You found your lobster, you got the ring, the venue is picked (because, duh), and now it’s time for that super important choice of how to select the right wedding photographer. Trust me, I know how painful this is, because we just went through it for our wedding. I kept repeating the same things to myself that I repeat to prospective brides all the time…”Choose someone who is going to see the day in the same way you would.” This is critical. Most of time, it’s not poor photography skills that ruin an image. It’s typically the fact that the photographer didn’t see the day in the same regards as you. That sign you stayed up until 3 am making that one time? It matters. So not being able to see the attention to detail and love that went into making your wedding day everything that it was, well, that’s pretty tough to swallow, and thus creates an aversion to your gallery. So, I decided to share my top 10 tips of things to consider when selecting a wedding photographer!
Choose someone who will see the day through your lens.
Trust me, I know how painful this is, because we just went through it for our wedding. I kept repeating the same things to myself that I repeat to prospective brides all the time…”Choose someone who is going to see the day in the same way you would.” This is critical. Most of time, it’s not poor photography skills that ruin an image. It’s typically the fact that the photographer didn’t see the day in the same regards as you. That sign you stayed up until 3 am making that one time? It matters. So not being able to see the attention to detail and love that went into making your wedding day everything that it was, well, that’s pretty tough to swallow, and thus creates an aversion to your gallery. The easiest way to avoid this happening, is to view galleries in their entirety, and try to identify the storyline. Is the gallery all about the couple and their vision, or is there too much of the photographers influence? You should aim for a photographer who focuses on genuine, intimate moments over perfectly curated art (unless that’s your preference!).
Avoid photographers who are passive.
One of the compliments that Robert and I get the most at the end of the wedding day is, “thank you for helping to keep this day about us.” That’s because wedding days bring out a lot of crazy, love, and emotions. People will at some point try to overstep their boundary in the sake of “it’s the only time we’ll ever get to do this!” We are strong believers in doing what YOU want to do, not everyone else, and to be honest, we’re not afraid to tell people no, when we can see you’re too afraid to. You have to select a photographer who will be your advocate. Someone who you can trust, right next to your planner or Day of Coordinator to make a decision, whether it’s for weather, decor, someone changing the plans, ANYTHING. Your photographer should be assertive, without being rude, and make sure that your day stays true to what you planned and envisioned!
Choose someone that you would be friends with in real life.
This one is honestly huge, and was so big for us when selecting a wedding photographer. I talked to many, many, many photographers. They were all talented, and amazing, and honestly would have done a helluva job with our wedding day. The one thing we were looking for, was someone who we would honestly hang out with and be friends with even if we weren’t getting married. Almost every other decision in your wedding (venue, catering, DJ, etc.), it will not matter beyond your business transaction. That’s not to say these vendors are extremely important (because, let’s be real, we ALL know those weddings where the venue, catering, and DJ weren’t up to par, and it reflected), but they also aren’t the people you’ll be around the entire day. Having a photographer that you would be friends with is almost the insurance you need for your photos to be perfect, because then you know without a doubt, this person is going to take care of you and your day as if it was their own wedding day. For each of our clients, we go in with the mind-frame of what would we want captured if this was our wedding day, and that process has not failed us yet. The reason we are able to do this, is because we are truly friends with every single one of our clients. We text, Facebook messenger, Instagram DM, and e-mail and keep each other in the loop, so on wedding day, it really does feel like we are showing up to our own wedding, and that’s fun as hell!
Avoid photographers who won’t show you a full gallery.
It does not matter what reputation the photographer has, how amazing their website is, or how expensive they are (because psychology has lead us to believe that if someone is expensive, they have to be worth it). Always see a full wedding gallery. That is another safeguard against you being disappointed. If you know exactly what to expect, based on their habits, then you’ll be good to go! Another important reason to see a full gallery, is because receptions matter. Far too often, we hear how amazing a photographer is with natural light, but they fall short with reception lighting. I say that, not because I consider myself a master of all things photography – trust me, I am learning and constantly educating myself every day, however, I know how important those memories are too, and I don’t want you to fall victim to the prey of only seeing the good, but not everything as a whole before you make your decision!
Choose a photographer that is passionate about what they do.
When I first got into wedding photography, one of my very first clients asked me a remarkable question during our consult, and I’m always surprised that I don’t get asked about this more during consults, because I LOVE talking about it. This bride asked me, “why do you love wedding photography/videography?” It really stopped me in my tracks and made me think, wow, I get to talk about my passion. I don’t know about you all, but in my former career as a teacher, we didn’t get asked that many times by our “bosses.” My face lit up, and I probably talked her head off for 10 minutes straight. I could go on, and on, and on about why wedding photography feeds my soul. This career literally saved me from heading down a path I hated! Your photographer should have that same passion. If they seem burned out, or disconnected, or they just give you a generic answer — I’m not saying not to hire them, but I am saying you might want to think long and hard if: 1. you want that attitude around you during the planning process and your wedding day, and 2. if you’re spending all this money on someone to just show up with a camera, you’re setting yourself up to be very disappointed. Passion drives creatives. It’s why we wake up every morning, it’s why we may struggle some months financially, because we want to pour everything into our artistry. You deserve someone with that same passion, I promise!
I could talk all day about things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer, but I wanted to give you some personal insight into what drives us as wedding creatives, and what we stand behind for our business. Whether you use us for your wedding team or not, we just don’t want to have the conversation with you that we’ve had with countless others about how awful their experience was, and how they feel so full of regret. It’s a lot of pressure, and it’s okay to be selective. It’s okay to talk to multiple people. It’s okay to take your time with your decision. We understand, and will never make you feel bad for not choosing us (even though, it can be heartbreaking!), but we will cheer you on for choosing the right person, and that’s what matters.
If we can ever be of help for you in your wedding planning, give us a shout! We could chat about this stuff all day ;).