Since we have been professional wedding photographers for 11 years now, we have learned a ton about what to look for when choosing a wedding photographer. We wanted to pass along our wisdom gained from our wedding adventures. Some of this also comes from when my wife and I got married.
- LOVE Your Photographer’s Work: It is a tendency of many people to go with a photographer who is a good price but settle with the quality of work. After the wedding, and for the rest of your life all you will have is the photography.
You may even ask them if they can do this or that style and they say, “Sure we can do that.” But… if you are asking that question then you are already looking at the wrong photographer. The style that you are looking for should already be apparent in their work. (Please don’t mistake style for individual images. Sometimes our clients want specific images, which we are happy to capture for them. Style is more of the overall look and feel of the photography.)
- Make Sure You Get Along With Them: You want a photographer that you get along with because this person is going to be following you around for your entire wedding. If your potential photographer seems incompatible with you than there is a good chance that this will come out during your wedding. Do not take that risk, it’s not worth it. Make sure you are happy with them personally and who they are as people. Also think about who is going to be working with them. [Our wedding photographer’s assistant almost ruined our wedding by hustling our parents and grandparents.]
- Do They Have a Contract? I can’t tell you how many weddings we have booked where someone’s photographer has bailed on them 2 weeks before their wedding with no contract, and there is nothing they can do about it. Contracts are essential for situations like this. They also provide a stability that is nice to have as the wedding day gets closer, knowing that everyone who has committed is going to be there.
- Are They A Professional Photographer? Not someone who has a fancy camera and has shot a wedding before. They should be legitimate. Why a professional? Because their lively-hood depends on it. Uncle Joe or your college roommate do not have the same amount of investment as a professional would. A professional’s reputation is on the line, and they are putting food on the table with every wedding they shoot. This will make them highly motivated to provide you with amazing service. Also, most wedding photographers have seen enough go wrong to know how to handle a situation calmly and professionally. You can’t say the same for Uncle Joe.
- What is Their Turn Around Time? 1-2 years after your wedding is not an acceptable amount of time to get you your images and album. I don’t care what they say, it doesn’t take that long if they know what they are doing. Excuses like “I’ve been swamped” “I am really making sure they are beautiful”… all excuses. If they shot them right in the first place, there is really not much need to edit the images.
- Can They Shoot in the Lighting of Your Event? If your wedding is at night indoors, please ask to see their shots taken at night indoors. Shooting weddings during the day outside are totally different than shooting indoors at night. Metering, flash, fluorescent lights… all factors that change the way that you use your camera. If the photographer has not experience shooting at night, your images may not be amazing.
- Look At Their Wedding Albums: Your photographer may be amazing at their photography, but if they cannot create an amazing album, or get someone else to do it, then you may be unsatisfied with what you are going to get as a by-product.
If you go the do-it-yourself route on wedding albums, be sure to get it done as soon as possible. I know so many people that still do not have their albums done for their wedding because they just never got around to it, and it is 7 years later. A good photographer will have albums that you look at and are amazed by.
- How Much Wedding Coverage Do They Offer? Many photographers offer a limited amount of time within their packages. Typically they offer 5-7 hours, but what happens when the time runs out and your party is still going? Make sure you know the charge per hour when your time runs out so you can make an educated decision on the wedding day.