TIPS FOR CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
#1 DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Doing a little research on your wedding photographer can help you find a wedding photographer, who is great match to photograph your wedding day. I would suggest looking at the websites of a number of photographers, in order to see who's artist style interests you the most, choose your favorite 2 or 3 photographers, and then schedule a time to meet with them in person. If you can't meet with them in person, then I highly recommend talking with them over the phone or Skype.
#2 DO YOU LOVE THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S ARTISTIC STYLE?
Some wedding photographers offer a variety of artistic styles, while others specialize in one certain look. Those photographers who can do a wider range of looks will give you the most variety. So look at each photographers work to see if they are capable of consistently producing an artistic style that you love, and also look to see if they can produce a variety of styles. In wedding photography there are several genres of wedding photography, i.e. fine art, photojournalism, traditional, fashion style. I believe couples are better off choosing a photographer who has mastered all genres of wedding photography.
#3 CHECK THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE
Many couples make the mistake of not asking how much experience the photographer has photographing weddings. But, do you want someone learning to photograph weddings at your wedding? There are many situations that we wedding photographers must deal with, from less than ideal lighting, less than ideal locations. An experienced wedding photographer will be able to create beautiful images no matter how difficult the lighting, or how ordinary the location.
#4 ASK FOR A PRICE LIST
Don't be afraid to ask for a price list, especially if you have a limited budget. Wedding photography prices can be all over the place, but be careful not to choose on price alone, because if you choose on price alone, then you will most likely be disappointed with the quality of your wedding photography. The best advice I can give you is to choose the best photographer you can afford.
#5 ASK TO SEE THE IMAGES FROM AN ENTIRE WEDDING
#6 SEE WHAT PRODUCTS ARE OFFERED
Make sure your photographer offers a good variety of albums and other products that you are interested in. Due to the storytelling nature of wedding photography, a beautiful wedding album is great way to showcase your wedding for you enjoy for the rest of your life. Wall portraits are great for decorating your walls with images of your special day. If you want to print your own images, then make sure the photographer offers the high resolution files with prints rights.
#7 FIND OUT WHAT SERVICES ARE INCLUDED, AND WHAT YOU MUST PAY EXTRA FOR
Some photographers have a cheap base price to lure you in, and then charge extra for everything. Want retouching, that costs extra. Want the high resolution files, that costs extra. Want a pre-wedding planning session, that costs extra. Travel to your wedding costs extra, even when it is close to the photographer’s business location. By the time you add up all the extra costs, the photographer you thought was a good value, might end up costing as much, or more than the better photographer that you loved.
#8 WHAT IS THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S PHOTOGRAPHIC APPROACH?
It is very important to know how your photographer will photograph your wedding day. Some photographers come well before the ceremony to capture most of the posed images, so the wedding couple and their guests aren't waiting long for the reception to start. Some photographers are very efficient capturing the group photographs, so that taking those images isn't drawn out for a long time. Some photographers are great at capturing the real moments beautifully as they unfold before them, yet others must at times restage images that they missed.
#9 I WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT HIRING A NATURAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Today more than ever I see photographers claiming to be natural light photographers. Such a claim should concern anyone hiring any of these photographers, because what do they do when lighting is bad, when the sunlight it straight over head, when the wedding takes place in a dark church, or the reception is in a barn or late in the evening. I have photographed over 900 weddings over the years, and can tell you from personal experience that quite often I would not have been able to create beautiful images without own lighting equipment. I'm an available light photographer, if the natural light is beautiful, then I will take full advantage of it to create beautiful wedding photographs. But, if the natural lighting is to harsh, non-existent, or is coming from direction, then I will use my lighting equipment to create beautiful lighting in any situation, guaranteeing great photography no matter the lighting or location. If someone is truly a professional photographer, then why wouldn't they use all the tools available to created the best images?
#10 BEWARE OF PHOTOGRAPHY MILLS
Watch out for “wedding photography mills” where you talk to a salesperson, view the best sample images from their large team of photographers, and end up stuck with one of the photographers who is available the day of your wedding. One easy tip-off: If their portfolio looks good, their prices are unbelievably low, and they promise to “match” you with your photographer as your date gets closer, you’re probably dealing with a mill. There is nothing wrong with wedding photographers having a team of photographers. But, never book a photographer unless you can meet with, and see the work the photographer who will be assigned to your wedding first.
#11 BEWARE OF SHOOT & BURN PHOTOGRAPHERS
Watch out for "shoot & burn" photographers. This type of wedding photographer will photograph your wedding, then return home to offload the images, and burn a disc without any color correction, without any exposure adjustment, without any image enhancement, without any retouching. What you will end up with is a disc of off color images that look weird, images without optimal exposure adjustment, no enhancement to bring out the details, no retouching to make you look great. When you print these you will very disappointed in the results. So, how do you know you are dealing with a shoot & burner? Their prices are unbelievably low, and they don't usually offer prints or albums. Quite often these photographers already have a full-time job and photography is a sideline, so they don't have time to spend 30 hours making your images look fantastic.