Wedding preparation and choosing your wedding photographer is both exciting and full of new challenges. You have sensitive investments and decisions to makeup, from choosing your ceremony and reception location to your dream team of amazing wedding vendors. These professionals and businesses will be part of forming one of your most special days of your life.
Having been a bride myself, and a wedding photographer for many years – I understand the gravity of choosing the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding day. A friend or relative may own a DSLR Cambera (hell… phone cameras have some amazing ability too), but for this day you should hire a professional photographer to ensure the day is properly documented. I’ve put together some of my key points to hiring a professional wedding photographer for your big day and hope this helps making that decision a little less stressful!
A photographer’s body of work is your opportunity to view their styles, skill and story. Great photography consists of many elements pulling together including impact, technical skills, creativity, style, composition, color balance and so on. The great thing about working in an industry which has so much competition is that this also equals so many different styles of photography which can make your decision a little easier. It is great to ask your prospective photographer what style they like to typically work with when photographing weddings, here are a few which I find are popular these days:
- Traditional: This is your ‘classic style’ of photography where the photographer works from a very standard ‘shot list’, ensuring he or she covers all the standard elements. These types of images can be timeless but also can become out-dated if the photographer doesn’t move with the industry standards as they evolve year to year. A safe option yes, but make sure they keep it contemporary!
- Photojournalistic: This photographs are all about capturing candid or spontaneous images of people and decor, where you will rarely see posing in front of the camera. A genuine story is told in this style of photography and the photographer more often then not is able to blend seamlessly into your guests and crowd at a wedding.
- Portraiture: These photographers love posed shots of you, your friends and family. Which is fantastic for the perfect wedding day, but sometimes where weather or unexpected elements happen on the big day it may through him/her. The images can look fantastic of your wedding day and can resemble a somewhat magazine/vogue type wedding style!
- Fine Art: This type of photography can be quite beautiful and unique, it can also mean many things. The traditional sense of wedding photography can be huge with very controlled lighting, mood and poses or it can be something very artistic, spontaneous and unique. Photos can have a more dramatic, dreamier or muted finish to them. Be careful with fine art photographers as it is important to take them as they are and not put too much criteria on what they do!
- Natural Light: Rather using the aid of speedlites or studio style lights, photographers here utilize natural light to create very natural, beautiful shots. The images have a bery warm and muted quality to them. For this style, the photographer must be quite technical to know how to deal with lighting challenges such as harsh sunlight or rain and foggy weddings.
To clarify – I like my style of wedding photography to be alittle natural light, a little fine art and very photojournalistic. Why not combine them to create something special AND be flexible for the clients wedding!
So, you have found a few styles of photographers you like and want to narrow it down. I find the next step is contacting them, meeting them and working out is their personality going to work with you and your partner. If your looking at hiring a photography studio, they will most likely have more then one staff member. Sometimes this means the photographer you meet may not be the one their on your wedding day in charge. Since every artist or photographer has a different personality and style, make sure you meet and talk to the photographer who will be there on your wedding day!
A photographer should be able to capture your wedding in a unobtrusive, professional manor where the guests and yourself feel comfortable with their presence. Remember, a photographer is pretty much there to shadow your moves so the more comfortable everyone is, the better the photos will be!
A professional photographer should be able to fit in with your wedding’s dress code. To fit in with the guests means he/she can find and capture many subtle special moments of your big day.
Make sure your chosen photographers have all the bases covered including a contract and insurance. To have those finer details of who will photograph your wedding, the hours covered, the desired timeframe of images being received by the client is huge. Have everything set out in writing in front of you and go through it together so every aspect of the wedding contract is understood.
Your wedding photographer should also be able to accomodate specific requests. For example, one of my weddings coming up in December has two ceremonies and quite a large guest list. Two photographers is a must and easily organised. My rule for how many photographers you should have is 1 per every 100 guests. This way the coverage is antiquate to your wedding day and you double your coverage!
One aspect of a professional photographer (and one I am very focused on) is the ability to prepare with the future clients. This could mean setting up a general timeline to the wedding day, meeting prior to run over the aspects of the ceremony and reception (including ceremony rehearsal) or suggesting photo locations for the creative images post ceremony.
A great wedding photographer can give your ideas on who you need in your family photos, what time of day is best for the ceremony at a certain month in the year or what to do if it rains. Planning can include suggesting other amazing vendors to fill your wedding creative team or simply recommendations on your wedding album.
Another part to planning will involve discussing when to arrive at the ceremony, how the men should dress and what to expect of certain aspects to the day traditionally.
5. Package Pricing
No matter of your financial situation or budget for photography, there is no way for you to know a dollar amount until you know exactly what you want. Evaluating the options of time coverage, albums, prints and other extras can be super confusing. I believe you get what you pay for in any industry. My wedding photography packages are broken down into a few different types. To be honest, there are many ‘tricks’ out there that photographers use to make you buy up and pressure you into spending more then you want. I like to keep it fairly honest with my approach to make my clients feel at ease. There for, each package is suited to a financial or time needed base to the wedding. Only a small wedding? Fantastic – book my base package and recieve the basics. Want to make sure your wedding day is covered and captured in a beautiful, detailed and unique way? Great! Look at my top package which includes 2 photographers and all day coverage.
Make sure when you are choosing photography prices compare the hourly rate, type of products offered and coverage. It is a good idea to always invest in more coverage if there is a change you’ll run over time. You definitely want your photographer there until the end!
I hope this gives you a better idea when choosing your wedding photographer. There are so many out there but every one has their own unique style, personality and price to suit you. If you like what you see on my website, and think that we could get along well on your wedding day – make sure we meet up for coffee by emailing me here!