How to choose a wedding photographer can be a daunting task. You have hundreds of wedding plans to make. Deciding who will bring your memories to life is one of your most important decisions to make. When the flurry and excitement of your wedding day is over, it is beautifully captured images that help you revisit the romance, emotion and spirit of an event that passes so quickly. So, how do you choose the best wedding photographer for you?
How to choose a wedding photographer
Choosing a photographer is like choosing a mobile phone plan. Nobody offers the same service or inclusions and so comparing them on price are almost impossible. So where do you start to tackle this problem?
Use the following step by step process, to assist you in finding the best wedding photographer that fits your budget, level of service and product delivery for wedding day.
A wedding is an expensive event and one that you will have to make comprises. Where you compromise should align with how important the service or product is to you and your partner.
Questions to ask yourself prior looking at photographers websites:
– How important is photography to me on my wedding day?
Am I just ticking a box on a list of things to book or is this really important to me (consider that it will be one of the very few things that will remain with you after the wedding). This is the most important question of all as it will ultimately determine weather you are flexible on cutting back on other expenses to get the wedding photographer that you want.
– What budget have I allocated towards photography, is it realistic, and how flexible is my budget?
Wedding photographers in Sydney can charge anywhere from $200 to $20,000 (and sometimes more)! Professional wedding photographers will usually start at $2000+ for a basic package.
– Am I prepared to pay more than originally budgeted for a photographer that I really want?
This comes back to how important your wedding photos are compared to all the other costs on your wedding day. Some people will choose to spend more on their DJ, others more on an upgraded drinks package, and for some their wedding photos will be the most important priority to them.
– How long do I want my photographer to be around on my wedding day?
Is it all day, is only up to the reception, or even a shorter time frame.
– Are my partner and I comfortable having our photos taken?
If not, you might really want to consider an engagement shoot. If done early in your engagement, you might be able to use this as a trial to see if your photographer is a good fit personality wise and that the images they produce for you are what you expect and then choose them to shot your wedding.
– What sort of finished products do I want after the wedding from my photographer?
Do you even know what is available? Don’t worry, most people haven’t even considered what is the final finished product that they want from their wedding photographer. This is your opportunity to get a lasting memory of your wedding day and should not be made rashly. Wedding albums and wall art (canvas, framed prints, acrylics, etc) are the most common forms of finished products aside from the digital images themselves
– Have I been given a recommendation from someone I trust? Have I seen their wedding day photos and do I like that sort of style of wedding photography?
If the answer is yes, put them on the list of photographers to interview.
CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE WORK YOU LOVE
All photographers have their own unique style. A photographer’s style includes how they capture the scene in front of them and what style of editing they use. It is better to find a photographer that creates the style of image that appeals to you than asking a photographer to finish their photos with a different editing style.
Spend time choosing a photographer with a style of photography you like. What style of shots are you looking for on your wedding day? Do you only want candid photos? Or perhaps something a little more formal? I find that most brides want a combination of both posed and candid shots, to get a good mix of photos without spending all day smiling at a camera.
Then you need to look at the way the photos are finished or edited are capture.
Do you like more light washed out photos (currently popular) or more bold and vivid colours. What about black and white images or sepia toned images? This constitutes the way a photographer finishes your images. This is one of the most important things to look at when assessing a photographers work. Each photographer has a unique editing style that they will use. If you don’t like their style, find a photographers whose style you like rather than asking a photographer to finish their photos with a different editing style.
Here are three types of different styles of wedding photography post-production (editing or Photoshop):
1. Dark and Moody
2. Classic, light and bright
All images courtesy of Shutterstock.
These are 3 broad styles of photo editing and there are hundreds of variations. Spend time looking at photographer’s websites and other social media like Pinterest, to see what style you prefer. That way you can find a photographer that matches the style of photography that you prefer.
VIEW IMAGES FROM AN ENTIRE WEDDING
You need to be confident that the photographer can cover your whole day’s worth of memories with great photographs. If the photographer has not displayed any wedding ceremony or reception style images on their website, you may need to ask if can take great photos indoors (where there is low light) or use a flash? Beware of any photographer that says they only shoot natural light; this is usually because they don’t know how to use flash properly.
Ask to see all the images from a single wedding as well as a couple of wedding albums. That way you will see if the photographer can produce consistently good work throughout the wedding day.
CHOOSE SOMEONE THAT YOU CONNECT WITH
Check out their bio page. Do they sound like someone you would like to spend time with? Does their website have a professional feel to it? Keep in mind they will be will you and your closest friends and family for most of your wedding day. Once you have narrowed down your selection of photographers; book a meeting with the top 2-3 wedding photographers. How comfortable did you feel around each of the photographers? Ask any questions that you have and you will quickly determine with whom you are most comfortable spending time.
“Our wedding was an amazing and beautiful day and Samantha and her team made such a huge contribution to making it a day we will cherish forever. We had spoken to many photographers who were aloof and arrogant. After our first conversation with Samantha, we knew she was the one to hire. From the beginning, Samantha made it so easy. She was friendly, engaging and professional. We valued her thorough, detailed and time conscious approach as well as her desire to understand our requirements and what we wanted captured on the day.
Working with Samantha and her team on the day was entertaining and so much fun. We all felt comfortable and relaxed. So many of our guests commented on how awesome they were. The effort made to make sure our special moments, and the emotion of the day, were captured was incredible.
Our album is a stunning masterpiece and we are so appreciative of the effort that was put in to create it. We were blown away when we received it.
Thank you Samantha for being there on our wedding day and capturing the most beautiful images that will forever remind us of the best day of our lives.”
– Samantha and Adrian
Most brides and grooms desire candid and natural moments from their wedding. These moments are more likely to occur when a photographer has established a good relationship with the bridal couple.
Having a wedding photographer that is easy going, organised and professional will allow the wedding party and their family to relax. Once this occurs we get images like those below.
CHOOSE A SEASONED PROFESSIONAL
There are no second chances on your wedding day. You need someone that can get it right, each and every time. Someone that has the experience, and can handle the pressure that is present on a wedding day. A professional wedding photographer will know the sequence of events and understand the technical requirements to get the images that you want. A professional can anticipate events so that they can capture candid images as they occur.
CAN I AFFORD THE PHOTOGRAPHER THAT I WANT?
Is the photographer I want within my budget? If not, can I stretch my budget to hire them? Weddings are full of compromises, where you save or stretch the budget will depend of which items are the most important.
How to choose a wedding photographer is a challenge that can be undertaken with the advice provided. It is worth the effort to find the right person to cover your wedding day as there are no second chances to get it right.
If you have been able to narrow the list of potential wedding photographers you are ready to move onto the next step: What Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer BEFORE you hire them.
If you have already decided upon your wedding photographer, start with the blog series – How to get the best wedding photos – Part 1
Still want more tips for choosing the best wedding photographer – Loren Jackson shares her best advice in this blog post.