Hiring a wedding photographer is not something you do every day; for many of you, it’s more or less uncharted territory. You’re already overwhelmed with planning your wedding; so having certainty in the people you hire to help you pull it off makes all the difference. This article is not some bulleted list of all the questions you must ask your wedding photographer before booking them for your big day. Instead, I’ve written a blog outlining what I honestly believe to be the most important aspects of choosing a wedding photographer. As a wedding photographer myself, I offer a unique and informed perspective to help you choose the right wedding photographer that will give you ease of mind and deliver beautiful images of your wedding day.
Find the style of photography that you are drawn to, e.g. Documentary, Fine Art, Dark, Light and Airy. There are an infinite number of combinations of shooting and processing styles to consider. The easiest way to narrow down your style (if you don’t know it already) is to keep track of the images that stop your scrolling. While you are looking on Pinterest or Blogs for inspiration, take notes. What was it about that photo that you liked? Make a note and save it for later. Use your notes when choosing your photographer.
Find a wedding photographer that you naturally connect to, personally and through the work they show you. When you look at their images, does their work:
The connection factor is the one that will matter the most on your wedding day. If you don’t love the style of photography that the photographer produces, you won’t trust them to capture your wedding day how you want it to be captured, or you’ll try to force the photographer out of their natural style of photography, which will not yield the results you want.
Whenever possible, do not hire a wedding photographer before you have met them face-to-face. At the very least, schedule a phone or skype conversation with the photographer before you book. Phone and face-to-face conversations can give you a hint as to who they are and how you will mesh on the day of your wedding. I suggest meeting for coffee to get to know each other, and talk about the wedding. You can usually get a feel for a person pretty quickly. Guage how you feel after your first meeting, and assume that’s how you’ll feel around them on your wedding day. When you meet them, do you feel at ease and comfortable to be yourself around them?
If you don’t feel comfortable with the photographer on your big day, it will translate onto the photos. My advice to you is to go with your gut.
The photographer should have a bulletproof backup system in place. Consider the worst case scenario – you have a beautiful wedding with your perfect photographer, only to find out that all their beautiful images accidentally got erased. This is not a made-up story, I’ve heard too many horror stories of photographers losing client files to leave anything to chance. I put a lot of care and attention into making sure it never happens on my watch. I have my backup information on my FAQ because it is important to provide peace of mind (to my clients and myself!). Make sure your photographer has a backup plan and backup gear in case of something malfunctions day of. This should be a given for professional photographers, but it’s worth an ask. Cover all your bases so you can rest assured your big day is captured and delivered.
The photographer should provide you with a solid contract for you both to sign. The contract is intended not only to protect the photographer but you as well. The contract should outline the usage of images, the contingency plan if something were to go wrong, the refund policy, etc. Make sure you read the contract thoroughly and ask the photographer about anything that you don’t understand or don’t agree with. We live in an age with hundreds of terms and conditions that are easy to skim, click “I accept”, and move on from. Your wedding day is too important for that. Read all the terms and conditions thoroughly, and ask any and all questions to make sure you fully understand and fully committed to what you’re signing.
As a photographer, I am particularly invested in my client’s weddings and emotionally committed to their day. It’s important for me to connect with the couple, and important for the couple to connect with me if they decide to book me as their photographer. Because I place high importance on connection, the clients that book with me usually end up as friends. I hope you’ll use my advice as a guideline to help you book once, and book right. When you take care to find the photographer that will best capture your wedding day, you set yourself up for ease of mind on the big day, and beautiful images you will be able to cherish forever after.