Have you been asking yourself, 'How should I choose the right photographer for my wedding?' This article will help you to answer that question by looking at photographic style, experience, location, budget and personality fit. Read on and take the guesswork out of hiring a wedding photographer.
How should I choose the right photographer for my wedding?
The fact you're asking, 'How should I choose the right photographer for my wedding?' is a great sign. It proves to me that you appreciate the role of the wedding photographer and are willing to put in the effort to find a great match rather than grabbing the first half-decent wedding snapper you can find.
Your wedding photographs are likely to be the only tangible mementos of one of the most important moments of your life. Here are some factors to think about before making a hiring decision.
Have you chosen your wedding photography style? Is there a match?
Every wedding photographer has a default style of picture they like to take. You can get an idea of this from their online portfolios.
For example, if you are attracted to a rustic style, then prioritise wedding photographers with glowing portfolios that ooze warmth and character.
If you want your wedding photos to look like a slick celebrity fashion photoshoot, photographers who shoot in the modern style might be a better fit than a traditional wedding photographer.
Some couples really adore black and white wedding photography. If that sounds like you, make sure there are some examples of this style in their online selection.
By focusing on wedding photographers with experience and skill in your chosen style, you will more quickly gravitate towards 'the one.' For example, if you want dozens of formal group photos then my wedding portfolio should convince you to rule me out. But if you are more interested in candid photos that capture the story of your wedding day - with all its emotion, drama and detail - then I should probably make your shortlist!
How experienced are they? Can you get recommendations?
Your wedding day is not the occasion for a novice wedding photographer, no matter how talented they might be, or how experienced in other types of photography.
A photographer with an impressive portfolio of landscapes or fashion portraits might have amazing technical ability behind the lens, but they will still need to climb a steep learning curve before they can become competent wedding photographers.
I have been photographing weddings and couples for over ten years, and I understand exactly how to get the best results. This involves many subtle skills such as knowing when to take control of a situation and when to blend into the background.
Experienced photographers will be able to provide you with recommendations on request, and their longevity in the trade is some proof of their dedication. Having said that, be wary of experienced photographers who might try to outsource your special day to 'an amazing colleague.' Make sure the person you hire is the same person who will show up at your wedding.
Is your wedding photographer local?
While I wouldn't go as far as to rule out a wedding photographer from outside of your area, there are a few reasons why hiring local makes sense.
First, budget. Wedding photographers have to price travel time into their rates, and many will charge extra if travelling outside of their local patch. For example, I include up to two hours of travel (from Exeter) in my wedding packages. Although I mainly take wedding photographs across the south west (including Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset), I am happy to quote for weddings outside of this area.
Second, a local wedding photographer is likely to be familiar with your wedding venue and may even be on friendly terms with the registrar or vicar! This can help with everything from finding amazing backgrounds to negotiating access to restricted areas!
A local photographer is also going to have a shorter distance to travel and have more knowledge of the local roads and traffic conditions. The last thing you need on a stressful wedding day is for your photographer to get waylaid and show up late.
What is your wedding photography budget?
I have deliberately left budget next to last because value for money is more important than cost - and you can't put a value on your wedding photographs until you've thought about everything I've written about to this point.
By approaching things in this order, you will have already ruled out several wedding photographers and be left with a shortlist of candidates most likely to deliver the quality you demand.
Some may be completely out of your budget - in which case you can strike them off the list too. I would recommend reaching out to the remaining wedding photographers, even those who are stretching your wedding budget, so that you can get specific details about their work, find out about their availability and answer one last - very important - question... .
Will you enjoy working with your wedding photographer?
Don't underestimate the importance of having rapport with your chosen photographer. Wedding photographers come from a wide range of backgrounds and each will have their own personality and way of working.
Now that you have whittled your candidates down to the last few, I recommend you read their biographies, check out their social media profiles and ask them plenty of questions. Only secure your booking if you are sure that you and your photographer will get along.
Make sure that your package includes an initial consultation and venue visit because this will help you to get to know them and give you the chance to ask more in-depth questions. I offer couples a pre-wedding shoot which is a great way to get used to the way I work and assure you that you will be in good hands.
I hope this article has gone a long way towards answering the question, 'How should I choose the right photographer for my wedding?' If you still have questions, please contact me.
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