12 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
Looking for a wedding photographer can be an overwhelming experience. There are a lot of options, and you may not get exactly what you want unless you ask the right questions. Read below some of the best tips and things to look out for when on your search.
1. Digital Downloads and Hidden Fees.
Some photographers will not allow you to download all of your photos and in essence be in control of all of them. A lot of photography packages will not include digital prints, and you will be forced into paying more money to get them. Another common tactic is to force you to purchase a certain amount of prints to then get the digital files. Albums are also a common add-on that will be marked up. Make sure that what you are signing in the contract is what you want. Packages tend to be the best deals, but again, make sure you know exactly what you're getting.
2. Do you get the sense they truly care?
The best photos come from photographers that truly care about their clients and take the time to get to know them. When you're comfortable with your photographer, you're more likely to show your love for your significant other and those moments make for real moments and awesome photos. Take the time to go out to grab coffee or a drink with a potential photographer. Ensure your personalities match up and you're comfortable. Make sure that your photographer isn't considering you as just income.
3. Facilitating a comfortable environment and Direction.
Many people are not entirely comfortable in front of the lens, and thus it helps to have a photographer willing to help direct you. Ask photographers what they do to make you at ease and assist you in posing. Some will have posing classes under their belt and past experience that will make the session a positive one for you. You’d be surprised how many photographers who have stunning photos have no idea h help direct their clients into looking their best, and rely solely on you to come up with ideas.
4. Second Photographer?
Do you feel like you want even more moments captured than one photographer can possibly handle? If a second photographer is important to you, ask that the second photographer has worked with your lead photographer and they have a similar or complementary style. Working with a second for the first time can come with it's own set of issues and you don't want that happening on your day.
5. Is there a minimum budget?
Although we all have our budgets, spending less than $1,000 on wedding photography is in general very, very cheap and likely the result will also show. Could you luck out? Possibly, but most seasoned photographers start out at minimum $2000 for 6 hours. If you really want to work with someone who may be out of your budget, it doesn't hurt to ask about a deal- they might have your day open and be willing to do so at a rate closer to your budget. $2000 or more might sound like a lot, but photographers that can charge that tend to have a lot of invaluable experience to ensure not only that the photos are amazing, but that you look your best, and your day goes smoothly. Remember that photography is the only thing you're paying for that you will have to look back on beyond your wedding day. Food, drink, the cake, and the flowers, will be gone beyond that day.
6. Consistent Style?
Ensure that the photographer's style is consistent, and that shows in all photos. You may even want to ask to see an entire wedding gallery or galleries. This shows their work is consistently good across the board. If a photographer is unwilling to show you an entire wedding gallery, move on.
7. How long will editing take? Teasers?
Some photographers will not commit to how long editing will take and therefore you might get your photos back much later than you hope. Ask for a commitment in the contract as to when you will receive your edited photos after your wedding. 4 weeks is fairly standard for time to get back your edited photos. While you wait for the photos to be edited, ask about receiving teaser photos. Teasers are some of the initial favorites the photographer comes across and some of the better photographers will send them to you a week after your wedding. These are a nice thing to get to tide you over from the seemingly long wait.
8. Does there seem to be a process?
Ask about processes in place. Does there seem to be an easy to follow booking process? Is there a questionnaire for your preferences on group photos, first look, etc? Is there an editing process which is straightforward and doesn’t involve much or any work from you? Processes are an indication of how long the photographer has been working and their level of professionalism.
9. Reviews and Feedback.
Reviews, reviews, reviews! What past couples say about a photographer is oftentimes an indicator of how they will perform for you. Make sure to read through a few reviews of the photographers you have in mind before speaking with them.
10. Engagement Photos!
Oftentimes, engagement sessions are overlooked. The fact is an engagement session is the best way to see if you're in sync with your wedding photographer. You can see how they work with you, how the photos turn out, and how quickly and efficiently the process works. Spending time with your photographer during an engagement session helps you feel at ease on your wedding day, and you can't beat that.
11. Safeguards for your photos.
Ask about safeguards for your photos. Experienced photographers will have several backups like an extra camera or cameras, saving to multiple memory cards, and extra lighting gear in case of equipment failure. They'll also ensure your photos are backed up as soon as they are loaded onto their computer. These little things make a difference in case of a mishap.
12. Are they willing to work with other vendors on your day?
Making a little effort to work with other people involved in your day goes a long way to making your day a positive one. Photographers willing to go the extra mile will add to the positivity during a wedding day. The best photographers will also know some of the best vendors to work with - use their knowledge to your benefit.
Why this list?
Why did I compile this list? Well, it's frankly no fun getting emails from couples who are clearly disappointed with their wedding photos asking me to help. At that point, I likely can't do a whole lot. Empowering engaged couples to find the best photographer for them means better results all around. Plus, I know I can answer all of these questions and tips in the affirmative, I have 100% positive reviews, I have a strong posing background, offer digital jpegs, and I love getting to know the couples I work with. Am I the best photographer for you? No, not necessarily! But please check out my work and maybe we can grab a coffee sometime to talk about your wedding!
Owner | Lead Photographer @ Couloir Creative