooms when I first meet with them that they really could hire 5 different photographers for their day and every single one of their finished galleries would look very different. All 5 would tell your love story with their own talent. So make sure that you like what you see on their blog and websites. The basic styles of wedding photography are Classic, Photojournalistic, Artistic, Dramatic (this usually makes more use of flashes), and Lifestyle. Decide on what you are drawn to and inquire with them!
3. Ask your trusted friends that have recently gotten married for referrals.
Who better to ask than those girlfriends that have just gotten hitched themselves? They have been through all of this and can either recommend their own photographer or someone they would NOT choose. Or if you have stood up in a friends wedding and the wedding photographer was great…find out who it was! If you just can’t come up with anyone, you can also ask your venue…but keep in mind that a venues “preferred list” could just be who has paid the most money to be on that list!
4. Have a general idea of your budget before you meet with any photographers.
The price range of wedding photographers can vary widely! You don’t want to waste anyones time by meeting with someone that is way over your budget point. If the price is too good to be true, it is most likely someone who is not a professional.
5. Make sure they are an experienced professional.
There will be a temptation to have that “family member that takes good pictures” photograph your wedding…don’t do it! The day can’t be repeated! Hiring someone who is experiences in documenting weddings will help you enjoy your day and make it all happen with as little stress as possible. Is this just a weekend job for them or will they devote their undivided attention to you? A lot of wedding venues are requiring photographers to have liability insurance and show proof of it before the wedding day. Does your photographer have insurance? Did they respond to your inquiry in a quick manner and not leave you waiting on a response? Do they have back up equipment just in case a technical issue would arise? These are all signs of a true professional!
6. What is included in their packages?
How many hours are you going to need for wedding day coverage? Do you want two photographers present for the day? You should also consider whether you ware going to want an album. Album quality varied greatly as well and you want to make sure that you are getting a quality album that will last the test of time ! How are the final images delivered to you? These are things you want to consider when choosing your photographer.
7. There needs to be a real connection.
This one is REALLY important. In fact, I left it for the last thing because it is SO important! There is no one that will be with the bride and groom on the wedding day more than the wedding photographer(s). You want to have a connection with them! This person could be great and have every pose perfect but if they are negative and no one likes being around them…it will show in your images. Are you a good fit? Would you want this person as a guest at your wedding? If not, they probably won’t be the best choice. You want to be able to trust them and have confidence that you will enjoy your day and not worry about anything on the big day!