On average, couples hire 14 vendors for their wedding day. That is a whole lot of planning and supplier management for one couple to stay on top of.
But unlike the work of your other wedding vendors such as music, flowers and wedding cake supplier, photography is a whole different ball game. It’s one of the products that come out of your wedding that live on for years and years.
People will hardly remember what dish was part of each course, and barring you and your significant other, will most likely not remember how good or bad the DJ was. But your photography, those are memories that you won’t be able to get back.
Are you looking to hire a photographer for your wedding? If so, check out this guide to learn how to find the best wedding photographer.
Step 1: Choose Your Style
So you’ve got that engagement ring on your finger, and everything you see, taste, touch, and smell bring ideas to your mind for your big day.
Before you can even start to search for wedding photographers, you need to get a good grip on the type of wedding photography you’d like, with so many different styles out there, try to get to grips with the wedding vibe you want.
Spend time online and go through image websites, save everything you like. Once you have a good library of images, analyze them, we guarantee you’ll have a distinctive style showing through that will give you guidance for what you want on your wedding day.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Now that you have a basic idea of the style of wedding photography you’d like, you’ve got a good starting point for your homework.
Begin your search by identifying the style of the photography you like, and then start putting that into your search terms. Look for local photographers that showcase similar styles in their portfolios.
Focus on reading reviews as well, look into what previous wedding couples have to say about the photographers you’ve found. A review is as good as word of mouth referrals, if you’re not finding much positive feedback online then that photographer shouldn’t be a part of your shortlist.
Step 3: It’s Time For Interviews
You now have a shortlist of potential photographers, you’ve jotted down their contact details and you’ve gone through their online portfolios at least 5 times in the past week.
Now you need to get in touch, your first call to action is to check their availability for your wedding date. If they’re available, then set up introductory meetings with them.
It’s good to go with three to five potential photographers who fit the requirements you’re looking for.
We encourage you to ask them to bring along albums of their previous work, and examples of the particular style you’re looking for.
Step 4: Ask For Full Wedding Albums
It’s not a good idea, however, to base your final decision on a photographer’s online gallery alone. A photographer will always put the best of the best in their portfolio only, so you want to see more than the 10 or so images that they highlight on their website. What if they only have 10 good images?
Do you see where we’re going with this?
Ask them to show you work from four or five other weddings, encourage them to bring the albums along with them so you can flip through them.
It’s important that you look at their style and usual venue setting as well if the photographer you’re meeting with usually only does garden weddings, but your wedding is set in a large, lush hotel then you need to be able to see proof that they can shoot indoors as well.
Step 5: Be as Critical as You Can Be
Now that you’re meeting with your favourite photographers, you need to be as critical as you can be.
This is the time where you need to be putting together a list of the shots that you want to be captured. Look at their images, do they cover the guests as much as they cover the bride and groom? Is the post-editing too much for you?
Would you like more natural images? Or are you looking for over-edited, fancier images that really make a statement? Take in each image in their album and make your mental checklist.
Step 6: It’s Important To Get Along
Think of the meeting with your photographer as a potential friendship. You need to place some importance on being able to like and bond with your photographer.
You want your photographer to buy into the vision you have for the big day. Are they getting excited? Are they bringing loads of ideas to the table?
This is the person who will be guiding you through your day, they’ll be spending the most time with you from the morning until the evening, so you need to feel comfortable and confident that having this person follow you around and interject with your every move will be seamless.
He should be a good listener, if he’s overpowering you at your initial meeting and shooting down your requests, then this photographer isn’t the right person for the job.
Step 7: Now Analyze The Packages
At your initial meeting, you won’t be able to get an exact amount of what your photographer’s services will cost you.
It will all depend on how far your wedding venue is, there may be a travelling fee and you might want more than just 50 images of the day. Many wedding photography packages are customizable through so many aspects.
You can, however, ask for a range of their photography packages. Most wedding photographers will have three tiers for the wedding packages, starting from basic to more detailed.
Ask them if they include an engagement or a trial shoot when you book them for your wedding. It’s always a good idea to try and have a ‘pre-shoot’ with your wedding photographer, so you can test the waters.
Make sure that you’re aware of everything that is included in their packages, how many hours they’re booked for, how many images you will get and all the terms and conditions involved.
Step 8: Ask About Postproduction
If your wedding is this Saturday, you’re most definitely not going to get your images back before the next weekend. Make sure you chat to your photographer about their lead time after shooting the wedding.
They should have a pretty good idea of how many hours it would take to complete your images, so if you’ve requested 100 images, it could take almost 80 hours for them to complete the editing process on these.
And remember, they’ll have other customers too. So it won’t only be your images they’re working on, so be reasonable when setting your expectations to have your images back.
Ask the following questions:
- How many images can I expect to receive?
- Will I be able to have prints made, or can you assist with this?
- Do you retain the rights to the images?
- Will I be able to see images and select them myself? Or do you perform the entire process from start to finish, and I only see the finished product?
Discuss your postproduction expectations with your photographer, ask about their beauty retouching and art effects, if you’re heart set on looking very natural, you need to make this known from the beginning.
On the Day Pre-Preparation
Before the day of your wedding, make sure that you’ve got a plan laid out with your wedding photographer. He needs to have the address and the time schedule if you’re doing a bride and groom getting ready to shoot beforehand, he needs to know where these will be too.
Answer these questions. How long you anticipate the ceremony to take? How much time you have in between formalities to get group shots and guest pictures. All the answers written down, systematically, in a timeline order will make the day easier to manage. Ensure that he has a copy of the list of any special requests you might have; if Grandma Ann is there and you need a photo of her and your Dad, he needs to have this list.
If you’re looking for other photography resources, we’ve got you covered.