Choosing your Wedding Photographer is an important decision, once the wedding is over these photos will hold all your memories and key moments. There are thousands of photographers in the USA, so how do you go about choosing a professional wedding photographer for your special day?
Here, at BN HArker Photography, is our suggestions:
First off is decide your style, you can browse our site and see hundreds of different wedding photos by different photographers, however it is important you find a photography style that matches what you want, a style that you want your photos to follow. Shortlist photographers that match your style, be it reportage, traditional or contemporary, quirky and creative.
Get a feel the types of photos you like and would want, do you just want to relax and let your photographer capture the as it unfolds, capturing the emotion of guests then a reportage candid style is for you. If you want some fun and quirky photos with you and your partner and something a little different, then look at more quirky photographers that have a distinct style.
They may have been taking photos for years, but have only recently started capturing weddings. Make sure they have a good few solid years of photographing weddings. Weddings are very different to fashion shoots or staged shots as they are dynamic, it is a live event, an experienced wedding photographer will know the flow of the day and know where to be at the right time to get those stunning shots.
If they have the experience then they should certainly have a lot of testimonials and great references. Ask to speak to previous clients, make sure they were happy with how it all went and are thrilled with the end result when they got their photos.
You may have found a photographer with the perfect style you are looking for, they have some great shots on their website, now you want to see some albums, whole weddings that are complete.
You are looking for consistency, you want to make sure the style you love flows through the whole album, you want to make sure they have a whole album of stunning shots, not just 1 or 2 that you may have seen on their website slideshow.
Wedding photography isn’t just about a few stunning photos, it is about a beautiful story you will treasure for life. Ensure the albums document and tell a story through stunning photos, ensure the quality is consistent throughout and each photo on its own is exceptional.
Have they shot at your venue? This certainly isn’t necessary, however it is an added bonus if they have, you can see wedding shots they have taken there, and they will know the best places and locations at the venue for some great shots.
Your venue may recommend and suggest photographers, do check them out but also don’t feel restricted, take a look at others and see if there are other photographers that suit you better and get in touch with them.
This relates a little to the next point about trust, but also confidence in the photographer. What is their back up plan if they are unwell, there is an emergency or they cannot make it? Ask the question, they should have a network of contacts they trust that may be able to fill in for them. Make sure they have a Plan B, just in case.
If they don’t, or don’t really give you much confidence that they do, then walk away and get in touch with another photographer.
When meeting the photographer, asking questions, going through their work, how do they come across? Do you feel at ease with them? Do they answer all your questions with confidence? Make sure you feel happy working with them, feel at ease, make sure you feel you can trust them to capture the biggest day of your life.
When chatting with them you want it to feel relaxed, like chatting to a friend or someone you have known for years. If you feel relaxed and at ease with them it will help for better and more natural photos, you will feel more relaxed around them when they are taking photos and are more likely to be up for more fun and creative photos, and ideas your photographer may have for great shots.
- Go with your Gut
Finally, go with your gut, love their work and if everything feels right, then go for it! Your Perfect Wedding Photographer? TICK! And done.
Advice from the Professionals
Here are some suggestions to consider when looking for and choosing a wedding photographer from professional photographers themselves
“Everyone has a budget, I understand that, but never cut back on your photographer. You may have a friend that can take a great photograph but can your friend really be that consistent all day, know the routine and what to expect. What happens when it rains, or if it’s really dark? Can they handle a whole group of people to get the formals? Maybe, maybe not, are you ready to take the risk with your wedding photographs?
It’s like buying a house, you look around and you find the style you like. Then you’ll maybe go and see 3 or 4 and one of those will just feel right. Go with you heart, if it feels right it usually is. Just check their portfolio and album samples to see how they deliver the whole package. Be clear with what you are asking for and be sure your photographer understands your requirements.”
“Don’t view wedding photography as a generic one size fits all affair; in much the same way as eating out calls into play decisions over personal taste, there’s great breadth and depth in the range of styles of photography on offer and you’re going to be eating from that same dish for a great many years to come. I also believe that if you like the way a particular photographer sees the world through his or her image making work, there’s a good chance that you’ll like having him or her around for much of one of the most important days of your life. There’s potential for a meeting of minds, one might say. Like the work, like the person, most likely the client-artist relationship will work out well.”
“Choose someone whose work you love. Your wedding photographs will be with you forever. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true – the photographs are the one thing left after your wedding. They will be there to remind you of one of the most important days in your life. I’d also recommend finding someone personable who is going to treat you well and put your interests first. As much as I love wedding photography I’m aware that it is their wedding, not my photo shoot.”
“Meet more than one. You should make sure you are really going to get on with your photographer on the day. Look at a printed portfolio. It’s very hard to judge the actual quality of images from just viewing websites. Ask to see a whole wedding. Anyone can capture a few good moments during a whole wedding day, but to have a consistent level of quality and skill displayed throughout 10-12 hours of work is the difficult part. There’re lots of checklists out there that you can use but I think the important thing is to find someone who you’re at ease with.”
“Don’t go for cheap and cheerful….the results may well be the poor results of false economy
Look to speak to the photographer, and see if he/she has passion in their work
DON’T book without seeing samples – but allow ‘start-ups’ the benefit of the doubt
Judge the confidence of the photographer – he/she will be in a position to help you through the day, make sure they have the bottle to do so. Look for end flexibility – i.e. – can you opt no album to start with, then choose one after”