Your wedding date is set, you have secured your dream wedding venue and have your eyes on some awesome wedding gowns. Now the last big decision you have to make before you can take a well deserved rest is to choose your perfect wedding photographer.
Wedding photography is an important decision. It has often been said that years after the big day all you are really left with is happy memories and your wedding photos (and obviously your husband/wife 🙂 )
So with this in mind it is important that you choose your photographer wisely.
In a continuation of our Wedding Guide Series, I have provided below some expert tips that I have put together to help guide the uninitiated into the complex (but fun!) world of wedding photography.
One of the first considerations is obviously what you need to spend on wedding photography. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly applies for wedding photography. Typically the most experienced, artistic and most sort after photographers charge a premium for their services.
On the other side of the spectrum, there really are lots of very cheap photographers, often with limited experience and skills.
Before you do set your wedding photography budget I do recommend not skimping too much on the photography and the coverage. After all, the photos are one of the tangible and treasured things that you have after the wedding day is over.
Once you have a budget in mind, you need to consider what your ideal photography package includes. Be that smaller or full coverage hours, prints and albums.
If you are on a limited budget my suggestion would be to invest in at least basic coverage from a good photographer (rather than lots of coverage and albums from a less skilled photographer) You can then come back after the wedding and get the other things like albums and wall prints once your budget allows.
It probably goes without saying, but for you to even consider a photographer you have to love and have an affinity for their photographic style. Be that glamorous/ high fashion or the more candid and laid back approach. (or something in between)
The best way to tell if a photographer’s style is for you is to go through their portfolio. Not just the first 10 images on their website, but to dig a bit deeper through their work to ensure they are a good match for what you envisage for your day.
If the photographer has a blog, this can be a great tool for discovering their style by viewing entire weddings from start to finish.
3. Meet with your actual photographer
Your photographer is typically with you for much of the day, so it is important that you get along and hopefully enjoy their company. The best way to test this is to meet them face to face before you book. If that is not possible due to being from out of town then a skype session is a pretty good plan B.
When meeting with some bigger photography studios (who often have multiple photographers available to them) it is important that you ask to meet with the person who will be your actual photographer on the day. You don’t want to be surprised on the day of your wedding with a complete stranger.
4. Check their Experience level and Image consistency.
Often when perusing quickly through photographer’s websites they can all look great, most people that call themselves photographers have enough good images to make the front page of their website look impressive.
The important thing to do to get a better feeling of a photographer’s skill level is to drill down deeper beyond the first page of their site. Check their ‘About me’ section to see how long they have been photographing weddings. Look through whole weddings in their blog and when you do meet make sure you look through lot of complete wedding albums.
Experience counts for a lot in a once in a lifetime wedding day situation. You want to know that the wedding photographer you have chosen has the skills and experience to handle any situation that may come their way during a fast paced and important wedding day.
5. Recommendations and Word of Mouth
Usually you are not the first couple in your circle of friends to get married. A good idea is to use those recently wedded friends as a resource for finding great vendors.
These friends have first hand recent experience with wedding photographers you may be considering. Ask to see their full wedding gallery if possible to get a great idea of a photographer’s overall consistency and style. You can also get an idea from these friends of how particular photographers are to deal with on the wedding day.
6. Check Wedding timelines with them
Photographers are some of the best vendors to ask for advise on realistic wedding day timelines. Most professional wedding photographers have years of experience with good time management.
Consult with your wedding photographer on the best lighting times, timelines for family photos and location photos. Even before booking your photographer chat with them about the projected timelines of your ceremony. This can highlight any potential issues that they may see with your plans. This is especially true if your photographer has a particular style of photography that you love (ie soft and airy) but your wedding is an evening wedding..
7. Post Production
Good photography these days relies almost as much on good post production and editing as it does on the original image itself.
Even clean classic images that you see on many photographer’s sites have had some level of tweaking and post production to get them into their final ready to print state.
This post production, for the hundreds of images taken at a wedding, can take some time. It is important before you book your wedding photographer that you have an estimate of how long this process takes them.
As a guide, anywhere from 3-6 weeks can be considered the norm for post production work for a typical wedding day and gallery delivery for most wedding photographers.
8. Use your Engagement Shoot to get to know your wedding photographer
Many wedding photographers offer an engagement shoot either in their wedding packages or as an option. I definitely recommend taking advantage of these additional shoots.
One of the bonuses of these shoots (besides getting lovely casual photos of you and your partner) is that you get to know your photographer better. Which means on the actual wedding day you have more trust in them to deliver the images you want.
9. Get everything in writing
Even though wedding photography is an artistic endeavor, it is still important to come at it from an analytical point of view.
Make sure that your prospective wedding photographer has the correct liability insurances, backup gear and emergency procedures for if they are sick and unable to attend.
The most important thing is to ensure they are giving you a contract that details what you have purchased / hired them to deliver.
10. Book them in early!
I have seen it quite often, a prospective bride absolutely loves my work and is exactly what they want for their wedding… but I am booked.
You don’t want to be that bride who loses their perfect photographer just because they left it a touch too late.
Many of the most popular wedding photographers can book out quite early.. often even over a year out. So one final tip I can offer is to start the process of selecting your photographer as early as possible.
Many of my couples contact me as soon as they have a date set, which often is only days after selecting their wedding venue.
Contact Us If you would like more information about what amazing things Vellum Studios can do for your wedding!