What makes a wedding photographer worth the investment? Beyond the obvious (web presence, reviews and referrals, legitimate business practices), there are several key factors to look for when choosing your wedding photographer. Photography is so much more than simply clicking a shutter. It’s about creating art with a purpose, preserving history and serving clients through the medium of photography. My hope that this be the base at which you start. From there, several factors should be taken into consideration when picking the right photographer for you.
I’m going to challenge you to remove price from the equation. I’m not trying to be unrealistic — I was a Bride once with a very limited wedding budget and I understand that couples often have a specific budget that they need to adhere to. But I want to encourage you, don’t let price be the only factor in why you choose a photographer.
Are all photographers created equal? No. Which is why there is a large range in price points. In wedding photography you often get what you pay for so make sure you understand exactly what your photographer will deliver. Investing in your wedding photography experience ensures that your day is professionally and artistically captured, providing you with exceptional customer service and a memorable experience.
Style & Approach
No two photographers are alike and will view and capture a wedding day in very unique ways — Will your photographer connect with the vision you have for your wedding day? Will they capture the day in the way that is meaningful to you? When meeting with potential photographers ask them to describe their style - what inspires them as an artist? What are the values that shape their world view? Aside from visually seeing their work, digging deeper to understand the person behind the camera and their approach as an artists, will hep you determine if they are the right fit for you.
Personality & Professionalism
Your photographer will be someone you spend a significant amount of time with on the wedding day. Do you feel comfortable around their presence? Do you trust that person to capture your day? Will they courteous, polite and kind to your guests and loved ones? Are they responsible, one time and will they dress appropriately on your wedding day? Having a connection with your photographer is essential in creating natural and authentic images and allowing you to feel comfortable and relaxed on the wedding day.
Professionally lit images, portfolios edited with a cohesive and consistent style, blog posts that show a range of moments throughout the day, flattering posing, natural looking images — these are just a few of the things you can look for when determining the skill level and expertise of a photographer.
If you're attracted to a more documentary style of photography — is your photographer skilled in unobtrusively capturing the big and small moments of the day? Is their portfolio filled with images that speak to this type of style? Similarly, if you are attracted to romantic or artfully posed images — do you see examples of beautiful and flatteringly posed couples in their portfolio? Beyond their website, asking to see full galleries of past weddings can help you determine if the photographer is skilled at their craft and can capture the wedding day in a style that you feel connected too.
I believe that equipment does not make the photographer, however it is absolutely essential that the photographer you choose to hire is prepared to safely and securely capture your wedding day using professional grade gear and backup systems. The wedding day is a fluid and ever changing event that your photographer must be prepared for. From backup gear, to extra batteries, to lighting equipment, a professional photographer will be be prepared with the proper equipment to capture the wedding day.
Albums & Heirlooms
If you are interested in creating an album or heirloom with your photographer, ask to see examples and inquire where and how the heirlooms are made. Look for heirlmooms that are hand crafted using archival quality inks and papers. After the wedding day, one of the few things that remain are the images your photographer has created for you. These images deserve to be curated into artfully curated heirlooms that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come. Ensure that the products your photographer offers you will stand the test of time.