What to look for when you’re searching for a Wedding Photographer
Why does it matter?
If you’re reading this, you probably just got engaged recently, or are helping someone plan a wedding. If so, congratulations!! Not only is this one of the most exciting times of your lives, but it can also be one of the most complicated and stressful. However, there are only a few things you get to keep at the end of it all. Your spouse (most importantly), your ring, and your photos. You will look back on your photos for years, with the ability to relive all those moments that were so fun and exciting, and also the ones you forget about. The ones you aren’t always there to witness. I possess the ability to help you travel back to those once-in-a-lifetime moments. (And if this is not your first rodeo, no worries, it should be treated no differently.)
Bear with me, this might be a little lengthy, but I promise the amount of experience a photographer has or does not have will make or break your day. I’ve seen it so many times over and over and over again, where Brides will post in a public forum of their dissatisfaction because they hired someone “just starting out”, or someone offered to do it for free. And then only to discover the true value in the investment of your photographer for your wedding day. By then, it’s too late. Now, I will say that of course we have all been there, in the early days of our careers. However, I spent an entire year second shooting or assisting another experienced photographer, and learning. I put in my time to learn the ropes. You need a wedding photographer who knows how to handle the day like a boss, and can literally juggle whatever is thrown at them. Please be 100% sure that you trust their judgement and their abilities to photograph those memories you never want to forget. Here are a few key things to watch for or to ask your photographer about.
If your photographer does not have a contract, run. The contract should protect all parties involved, and should cover things like; payments, rescheduling, weather, limit of liabilities and processing time/turnaround just to name a few. This way both the client and photographer are on the same page as far as expectations and what you should be receiving. This means that you are BOTH protected in the event of an emergency, or should something unforseen arise.
When checking out your photographer’s portfolio, check to see if they can handle different or hard lighting situations. Especially if your ceremony will take place outside or in a low lit space. If you don’t see different lighting situations don’t be afraid to ask for examples, or if they have shot that type of situation before. Some venues have a lot of ambient lighting, you want to be sure your photographer knows how to handle that. The photographer should have a solid portfolio, they need to show they have real wedding experience. Not just a portrait session experience. However, different seasons DO change how things look, as far as natural light and tones. But the overall quality will still remain the same.
*Just because they have a camera, doesn’t mean they are a wedding photographer*
The work shown should be consistent enough that you know exactly what you’re going to be receiving. I would steer clear of photographers whose galleries look very different from wedding to wedding. It will be clear to see if the work is consistent. A few things to look for would be coloring, exposure, and posing. Click here to see an example of a consistent portfolio.
You don’t want to be worrying about them on your day or making sure they are capturing certain shots or directing them around. Prepare a broken-down list of family photos to give to them for those formal portraits, and possibly someone to help wrangle the family. If you’re hiring a trusted photographer, giving them a detailed “Pinterest” list of shots is not the best idea. The only thing that does is hinder them from creating what’s truly happening during YOUR day. This is no different than going out to fancy dinner, and telling the chef how to prepare your meal. We know what we’re doin’… The in-between, “in the moment” shots are some of the most treasured.