It’s a jigsaw puzzle, planning a wedding. And I don’t mean one of those big block, 24 piece puzzles you put together as a child. This puzzle has a thousand moving parts, all of varying shapes and sizes, and a seemingly endless combination of colors, details, venues and choices. And for most people, there are no smaller puzzles to practice on. Planning a wedding can be stressful and time-consuming. And so to help alleviate some of that stress and try to make the entire photography portion of your wedding planning feel a bit smoother and hopefully a lot more fun, we’ve compiled a step by step process for Selecting & Working with your Wedding Photographer.
- Searching for Vendors
- Consultation Meeting
- Save the Date or Engagement Sessions
- Bridal Session
- Wedding Day
- Post Wedding Process
We will be exploring each of the items on our list in more detail in the coming weeks – each week focusing on one particular step in the wedding photography process. Of course, this is only our opinion – but a very well thought-out idea we’ve spent many, many years forming! This week’s blog tips for you future bride & grooms is something you probably know a lot about already – How do you know when you’ve found – the one! The Wedding Photographer!
Find Wedding Vendors
First of all, throw out that old myth that you need to find the “ideal” wedding photographer. The “perfect” wedding photographer – in truth, does not exist. Now that’s not to say you won’t love your photographer; it just means that everyone has a different view of what they feel is “ideal.” But having said that, there are certain things to keep in mind when doing your research when placing those first calls and making your first face-to-face visits. And actually, some of these tips will apply to all of your wedding vendors – not just your wedding photographer.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STYLE
First of all, you want to look for a photographer with a style that matches your own. If you’re unsure as to what your style is, ask yourself “Do I like what I see?” “Can I picture myself in these wedding photos?” “Would I be proud to have this album as my own?” If you answered yes to all of these, then there’s a good chance your styles will meld well. But you may want to go a little deeper and pay attention to the images they present. “Do I prefer the formal portrait style images or the candid photos?” “Do I want a lot of Photoshop in my pictures or a more realistic appearance?” “Do I want someone who is directing us on how to pose or just following the day and capturing it as it unfolds?” All of these questions have multiple layers within them, but it’s a good idea to explore your thoughts on each. Finally, its next to impossible these days to find someone who isn’t an “award-winning wedding photographer“. Make sure you explore exactly what that means and the criteria for their awards.
Secondly, you want to find a good wedding photographer who is also a good storyteller. What does this mean? Well, when you’re looking at their portfolio of work, do you get a sense of who the couples in the images are? Can you decipher from the pictures more than just a general feeling of the day? Do you get a sense of completion when you get to the end of an album or does something feel missing? A good storyteller is important, but the key is to find a photographer who can tell your story. And to do that, there are some additional things consider.
Take note of how well they listen to your requests? Are they accommodating to your requests? Do they ask questions about who you are and what’s important to you? Are they interested in getting to know you or are they in a hurry to move on to their next client? How they interact with you during your conversations, meetings and sessions are all good indicators of how accurately they will tell your story, so pay attention!
Ask yourself if their work is consistent? Don’t assume that all of their work will be as high quality as the one album they present to you. Any photographer, no matter what their experience level, can have one lucky day, one decent album to show potential clients. Ask to see more and pay attention to the consistency of their work. Of course with time and experience, we all get better, but you want to make sure the work they are showing you is the same caliber of work you can expect to receive on your wedding day. You may not need a wedding photography specialist but if you want the best, find yourself a master wedding photographer. Look for external certification that proves they’re competence.
Personality is key! Besides your fiance, your wedding photographer will be the person by your side the entire day of the wedding. So make sure the three of you feel some chemistry in your meetings and pre-wedding day sessions.
WORD OF MOUTH
References or testimonials from past clients will help a lot in your wedding photographer selection (as well as any other vendors you end up booking.) A photographer’s website or blog will often post client testimonials, but if they don’t – it can’t hurt to ask them for some references. Also, wedding planning sites such as TheKnot.com, weddingchannel.com, stylemepretty.com, are all great ways of finding additional information about your potential wedding vendor. And if none of these options yield any answers, try googling the vendor’s name and see if anything comes up. Sometimes you’ll find an ecstatic former bride who has reviewed her wedding vendors on her blog. Hopefully, it’s all good information, but if she’s got something negative to say, take it with a grain of salt, but don’t dismiss it entirely.
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
It should go without saying, but sometimes, it must be said – The last thing you want to skimp on is your wedding photography. Be willing to spend some money. When the wedding day comes to an end, the images from your photographer will be there to let you relive the entire day, detail by tiny perfect detail – anytime you want.
We want you to have that dream team of vendors on your wedding day, a group of individuals dedicated to providing you with everything you’ve dreamt of leading to your big day. And hopefully, our weekly tips for the bride to be will help you achieve that goal. Check back in with us next week for a run-down on Your First Vendor Consultation Meeting!