How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

Every now and then, I will take a look online to see what kind of wedding photographers are out there.  MAN… There is a lot!  You brides and grooms must be so overwhelmed.  How do you choose who is right for you?

When I got married, nearly 16 years ago, the internet really wasn’t a thing.  (I know I am totally dating myself here!)  When I planned my wedding, we just hired the photographer down the street.  I didn’t shop around…  I didn’t consider that his style might not fit mine…  I just trusted that he was a professional photographer and that was all I needed.  Looking back, I wish I had had the luxury of the internet so I could have seen that there were other options out there.  I am sure I would have hired someone else!

Today, I spent time online and tried to put myself in your shoes, being the bride once again.  The task of choosing a photographer is daunting!  They all put up a good front.  They all say similar things.  They all have reviews that glow.  (Sure there are few that don’t, but for the most part, I think the photographers these days are really killing it!)  So how do you choose one?

Being in the wedding industry as a photographer for the last 10 years, I hope that I might be able to share some thoughts to help guide you on this journey.  Here are a few things that I would investigate if I was looking for a wedding photographer for myself.  This check list is geared more toward concrete facts rather than likability.  I think it is rare to find a photographer who isn’t friendly and compassionate!  So, let’s examine the measurable.

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

1.  Experience is a MUST.  How long have they be photographing weddings?  Anyone in their first few years of business is a “new” photographer.  It takes YEARS to be come an expert.  Google says it take 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.  That is 20 hours a week for 10 years!  Now, newer photographers are going to be cheaper and that might be what you need due to your budget.  Not every couple can spend $3000+ on their wedding photography and invest in a more experienced photographer.  But it is pretty safe to say that more experienced photographers are going to be more consistent in their photography, understand their equipment and lighting like the back of their hand, feel well rehearsed in wedding etiquette, and more aware of how to pose people in a flattering way.

2. Do you like their Style?  First, do you see consistency in their work?  Look at their portfolio as a whole and ask yourself if it looks like the images go together.  Do they compliment each other or do they feel disjointed?  Can you expect your wedding photographs to look like what you see online? Notice the editing style, too.  Are they too bright or too dark?  Does the photographer use a filter on the images that looks trendy (like something you would see on Instagram)?  It’s always a good idea to ask to see an entire wedding gallery.  Definitely, make sure you see a printed wedding album when you meet with the photographer in person.  If their images seem like they lack consistency, then how can you be sure of what you will get if you hire them?

3.  How does their Website look?  Is it easy to navigate?  Is it updated or a thing of the past?  Do you like the information they included on the website?  Do you get a feel of the personality of the photographer when you look at their website?  Do you know what their photography is all about?  For example, my site focuses on making sure your love is our focus and that we want to photograph you experiencing heartfelt emotions with the people you love most at your wedding.  We have also spent hours and hours make sure it is designed well and reflects the kind of business we desire to run.  There is no reason why a photographer shouldn’t have a well thought out and attractive website!

4.  Are they a Company with many photographers (or associates)?  This is a big red flag!!!!  Companies are formed to make money.  That’s the bottom line here.  One photographer got really good and decided to hire other photographers to work for them so THEY could make more money.  There is a chance you could get stuck with a good photographer from the company but what happens if that person leaves the company?  Or what if you get stuck with a photographer who isn’t experienced?  (Most photographers working for a company are just starting out and don’t have enough experience to go out on their own yet.)  If you decide to hire a photography company, make sure you know all the details in your contract about who you will be working with on your wedding day.

5.  Do you want a photographer that is Trendy? (This one is a bit subjective but I think it is noteworthy.) Trends come and go and sometimes it is hard to see what they are until after they have faded from popular view.  Consider this…  Do the pictures you see in the photographer’s portfolio feel timeless or dated?  Specifically, consider the posing and editing.  Do they appear natural?  Will those pictures look incredible 10 years from now?  When my mom and dad got married, my dad wore a baby blue tuxedo with a ruffled shirt.  They look SO 70’s!  Trends are bound to appear in your wedding photos due to the choices you make.  However, photographers can manipulate their photos to create a trendy look.  Editing styles and fads are the biggest contributors to trends in photography.  Right now, dark and moody editing styles are trending.  Also trending, is staged and overly posed photographs that lack an emotional connection between the subjects for artistic purposes.  Can you spot the trends?

6.  Does the photographer Specialize in Weddings or do they photography anything AND everything?  Along with wedding photography, I used to do newborn photography, maternity sessions, family portraits, intimate boudoir, toddlers, children, smash the cake sessions, mini holiday sessions, etc…  Oh, I get weary just thinking of all of that!  Over a year ago, I decided to let go of everything except weddings and engagement sessions.  Why be a jack of all trades but a specialist in none?  Wedding photography has been my calling since 2006 and now I focus all my attention on how to do it well.  I love that I am not distracted by other photographic opportunities, instead I can devote 110% of my mind and soul to taking care of my wedding couples, learning how to grow my talents, and I still have time for my family!

Certainly, there are more things to consider than just these 6 thoughts.  The photographer’s personality, their reviews, their professionalism, and their attention and care toward you are all very important among other things like talent and overall knowledge.  Good luck with your wedding planning process and choosing the right photographer!  If you would like to set up a consultation with us to discover more of our approach to weddings, please call (909) 957-5795 or email april@aprilsmithphotography.com . Congratulations on this joyous time in your life!

(Please note, the images used in this post are for your enjoyment and really have nothing do to with the topic at hand.)