As a wedding photographer, you wear many hats. You sometimes are the planner, stylist, or server. You are very versatile and always there to help your couples. The more relaxed they are, the better the image result. When we wear the hat of creative planner, your wedding photographer is there to help you gain the end result you are looking for. So how do you find that wedding photographer? I thought back about some of the situations from last year, and tried to compile 7 things, I think, that will help you in your search for a wedding photographer. We encourage you to ask this of us, and every photographer you contact.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER PRIORITIES
The first thing you need to decide is how high a priority your wedding photography is to you. Do you have a tiny budget, no clue about what even happens at weddings, and just want to make sure you capture some memories of our wedding day? Is wedding photography the most important thing to you other than marrying your love? Remember the saying you get what you pay for?
If your wedding photographs are one of your highest priorities factor that into your budget. Knowing and deciding that as a couple will help with your search for a wedding photographer from the beginning. The cheapest option in wedding photography, is 9 times out of 10 the regretful option.
The second piece of information you need to decide before starting your search for a wedding photographer is what you are comfortable spending, and does it fit the cost. Keep in mind that the average cost of a wedding photographer in The Florida Keys and Key West is just over $3000, and premiere wedding photographers can cost twice that. You’ll find cost differences based on where you live in the U.S., but none of that holds true in a destination wedding.
Remember the saying you get what you pay for? In case you didn’t realize there is a difference between a $500 photographer and $2500 photographer. Photographers have a formula for how they price out your wedding. Someone charging the high end is a full time professional, where the low end could just be a bartender with a camera. Don’t haggle over price with your wedding photographer, but, there can be some exceptions. For example if your friend and her fiance were planning a destination wedding in France. When they found a photographer they loved who was out of their price range, they explained their situation. The photographer might choose to cut his price because the wedding was abroad and a few days in the South of France sounds appealing! Be upfront with your prospective photographer, give them as much info as you can, and have an open mind.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many couples don’t do basic research into wedding photographers before they hire one. Many couples price shop, instead of image shop. This can lead to you not getting what you want image wise, and then regretting your choice. You can’t call for a do over.
All wedding photographers are not created equal, whether you’re talking about budget, service or style. Spend some time at your computer looking through the portfolios of wedding photographers in your area. Make notes of what you like and dislike in the various wedding photos you see. Talk with your fiance about what you both want to see in your wedding photographs, both immediately and fifty years from now, and which photographers really pull you in. We are always complimented on our documentary style with our candids and real emotion. Genuine and natural images, yet if someone wanted coverage similar to a high fashion catalog photoshoot, we probably wouldn’t be your photographer.
It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t replicate someone else’s wedding photos exactly, even if you hire the same photographer. Different settings, light and details will produce very different photographs. If you’re considering a photographer because of their bright, glowing photographs in every image, ask to see a full gallery. This will show you the flow and entire day. Many times the images you see on a portfolio are heavily edited, and don’t reflect what the actual day looked like. You want to match your expectation.
A SHOT LIST OR NOT
You’re probably going to read in many places and books that you should compile a list of photographs you want your photographer to definitely get on your wedding day. It’s common advice that couples should compile one to make sure you get what you want, but don’t worry, we send you one to fill out. Some photographers find this helpful, and some want you to trust them to capture the whole wedding without being micromanaged.
In my opinion, there should be a happy medium between the two. If you have a special relationship with your grandmother or niece or nephew, that’s something to say to your photographer to let them know that you’d like photographs of or with them. But you might not need to make a list of every single photograph you think your photographer should take on the day. And if that’s what you would prefer, you might want to look for a photographer who likes to work that way.
The best way to find out if your photographer will be a good fit for you is to meet them in person, Skype, or at least talk on the phone. Sometimes, just emailing back and forth doesn’t give you a good sense of the photographer’s style or personality, and vice versa. I like to chat with couples to make sure everyone is on the same page before any contracts are signed. We have to be able to mesh, as that is what produces lasting images that are unique.
ITS CONTRACT TIME
We have a standard contract that can be tweaked based on your specific needs or circumstances. We go over our policies, payment policy, delivery, etc. We encourage you to read your contract, so that you understand the services we will provide. This is good to know so that you know what might happen in the event of bad weather, cancellation, and overtime coverage for when your contracted time is up, and you need more.