6 Tips from a Wedding Photographer and Former Bride
How to choose a wedding photographer – the ultimate question newly engaged couples oftentimes find themselves facing. The good news is that choosing a wedding photographer is actually way more simple than society sometimes leads us to believe.
Yes, whoever you choose as your wedding photographer will undoubtably and singlehandedly be responsible for preserving some of the most significant moments of your life. Due to this, I’m not saying you should be choosing a wedding photographer lightly. What I am saying is this: there is a lot more to the job than simply pressing a button and below you will find all of the information you need to consider on how to choose a wedding photographer that’s right for you and your day.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 1:
Consider your Budget
First and foremost, consider your wedding budget and the specific needs you’re looking to hire for, such as if you are having a large wedding versus a small one. Also consider what the lighting situation will be like, as the type of gear your photographer has will greatly impact the quality of images you get back. Some budget friendly photographers may not have the ideal gear your wedding day requires depending on the lighting scenario. It’s also a good idea to be mulling over the thought of having more than one photographer present and if your photographer offers Second Shooter options in their packages.
In locations such as Colorado, wedding photographers can definitely cost more. If you are unsure of how much of your budget you want to allot to photography, consider interviewing a few photographers to get an idea of what your ideal style, experience, and then budget for your photographer will be.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 2:
Equipment, Gear, and Backup Methods
While you may not know the specifics surrounding the different types of photography gear used, this is my cheat sheet provided to you on what you should ideally be looking for when you’re interviewing photographers for your wedding.
1. How many cameras and lenses do they have?
It’s ideal to find a photographer that has two camera bodies and at least two lenses. Camera gear can be unreliable and you want to make sure your photographer has a backup available in case anything were to happen to any of their gear. It’s also a bonus if the camera bodies they have can save to two memory cards at the same time. Sometimes, memory cards corrupt and lose images. This means without two memory cards in place, a portion to the entirety of your wedding day memories will no longer be accessible to your photographer- and therefore you.
Please note: Having backup equipment and cameras with two memory card slots is expensive (think upwards of five grand), therefore photographers that do check off these boxes may be pricier. The tradeoff is security in knowing that all of your wedding day memories are better protected from faulty gear.
2. How comfortable are they shooting flash?
When you think of a wedding reception, you’re probably envisioning this event happening in the evening. Therefore, it’s important that your photographer is proficient in utilizing flash. It’s also ideal for your photographer to have a backup flash for the same reasons you’d want them to have multiple cameras and lenses.
3. What is their process to backing up photos?
When you ask this question, the biggest thing you are going to want to listen for is making sure that your photographer is backing up your photos to at least two different locations. In my case, I back up images to external hard drives and a cloud drive. Any photographer who’s been in the business and takes their client’s photos seriously will have a process in place that they’d be more than happy to share with you.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 3:
A good thing to keep in mind when talking to photographers is feeling out how well your personalities mesh. You are going to spend a lot of time with your photographer on your wedding day- more than any other vendor and possibly more than your fiancé. You’ll want to make sure whoever you hire is someone you are able to see by your side and nearby throughout the day.
Due to this, remember that your photographer is deciding if they want to work with you, also. It’s important to be yourself when having conversations and interviewing photographers to see how you both get along.
I always like to compare hiring a photographer to hiring an employee. In this scenario, you are the hiring manager and the photographer is the interviewing candidate. View it this way- just because you have an opportunity that you are hiring for doesn’t necessarily mean all interviewing candidates are going to want it. If you don’t present yourself well, you’ll have a harder time filling your role (just like if an interviewing candidate presents themselves poorly, you won’t want to give them the job). Hiring a photographer is as much of a two way street as any other hiring decision.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 4:
This is a big one. While there is a small percentage of photographers that offer different editing styles for couples to choose from, most photographers know their craft and the avenue of editing that aligns with their style. If you are wanting a more dark and moody look to your images, the likelihood of a photographer who specializes in light and airy accommodating this is slim. Look at different photographer’s websites and portfolios to see what you like. This will be the best indicator of what your images will be like once they are delivered back to you.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 5:
Posed vs. Candid Moments
Each couple is unique, therefore the comfort level some couples have for posed photos won’t be the same as others. Personally, my husband and I tend to laugh a lot during our sessions and move around a lot. Therefore, we rely on our photographer to capture more of our candid moments over heavily posed ones. If you know your preference on posed and candid photos, ask your photographer what their style leans towards. If you’re not sure what style you’re more comfortable with, ask your photographer if they are are able to capture both. This way, your photographer can decipher if you and your partner are gravitating more naturally towards a certain style and cater their prompts to best capture your individual relationship.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer Tip 6:
Privacy of Your Completed Wedding Gallery
Many wedding photographers including myself will occasionally get the request from inquiring couples to view other peoples’ full wedding galleries before committing to booking. While there technically is no right or wrong answer to this, there are differing answers you’ll receive depending on the photographer and their business practices.
If you are someone who does not want the entirety of your wedding gallery to be shared with inquiring strangers in the future, be sure you know your photographer’s stance on this before booking them. Some photographer’s don’t mind sharing entire gallery links with inquiring couples who ask, while others prefer to share only highlights because they believe the couple that paid for the gallery should ultimately have the final say on who does or doesn’t get to view the entirety of their wedding day.