Tips for Picking Your Wedding Photographer
As you begin planning the wedding you've dreamed of since you were little, you'll going to find there are a lot more decisions that need to be made than you likely thought.
You're first decisions will go hand in hand and be somewhat based on each other - the date and the venue. Once you have figured that one out, the next most likely decision will be in regards to your photographer.
What should you ask or look for in a wedding photographer? Here's some simple starting points that can help guide you to the right person.
Style in photography defines the mood of the images - everything from framing to processing. You'll hear or read lots of "keywords" describing style, so here's the top ones and what they mean to you.
Traditional - Traditional wedding photography is, well, traditional. You'll find that colors are natural and true, backgrounds are well exposed and posing is in tune with long held wedding photography. It is a lasting and tested form of photography that looks as great today as it will years from now.
Natural Light - This one you'll see a lot. Basically, it means using the available light for your images. Natural light photography tends to be very soft lighting mostly in the shade or using the sun to rim light the subject. You'll want to verify that your potential photographer can also use flash though.
Creative - Creative photography is simply doing things a little different. It could be in posing or it could be in using light. Almost all photographers have a creative side to them, so this will apply to most.
Photojournalistic - This is one of those hot catch phrases. Picture a newspaper reporter shooting a wedding. You'll tend to get wider views of the day with a documentary feel to them.
When choosing a photographer, ideally, you'll want someone who's images tell the story of the day in a combination of consistent, but different ways.
Finding a photographer with a personality that fits your's is one the toughest things to do. Why? Most couples don't meet their photographer prior to their wedding day or engagement session, which is well after the contract is signed. I suggest you meet with anyone you are considering. And, here's why.
You're going to have this person close by for the better part of your wedding and reception. Sometimes they'll hang back in the shadows and sometimes they're front and center and involved in the moment. You want someone you are at ease around and someone your bridal party and guests are comfortable being around also.
In addition, they should bring a little something to the table. Are they funny? Can they lighten the mood? Are they aggressive in getting things done and being on time? Are they flexible if you run behind on hair and make up? Can they relax through some of the time constraints or do they lose their mind?
This is where personality comes into play.
Tools for the Job
The "tools" are two part. One, as you have guessed, is their gear. Name brand shouldn't be a huge concern here. What should be a concern is what they bring to your cover your wedding day. At minimum, any wedding photographer should have the following:
- At least 2 camera bodies, preferably with dual cards slots for image duplication
- Several lenses that provide some overlap in focal length
- Flash equipment (more than one speed light and the ability to get it off camera)
- Plenty of memory cards
Why 2 bodies and multiple lenses? Things happen. Cameras die, lenses break. What happens if their only camera dies as you are walking down the aisle?
Why multiple lenses? Same as above. We all have our favorite lenses, but if it goes down, we have to be able to keep shooting.
Why dual slots? Memory cards fail. By having dual slots, you have 2 copies of all the images immediately. If one cards goes down, you can continue to shoot until you have time to switch out the card.
Why flash equipment and why off camera? Flash equipment allows the natural light to be supplemented when needed. It also becomes the main light source when the lights go down (think reception). The ability to get it off the camera gives flexibility in creating those epic wedding images as well as allowing exact placement of the light on the subject.
The second part is experience. While important, I think experience is a touch overdone. Any professional photographer shooting weddings will have the confidence that they can shoot any situation - light, dark, hot, cold, rain. They also should have a pretty good sense of being able to walk into a situation and create sight unseen.
In my opinion, the experience part plays into managing the day. Being able to get the schedule back on track if something runs behind. Knowing where in the ceremony you are and where you need to be to capture the kiss and the exit. It's about general knowledge of the wedding day flow.
I put this one at the bottom of the list for a reason.
Everyone has a budget and I understand that. I also understand that, second only to the day you become a parent, your wedding day will be the biggest event of your life.
You've spent a lot of money on your dress, the venue, the dinner. Be nice to remember it, wouldn't it? I advocate staying within your budget, but also suggest you be willing to go a little over for the right photographer. The job we do as professionals will last longer than anything else on your wedding day.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my tips for your wedding photography. If you are interested in my services, contact me and let's connect! I would love to be part pf your wedding day and providing you with those memories that last a lifetime and beyond!
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