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Selecting Your Photographer

The decision as to who will photograph your wedding can be a tough decision, but it is a critical decision. The wrong photographer can ruin your wedding day. The wrong decision can leave you with photographs you don’t like, or worse, with no photographs at all.

There are a number of considerations when making the decision.

 

Price

Let’s begin with price, since that’s usually the first question asked; though it really shouldn’t be.

Wedding photography really is one area where you “get what you pay for.” Quality photography is not cheap, and cheap photography is usually not high quality.

The “best price” isn’t always the best deal. Someone once asked, “Would you rather have paid a little more than you wanted, or a little less than you should?” A little money saved now could bring a lot of heartache later.

Regardless of what the “internet check-lists” may say, a good budget for your wedding photography should comprise 15% - 20% of your total wedding budget. This would include the fees for the photographers’ services and your finished album.

 

Style Of Photography

There is no “right” or “best” style of wedding photography. It all comes down to personal likes and dislikes. Find a photographer whose style you like. Do not select a photographer based on price, personality, or package contents and then expect that photographer to photograph your wedding in some style other than what they normally photograph. That’s a recipe for disaster.
When looking at the style of photography, look at complete weddings, online or in person, rather than just a selection of the photographer’s best images. Complete weddings give you a feel for the overall style you can expect from that photographer.
View multiple weddings from the photographer being considered (easy to do online). Look for consistency across several weddings, consistency of quality and consistency of style. You should anticipate similar work from that photographer at each of their weddings.
All photographers will have certain images they will create at almost every wedding, but look as well for creativity in their work. Does the work show creativity and freshness, or is it exactly the same for every wedding?

 

Expectations

Talk openly and honestly with your prospective photographer about what you, and they, expect in your wedding photography. Let them know what you want in your photographer and in your finished photography.

Don’t assume that some of the terms used to describe photography mean the same thing to everyone. They don’t. The terms “photojournalistic,” “documentary,” and “traditional photographs” can have vastly different meanings among photographers, as well as brides.

Manage your expectations by being open and honest, and you will most likely receive photographs you will enjoy, even treasure, for years to come.

 

Personality

The personality of the photographers at your wedding should be a consideration. Do you like them and can you get along with them? They will be ever present on your wedding day. Does the photographer put you at ease, or will they add stress? Will they be in the background quietly photographing or will they be in the forefront controlling the events? Again, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to personalities. Just be sure you’ll get along with the photographer you choose.

 

Quality

 

There are several areas of quality to be considered including content, photographs, and albums.

The quality of the content of the images is somewhat subjective and deals with what is being photographed, how it is photographed and how the individual photographer works on the day of the wedding.

Some photographers work mostly with natural light, some use flash in various ways, and others a mixture, depending on the situation. Some will pose subjects to perfection, where others will be more relaxed in posing, as if placing the subjects in position and allowing them to pose naturally. Some will be more symmetrical in compositions, where others will be more creative. All these aspects come together to create a particular “look” to the photographer’s work. Again, there is no right or wrong, just what appeals to you.

Most professional photographers provide high quality professional prints from professional labs or printers and these should last a lifetime, if properly cared for. These prints are far superior to those mass produced in a local discount store. Sure, they cost a lot more, but they’re worth it.

The price of the quality of finished albums can vary more than anything else in wedding photography. Various options are available, and the prices are reflected in the choices made. Albums range from handmade leather, custom binding, and specialty covers made of metal, acrylic, wood, or fabric to the slip-in photo albums available in your local camera store, and anywhere in between.

Invest wisely, and you’ll have a book you will treasure.

 

Experience

Experience doesn’t necessarily mean better photography. It does mean that the more experienced photographer should be better able to deal with unexpected or uncontrolled situations than the relatively inexperienced photographer.

A wedding can be an uncontrollable event at times. Light changes, and we have to deal with it. Backgrounds may not be ideal. We have to handle it. The health of your family and guests can be a consideration. We have to accommodate.

Believe it or not, even brides can get stressed, upset or panicked. We have to bring calm and relieve the stress. Experience surely helps.

 

The Bottom Line

We’ve all heard horror stories of brides who cut corners on their wedding photography and regretted it. Don’t trust Uncle Bob or a friend with a good camera to capture your wedding memories. They are much too important. You get one chance to get it right. Invest in the best professional wedding photographer you can afford. One who produces images you like, in a style you like. It’s an investment you’ll be glad you made.