Happy Wedding Wednesday! Having been through the wedding planning process ourselves and attending so many as the photographer, we have so many lessons learned when it comes to wedding planning.
The biggest lesson learned from our wedding and the first we wanted to share with everyone is 6 Tips on Choosing Your Wedding Photographer. We got married in 2008 when digital photography was still somewhat in its infancy. When choosing a photographer, we knew enough about photography that we knew we did not want one that was still following old trends and would provide us clean, timeless photos. We did some research through wedding boards we were a part of and followed word of mouth referrals to who we wound up choosing. Now that we are more knowledgable 10 years later, we look back at our photos and they break our heart. Granted, we now have the eye for photography that not all couples will have years after their wedding but there are same basic things that even an untrained professional should look out for.
1. Understand the Business– There are so many wedding photography companies that are actually studios with numerous photographers on their payroll. Our wedding photography company was one of those. We came into the studio one day and chose the specific photographer we wanted to work with by skimming through photos and albums. We had to rely on an office manager to tell us about the photographer and their shooting style rather than speaking with them directly. We did not meet our photographers until the day of the wedding.
We are a smaller husband and wife team and could not imagine not spending the time with our clients before hand to get to know each other! We believe in connecting with our clients all the way from the booking phase to image delivery. That connection provides the best client service.
Wedvice: Whether you choose a husband/wife team, a solo shooter or a studio- make sure you you take the time to learn the business and that expectations are outlined from the start. If you are comfortable with working with a larger studio for budget reasons, that’s fine! If you want a more personalized relationship with a photographer, seek out a smaller boutique business.
2. Photographer has a clear Passion for Product- We finally ordered our wedding album recently but only after having to re-edit our photos. Going through the image files we saw that there was zero post processing done to our images. So many images were blurred, underexposed, overexposed, etc. that we could not believe we paid for this product. We suddenly remembered our engagement session. Immediately after the session, the photographer took us back to the studio, immediately uploaded the images to a disc and handed them over. Straight from the camera! Looking back at it now, we should have asked questions and made sure those images were retouched. That experience made us realize they don’t have passion for the work they do and the product they deliver. For us, we make sure all of the images we hand over have been color-corrected and edited to fit our style. The saddest thing about our wedding photographers is that they still deliver the SAME product 7 years later. There has been no growth!
Wedvice: This one is tricky as not everyone has the eye for photography. Simply ask your photographer about their editing process and never accept any images straight from the camera!
3. Make sure they are Consistent- Wedding photographers put their best images in their portfolio and on Instagram. Naturally, we want to display our best work. There are two problems with this 1) Some of these images may be old 2) These images only reflect a small part of the wedding day.
Wedvice: Look for the photographer’s blog. We typically display a wedding story from prep to reception through our blogs so you can see that we remain consistent throughout the wedding day. Skim through the blog to make sure their work remains consistent as time goes on and that they are not displaying images from 2-3 years ago. If the photographer does not have a blog, simply ask them to view a full wedding gallery. Those who have nothing to hide would be glad to share!
4. Try to Feel Something- A big part of our style is capturing the moments. As one of the biggest days of your life, we’d rather have our clients look back at the moments that made them laugh and cry then dozens of portraits of themselves. We want to evoke the emotion of the day so that the viewer can feel something.
Wedvice: Determine what your favorite style of photography is, look at the photographers work and make sure that you FEEL something while looking at their photos. Whether it is our style or someone else’s, if you can connect with even a stranger’s wedding images, you may have found the one!
5. Read reviews and even more reviews! Whether it be in choosing a restaurant or a movie to watch, we all rely on reviews before making these smaller purchases. We need to apply this same process when investing in significant purchases for our wedding day. The more you read about other’s experiences with a photographer it can help you not only gauge the kind of work they do but how they treat their clients.
Wedvice: Google search! It definitely helps to stalk the photographer’s online presence and see what consumers are saying about them. The more good you read about them, the higher chance you will have a great experience. But also on the other hand, just because they may not have a strong online presence or have a lack of reviews, that does not mean they are not good at what they do. If you are still attracted to their work, take the time to chat with them!
6. Connect with them- Photographers are Friends Too! Yes, you will be creating a business relationship with your wedding vendors…but that does not mean you can’t have a friendship with them. We usually have a 1 year plus relationship with our clients so the more cordial and friendly the relationship, the better! They are allowing us into the biggest day of their life and that is an honor! We’d rather be remembered as someone they like and trust than just another “vendor”.
Wedvice: Meet and chat with your potential wedding photographer. See if you are able to connect with them on a level further than someone you will be investing in. They will be spending a full day with you and your family so you have to like them and TRUST them.