Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

After choosing your venue the next most important task is finding the perfect wedding photographer.  A great photographer is hard to get so you should book one well in advance.  They can only book one wedding per day so you want to be sure it is yours.  According to Anna Pumer of Stylist.Co  

 “Do not scrimp on your photography budget. The photos are the lasting memories of the day, and so many couples are left upset and disappointed because they chose a cheap photographer who didn’t capture the emotion of the day and missed all the important moments. A professional photographer will also have invested in the best kit and will put in the time and effort to make sure your wedding photos are incredible – and this includes hours of post-processing to really make them shine. Cheap photographers will just ‘shoot and burn’ – giving you flat, dull, unedited photos. You should put aside at least 10% of your wedding budget for the photography, and make sure you look at your prospective photographers’ portfolios, and even ask to see a wedding in full to make sure they didn’t just get lucky on a few shots.”

Finding the right photographer is very important so don’t be fooled by a few of the things some of them use as selling points.  According to Kara Walgreen of the Huffington Post (click for the complete article) here are a few things to avoid… 

  1. “This studio shoots 300 weddings a year!”Experience is a must — you don’t want a photographer using your wedding for practice. But busier isn’t always better. If someone shoots 100+ weddings in a year, either they’re shooting back-to-back events every single weekend, or they’re hiring associate photographers to fill their shoes……Make sure you know who will be holding the camera on your wedding day, and that they’re committed to treating you like a VIP no matter how many other clients they have.
  2. “She’s running an insane sale!”
    I planned my wedding on a shoestring budget, so I wore a $400 wedding gown in order to afford my first-choice photographer. My reasoning? The right photographer can make a budget dress look breathtaking, but the wrong photographer can make a Yumi Katsura look tacky. .. It’s not a bargain if you hate your photos…..  But don’t let a deep discount be your deciding factor. Good wedding photographers pay taxes, carry insurance and invest in high-end gear and professional-grade printing. So before you cut corners with a dirt-cheap photographer, ask yourself where they cut corners.
  3. “The venue recommended him!”
    Early in my career, I shot a wedding at a gorgeous local venue and asked the coordinator if I could drop off a sample album for him to show his future clients. He told me I could — for a price….I didn’t realize that some venues sell spots on their “preferred vendor” lists. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every venue ……always double-check recommendations against friends, online reviews and your wedding planner before plunking down a deposit.
  4. “He’s family!”
    Maybe you have a cousin, or an uncle or a friend  and they’ve offered to shoot your wedding for freeeeee!— just because your friend takes beautiful photos of sleeping babies, it doesn’t mean she knows how to light a pitch-black reception venue. When you’re choosing a wedding photographer, choose a wedding photographer
  5. “Her portfolio is ahh-maaa-zing!”
    Okay, this is actually a really good reason to book a wedding photographer! But it shouldn’t be your only Email the photographer and set up an in-person meeting. Remember, your photographer will probably spend more time by your side on your wedding day than your own mom,… make sure your personalities click before you invite him or her along for one of the most important days of your life.

OK so we know what we shouldn’t look for but what should we look for?  According to (click for the complete article)  here are 10 steps to choosing your best photographer 

Step 1: Settle on a Style – Before you begin researching photographers, you’ll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer, as that will help determine which kind of photographer you’ll want shooting your wedding.

Step 2: Do Your Homework – Start your search by reading reviews from recent newlyweds and browsing hundreds of local listings. Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot, which will give you an idea of their style.

Step 3: Set Up Interviews – This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone—you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their site—and their fees are in your ballpark range—call to see if they’re available for your wedding date. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh

Step 4: See a Few Full Wedding Albums – Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they’ve shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding.

Step 5: Review Albums With a Critical Eye – When reviewing a photographer’s album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that’s the style you’re after).

Step 6: Make Sure Your Personalities Mesh – Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it?

Step 7: Confirm Your Shooter(s) – Many larger photo studios have more than one photographer on staff, and unless you specify it in your contract, the lead photographer may not be the one shooting your day. Since every professional has a different style, technique and personality, you need to make sure the one you interview and “click” with will be the same one who works your wedding.

Step 8: Compare Packages – When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographer’s standard “shooting fee” and package, plus their standard rates for the type of album you think you’ll want and the amount of coverage you’re hoping to book them for (day of, full weekend).

Step 9: Ask About Your Rights – Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can’t just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them.

Step 10: Get the Post production Details –  Here’s what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want?

—Special thanks to Duke Photography, Todd France, Jen Kroll Photography, Salvatore Cincotta Photography and Mel Barlow & Co.

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