When it comes to planning a wedding, choosing the perfect wedding photographer is a top priority for many couples and for good reason. Wedding photos are a family heirloom cherished forever and passed down through generations. The right photos will let you relive the memories from the happiest day of your life for many years.
Unlike most other wedding vendors though, it may seem that choosing a wedding photographer involves taking a leap of faith. After all, you don’t know what you will be getting until you receive the final product after the wedding. The following set of important tips will help you choose the right photographer to turn your vision for your wedding photos into reality.
1. Book Early
Choosing the wedding photographer should be on top of your to-do list as soon as you have chosen the wedding date. The best photographers are highly sought after and get booked far in advance so if you are having an “in-season” wedding it’s best to start your search early and book as soon as you find the right photographer.
The first thing to consider when searching photographers for your wedding is their photography style. Are you interested in traditional posed photos in a portrait setting? Or do you prefer a photographer with a more photo-journalistic approach who captures moments with a lot of candid images? Or perhaps you would like a fusion of both? Answering these questions and thinking about what you want out of your wedding photos will help you narrow down your search to photographers specializing in a certain style. Many wedding photographers also offer a combination of various styles. For example it’s possible to capture most of the day in a documentary style while taking a more artistic approach for the formal portraits. At Kandid Weddings, we focus on capturing the real story of your wedding day. We’re not there to turn your day into our photo shoot. At the same time, every picture we take has a purpose. It is a part of the story we are there to tell.
3. Look for Creativity
One of the mistakes many brides make is to fall for short-lived photography trends. While trendy photos may look nice at the time, they usually look tacky after a few short years. Instead of being swayed by Photoshop tricks and heavy-handed editing, look for creative and timeless images. That way you are guaranteed to still love your wedding photos after 20 years.
You will be spending the better part of the most important day in your life with your wedding photographer. Make sure you pick someone with a pleasing attitude whom you are comfortable having around. Remember, if you are uncomfortable, the photos will reflect that!
When you meet the candidate photographers ask to see photos from a few full weddings. Do these photos offer the same style as their portfolio? Do they have a similar wow factor? Can they deliver the same high quality consistently or do they vary significantly? These photos will be a good indication of what you can expect in terms of your own wedding photos.
6. What is Included?
Before singing the contract make sure you are clear on what is included in the services as it can vary significantly from one photographer to another. Many photographers for example retain the digital copy of the images and charge couples for prints while some photographers include the digital files as part of their package. A few questions to ask include:
- How many hours of coverage is included and what happens if the services are needed beyond the agreed schedule?
- Is there a limit on the number of images taken at the wedding or the ones delivered?
- Do all the images get edited/retouched before delivery?
- Does the package include the digital images? If not, how much do the prints cost and how many are included in the package?
- How long after the wedding will the images be delivered?
7. Second Shooter
With most weddings usually there is a lot going on for one person to be able to fully capture. Unless you are planning a very small wedding, your wedding photographer should have at a minimum an assistant or second shooter. Anything less and you will be missing important moments and angles. You will also want to make sure that the second shooter at your wedding has enough experience shooting weddings and has a similar style to your primary photographer. While second shooters can’t be expected to be on the same level as the main photographer, they should still know what they are doing and be good at it.
8. Meet ‘Your’ Photographer
With many larger studios, it is becoming common that the photographer who does the sales pitch during your meeting is not actually the one who will be shooting your wedding. Instead the studio may send you an associate photographer they have hired so that they can do multiple weddings on the same day. While this is not necessarily a deal breaker, you will want to make sure you know who will be at your wedding. Insist on meeting your actual photographer and make sure you like his/her work and personality.
9. Backup Plan
There are no second chances or do-overs with weddings. That’s why professional wedding photographers should have multiple layers of backup for all their equipment including cameras, lenses, flashes and lighting, batteries, and memory cards. Ask your photographer about the equipment they use. Do their cameras have dual memory card slots in case one memory card fails? Are their backup equipment at the same quality level as their primary gear? Remember, cameras are electronic devices. No matter how reliable they are, they can still fail at any time. The last thing you want is an amateur showing up at your wedding with a single camera and flash. A disaster waiting to happen! Also ask your photographer about their backup plan for photos after the wedding. Do they archive the photos after delivering the final product?
10. Don’t Skimp
Weddings can be expensive and every couple has a budget to work with. That said, with all the effort and money dedicated to the wedding, you owe it to yourself to invest in the best wedding photography you can afford instead of the cheapest option. After all is said and done, you will only have the photos to remember the day by and you don’t want to be left disappointed because your photographer failed to capture important moments. Remember, it’s not a bargain if you hate your photos! Professional wedding photographers are more expensive for a reason. They invest in the best equipment and put in a great deal of time and effort to create beautiful high-quality photos. This includes many hours of post-processing on the images to make them really shine. Cheap photographers on the other hand will just ‘shoot and burn’ giving you dull, unedited photos straight from the camera.