Notice that I said ‘How to choose a Wedding Photographer’. I didn’t say ‘How to Choose the Best Wedding Photographer’ or ‘How to Choose the Greatest Wedding Photographer’. Neither did I say ‘How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Photographer’ nor ‘How to choose the most affordable Wedding Photographer’. I could have said ‘Most Suitable’ or ‘The Right’ Wedding Photographer.
The thing is, you need to match your requirements with someone who is capable of giving you what you want and equally importantly, when you want it. Considering the amount of time and investment spent on a wedding, it would beyond the pale if it was not captured the way you want. Your wedding record becomes even more valued as memories fade.
‘Best’, ‘Greatest’ and ‘Perfect’ is subjective anyway. Beyond all doubt, beauty is in the eye of the Beholder and you are the Beholder.
So what did I do when it came to how to choose a Wedding Photographer.
Style and Content
This one is easy – and fun!
Grab your fiancée and Google ‘Wedding Images‘ or something similar. You may (or may not) be surprised that you have differing tastes. Some people appreciate a mixture of styles depending on the lighting situation. An experienced photographer should be able to produce a variety of styles for you anyway.
Download or Pinterest a bunch of images so that you have a reference point. These images could also include specific content shots, e.g. a romantic sunset…
You now have something to refer to when you are choosing the ‘Right’ Wedding Photographer. Not only that, by the time you have compiled this ‘album’ you will have a much better idea of what it is you want your photographer to cover on the day.
Rapport – How to choose a Wedding Photographer
Staging a wedding is not as easy as it sounds.
There is self imposed pressure brought on to some extent by all the planning. There is also the anxiety caused by having your personal life on display. No wonder Elopements are so popular these days.
For us on our wedding day, we wanted a photographer who we felt at ease with. Someone that didn’t make us feel self conscious. Even though you want someone who can deliver your chosen style/s, most of all you want someone who you can be openly expressive with. This expressiveness translates to formalising your dream images.
It does not matter how good a photographer is with the camera and post-processing. If they are not going to be able to capture your true emotions, the result will be rubbish. These images are the only tangible things that you will have after the dust has settled.
So, to me it is just as important to feel a rapport when you mull over how to choose a Wedding Photographer.
Wedding Photographers usually offer a variety of packages. These packages contain different combinations so it is difficult to compare purely on a cost basis. Keep in mind that albums can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Is it cool to ask for a cost breakdown? Of course it is. Once the costs are broken down, you can compare apples with apples. This also enables you to decide what you can fit within your budget.
What do you don’t get?
Before you sign on the dotted line, I suggest you read your Photographers Agreement. This will clarify who is responsible for what and what you do and don’t get. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a booking fee or deposit and is it refundable?
- What conditions apply if the date, time or location change?
- In the event of delays, what happens?
- Is there an hourly rate for additional shooting outside the agreed scope?
- Who manages participants for group shots?
- In the event of inclement weather, can the Photographer stop shooting?
- Does copyright remain with the Photographer?
- Can you use images commercially?
- What happens if the Photographer is unexpectedly unavailable?
- When are the full fees payable?
- Is there a delivery deadline?
Some Wedding Photographers have a considerable backlog of photo processing ahead of them. I been told that some of the lag times have been in excess of 6 months and the victims not having calls returned. I really feel for couples in this situation as it would be heart breaking.
See if your photographer will agree to deliver your package within say 1 month.
Mocking it up
Paying for a Photographer to stick around until stumps can be avoided if you can do a few pretend activities (e.g. cutting the cake) earlier than scheduled. Some Photographers will oblige, others not.
One thing that is often a challenge for Wedding Photographers is the untrained models, i.e. the Bride and the Groom. Actors and Models spend years training to be able to produce emotions and poses. Most Brides and Grooms are not.
When you are working on your ‘How to choose a Wedding Photographer’, it is a good idea to discuss how they will deal with their untrained cast.
Gary Patterson Photography