How to Pick a Wedding Photographer: Capturing Your Perfect Day
Wedding Photography can be one of the biggest investments you will make for your wedding day. This can be a stressful process as the photography industry is more or less unregulated. How do you know how to pick a wedding photographer? Now that I am a professional and full-time wedding photographer, here are some of the things I wish I’d known when I was making the choice of a photographer for my own wedding day.
1 STYLE: What wedding photography style do you love? You have so many amazing search engines to find wedding images. Pinterest, google images, photography blogs. Take some time to narrow in on your preferred photography style. What do you like the look of and what would you be happy with being on your wall in 40 years from now. Are you drawn to traditional, classic, or contemporary styles? Do you prefer candid, documentary-style shots or romantic portraits? Do you love true to life colour or dark and moody tones. Understanding your preferences will help you narrow down the photographers who specialise in your desired style. If you feel unsure about what a photography style is, have a read of my blog on Photography Styles here.
2 RESEARCH: Do your research. Remember google only ranks a few and if you are looking for a popular date, those first few photographers might be booked. You can exploring various sources such as wedding websites and online directories, but remember these are paid marketing platforms. Social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram are a good way photographers are getting themselves out there to the public too. Even using your own contacts social media and find out who their photographer was if they have been married. Ask for referrals from friends and family too. You also don’t need to only limit yourself to photographers in your direct area. Many of us travel for work regularly: but note this may be subject to travel fees. Look for portfolios and galleries to get a sense of their artistic style and whether it aligns with your vision. Read client reviews and testimonials to gauge their professionalism, reliability, and ability to capture emotions.
3 BUDGET: Weddings can be expensive, set yourself an estimate of how much you would like to spend, how much you can afford etc. However, budget should not be the first consideration when you pick your wedding photographer. There is a “photographer” for EVERY budget. There are so many beginners out there trying to break into the wedding industry and will undercut any cost to book you. They may not even realise they do not have the experience or equipment to do a good job photographing your wedding. While it’s tempting to allocate a significant portion of your budget to other aspects of the wedding, remember that your photos will be one of the few tangible reminders of your special day. Finding the right balance between quality and affordability is essential.
4 PORTFOLIO: Review their portfolio. Ask the photographers to provide a complete wedding album/gallery from start to finish. This will give you a comprehensive view of their work, including their ability to capture candid moments, details, and the overall storytelling aspect of their photography. Pay attention to consistency in image quality, composition, and creativity. Can they they work in poor indoor light, low light, rainy conditions etc. If you are having an indoor hotel wedding, ask for a portfolio that matches the conditions they will be working in on your day. Shooting on a beach is different to shooting in a forest which is different to shooting in an urban city scape.
5 MEET AND GREET: Get in contact with the photographers you like the look of to see if they are available for your day. Make sure you to talk to them face to face, either in person or a video chat. This is an opportunity to discuss your vision, ask questions, and evaluate their compatibility. Is is ESSENTIAL you CLICK with them. Photographers are with your through the whole planning process. They can be a great resources or a complete stress maker. Inquire about their experience, the number of weddings they have shot, and if they have worked at your venue before. Discuss packages, pricing, and any additional services they provide. If you want more ideas of what to ask your photographer, check out my blog here.
6 THE BUSINESS SIDE: Assess the level of professionalism the photographer has when chatting with you. Do they put you at ease and can answer all your questions freely? A wedding photographer’s professionalism and personality are crucial factors to the smooth running of the day. You’ll want someone who is not only skilled but also capable of creating a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for you and your guests. Some photographers are extremely skilled in their craft, but is their business also running efficiently? Ensure the photographer communicates clearly, responds promptly to your inquiries, and demonstrates enthusiasm for your wedding day. How do they present contracts, invoices etc,? Do they have an ABN, public liability insurance, equipment insurance etc.? Can they provide proof of these things to you? See more on what to ask your photographer here.
7 REVIEWS: Look for public reviews such as Google, Facebook or wedding directory reviews. If you can’t find any, don’t hesitate to ask for references from past clients directly. Speaking to couples who have previously worked with the photographer can provide valuable insights into their work ethic, punctuality, and overall experience. Check for the overall satisfaction of not only the final photos, but also the experience they had with the photographer’s interpersonal skills.
8 CONTRACT: Review the contract and services before making a final decision. Carefully review the photographer’s contract. Ensure that it covers all the essential details, such as the hours of coverage, the number of photographers present, and the delivery timeline for the final images. Clarify any doubts regarding copyrights, additional costs, and cancellation policies.
Wedding photography is more than a transaction of money. The photography experience is a huge part of the day. It should be fun and add to the excitement and emotion. So many couples are stressed and worried about looking good in the photos etc. The most common phrases I hear are ‘I don’t look good in photos’, ‘we are awkward’, ‘my fiancé hates pictures’. This is why having an engagement session as part of our package is essential in my experience. Here’s why.
Hopefully this has been a helpful insight into making sure you find a reliable and skilled professional to support you on your day. Selecting a wedding photographer is a significant decision that will shape your memories and by following these steps, you can find a photographer who not only possesses technical expertise but also resonates with your style and vision. Remember, investing time and effort in selecting the right photographer will ensure that your wedding day is beautifully captured, allowing you to relive those cherished moments for years to come.
Kali is an international wedding photographer. If you’d like to see if she is available for your big date. CHECK YOUR DATE HERE.
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How to Pick a Wedding Photographer: Capturing Your Perfect Day