As someone who is both a wedding photographer and an engaged-to-be-married person, I find myself looking at wedding photography from all perspectives. When it comes to choosing a photographer, there are some key aspects to pay attention to in order to guarantee that you've picked the right candidate for you and your big day!
Sticking to a budget is an important part of planning anything. And there are a lot of misleading statements surrounding price when it comes to wedding photography. Personally, I used to charge next to nothing when I first started out. The first handful of couples who booked their weddings with me knew that I was new to that aspect of the business, but also knew that I was fully capable of shooting a wedding. They trusted me, and in doing so they got an incredible deal on beautiful wedding photos! On the opposite end of the spectrum is people who over charge to make it appear as if they are experienced, when in reality they haven't shot any actual weddings. A high price doesn't necessarily mean that they will fulfill your needs, and a low price doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't capable. You have to base your opinion of them on more than just the price. Look at their body work, look at their social presence, read their testimonials and reviews. You really just have to find someone who's photos you love, who you can trust to do the job, and who is within your budget.
It may not be the most glamorous of reasons behind choosing a photographer for your big day, but it’s a pretty important one. When you contact a photographer and they state that they are in fact available for your big day, that statement might be short lived. If you don’t secure that spot by booking with them, someone else will. This is even more true now that so many vendors are booked up for 2021 and 2022 due to all of the cancellations and reschedules that happened in 2020. Just because you emailed with or spoke to a vendor about booking your date, if you didn't actually book with them (meaning signed a contract and paid the deposit/retainer fee) then that vendor has no obligation to hold the date for you. If you find a photographer, or any vendor, who you want to book for your big day, do so sooner rather than later!
Photographers become a big part of your wedding day! When I'm booked for a full day wedding I am spending that entire day in close quarters with the couple. While everyone is more comfortable by the end of the day, it's very beneficial to be comfortable at the beginning of the day as well. If you are looking at a handful of different photographers for your wedding and you get a weird vibe from any of them, maybe don't book with that person. You don't want to spend the day with someone who makes you uncomfortable. If you or your partner are introverted people and discomfort is a common thing for you when meeting new people, there are many ways to help alleviate that anxiety prior to the day of your wedding. Shooting an engagement session can really help with this, even if you already did an engagement session with a different photographer. If you book a photographer for your wedding and an engagement session is included in your package, do that session! Speaking to your photographer regularly throughout the planning process can also help with comfort. If you need more communication in order to be more comfortable, find a photographer who can do that for you. Not all clients and photographers are good matches for one another. It's important to find a photographer who you feel you mesh well with because your big day will be spent with them by your side.
Style is the most important creative aspect to pay attention to when choosing a photographer for any type of shoot or event. If you don’t like a photographer’s photos, it’s likely because you don’t like their style of editing or posing. Photographers represent their work online in a very intentional way. Pay attention to what is represented on the photographer’s website or professional social media account. Don't expect something majorly different from what you see on the photographer's website. If you like dark and moody edits and that is the chosen overall vibe of your big day, then don’t choose a photographer who appears to only shoot and edit for light and airy images. If you find that you do like their style, you love their photos, they’re within budget, they’re available, they’re ticking all of these boxes but you don’t see what you envision for your big day represented on their site, it might simply be because they haven’t had the opportunity to shoot that vision yet! Communicate with them what it is that you are looking for and they should be able to tell you whether or not that is something that they do. If you also find that after communicating with this photographer that you are comfortable with them, on top of them ticking all of the other boxes of categories we've discussed, then you should take the leap and go ahead and book with them. As mentioned before, if you haven't signed a contract and paid that retainer fee, you aren't booked. Another client can easily swoop in and take that date. Don't let that happen to you if you really love their work, can afford them, and can see yourself being comfortable with them on your big day. Don't let that dream photographer slip through your fingers!