Choosing Your Dream Wedding Photographer

Below you will find 5 things to consider and 4 common mistakes…

5 Important Things to Consider When Hiring Your Wedding Photographer

1. The Basics: Considering both Photography Style and Service 

When planning your wedding, prioritized photography as the lasting memories of the day. Choose a photographer based on style and service, opting for timeless rather than trendy edits or old-fashioned photography.  Timeless, natural photos will last for generations to come, whereas trendy edits tend to lose their spark after a while.

Style: Do you prefer Candid and Photo-Journalistic vs Posed photos, or a mix of both? Do you prefer “Dark and Moody”, “Bright and Colorful”, “Light and Airy”, or fairly “Natural and Balanced”? Try to decide what  style and “color tone” that you have in mind that will help you pick your photographer.

Service: You should make a few appointments with a some photographers. This will give you a chance to candidly talk about what you desire in your photographs and get to know the photographers. These short meetings will help you decide who you will feel more comfortable with. Your photographer should give you a feeling of safety and assurance, but most importantly they should feel like a part of the family. Not someone  who seemed to only want your business by “selling” to you with their affordable prices, but not really take the time to understand what you need and your desired outcome for your wedding day.

Remembering that these pictures will be the first heirloom photos of your new chapter together will really help you eliminate many potential photographers who only fit your budget.

2. Do you like the photographer as a person?

When choosing a photographer, it’s important you like them as a person as much as you like their work. The photographer’s personality DOES matter, especially if you already feel like you’ll be awkward in front of the camera. You want to enjoy having this person around. You’ll want to have a peace of mind that this photographer is readily available and responsive as you plan out your special day. Is this photographer personable? Do you like your interaction with them before you hire them?

Speaking with past brides, they expressed how pleased they were that they had so much fun during their pre-wedding photo session, but that they also enjoyed having their photographer following them around the entire wedding day. They couldn’t have imagined what their wedding day would’ve been like otherwise! On a similar note, I believe it’s really valuable to have engagement photos taken with the same photographer who will be shooting your wedding. This is so that you get to experience what it’s like being in front of their camera, and learn how they provide directions. Portrait time during your wedding day will be a lot more efficient than otherwise.

3. Does the Photographer offer Any Tangible Heirlooms? 
How is the Quality of The Printed Products? Will They Stand the Test of Time?

If the photographer offers tangible heirlooms, ask about them! What’s the quality like? Are they archival and supposed to last a lifetime? What are the pages like? How’s the binding and overall make of the album? Will the colors be reflective of the photography? They should be worth your investment! Ask for a sample album to look at and sample prints as well if they offer them.

3b. More About Albums (because it’s a “digital world”)

How much is it worth to you to have an heirloom album to tell the story of your most beautiful memories? This artwork that you have created with your photographer, these memories that you cherish, these fleeting moments captured in time, they are worth so much more than being “digital dust” in your hard drive, buried within thousands of other files. The albums that my family has created throughout the years mean so much to me. Every time I flip through them, gratitude and joy swell up from within my soul, and there is a growing appreciation for the most important people in my life. This is why, even though it’s so much more work for me, I take it off my busy clients’ plate, and help design and create professional albums with all my couples and families, so that they too can have this experience for years to come. 

4. Does the Photographer Have Good Reviews and Testimonials?

Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews are the most common places to look for authentic feedback from a photographer’s past clients, and see what their experiences were like working with that photographer. Why do past clients like working with this photographer? What stood out to them? Do you see a trend or consistent kind of comments? Be wary of fake reviews – whether fake positive or fake negative.

Even if a photographer (or any other wedding vendor) does not have a “5-Star Rating”, be sure to read the other ratings and see if those lower rated reviews are legitimate. Nowadays, there are a lot of spammers and people who want to ruin someone’s reputation just for the sake of it. How is the photographer’s response to the negative review? Consider if there could be a different side to the story (oftentimes, there is).

5. Can the photographer show you a whole wedding day before you hire them?

Even if you do not see a complete gallery of every single photo from a particular wedding (for reasons such as if the couples have requested their photos to be private, etc.), the photographer should still be able to show you what their photographs may look like from getting ready through end of reception, and seeing photographs that are shot from different lighting scenarios. During consultations with my couples, I generally walk through a whole wedding day album so that they can get an idea of what it’s like having me as their wedding photographer for the whole day, and what their wedding album and gallery might look like at the end of the whole experience.

4. Common Mistakes When Hiring A Wedding Photographer

When it comes to hiring a wedding photographer for your big day, I have seen some common mistakes that people tend to overlook before signing a contract with a photographer.

Mistake #1: Portfolio Skimming

Not looking thoroughly through their portfolio! Here are some questions to ask yourself when you look at their work:

Are their photographs taken and edited in the style that you prefer? 

Do you believe you will enjoy looking at them even 30 years later, or will you think to yourself “that’s so 2020’s… What was I thinking”? 

Do the skin tones of the people in the photographs look natural or are they kind of wonky? Is their work consistent? After looking through their blog/client galleries, are you confident you will receive similar quality and results? Just like how you go into a certain coffee shop and order a latte, you expect it to taste a certain way because they consistently produce the same flavor. The same line of logic goes for your photographer as well!

Mistake #2: Not Talking to the Photographer in Person

Not talking to the photographer in person or virtually or at least on the phone: I get it, we are all busy people, and email seems to be the best way to communicate. But it’s so important to get a sense of who your photographer is. When you are able to talk with them face to face, you will see how they interact in person and hear their tone of voice. Are they easy to communicate with? Do they seem fun and easygoing? Are they professional? 

Semi-Mistake #3: Forgetting the Physical Heirlooms

Not considering whether they offer prints. This is not really a “mistake” per se. Many photographers don’t offer this service, and that’s totally OK! If you only want digital files, that’s perfectly fine, too! But if you are someone who is sentimental, love flipping through your parents’ photo albums, value printed tangible heirlooms of your photographs, then this should be important to consider! 

Most of my brides and grooms are busy people. Who has time to choose which photos to include and how to design the album? Who has time to research into which lab to print the photos from? What if the colors print out funky? What if the album starts falling apart after a few years? It can certainly be a daunting task. You know you won’t have time to do it–even if you intend to–and do it well, after the wedding. 

A photographer who also offers professional prints will save you the headache of figuring out which lab to print your photos at, which products will last for generations and become your first ever heirlooms, and even help you design your album or help fill that blank wall in your forever home with sweet and beautiful memories. 

Mistake #4: Being Laser-Focused on Price alone

Not considering much else other than the budget. Yes, that budget is extremely important, but it shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Remember, when the day is over, your spouse and your photographs are pretty much the only things that continue to last after the wedding! When our memories start to fade (even just a month or a year or two after the wedding), what will remind us of that special day? Your spouse and your photographs!

You don’t want to regret your decision years later just because you hired someone who was just “more affordable” or “cheaper”. I am NOT essentially comparing the quality of work amongst photographers at different price points—though that is definitely a factor! What I am trying to say is that the price point should not be the only, nor the most important, factor. If a photographer you really like (after considering all the other points) is not too far off from your original budget, consider rearranging your wedding spendings. 

For example, if you minimize your spendings in less essential areas, you may just be able to save from those areas and invest more in your forever memories! (Tip: We found that most guests don’t care about wedding favors all that much, and they will not miss it if you don’t have any at all.)

Also, why not consider adding wedding photography or photo heirlooms like albums and prints into your wedding registry? Now that’s an idea most couples will not have thought about!

Thank you for reading and feel free to reach out by text or email!

***Remember, you should be able to trust the photographer you hire and be confident that you will love the photos***

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