There’s thousands of choices and if you’re anything like 99% of the couples getting married, finding the right wedding photographer can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re struggling to find the perfect fit for your day or just don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to hire the right wedding photographer for your special day.
I attend about 4-5 wedding vendor shows every year and when excited brides come to my booth to see if I’m the right fit for their dream wedding, I always begin by saying this. “I might not be the right wedding photographer for you, but let’s find out.” Even more than I would like to capture your love story, I want to make sure you have the best team of vendors supporting you on your special day – even if that vendor isn’t me. But how do you find that right fit?
There’s two important things that come into play when evaluating your favorite “style” of photography. The first is how a photographer edits. As you begin searching you’ll hear the terms “light & airy” and “dark & moody” thrown around a lot. This pertains to the way a photographer edits their photos. Are they bright and light? Or darker with more contrast? Some photographers (like I believe myself to be) are a bit more in the middle with a good mix of contrast and true-to-color edits. Knowing your favorite editing style will help narrow your photographer selections.
The second part about determining your style has to do with the way a photographer poses and frames their subjects. Some photographers are very pose-heavy. This means that they will tell you exactly where to put your hands, turn your head, and plant your feet. While other photographers are very “go-with-the-flow.” This style will result in more candid images with less direction from the photographer during portraits. Again, I’m somewhere in between both of these styles. I really want to capture images that are “wall-hanger” worthy with a bit more posing involved. However, I also want to make sure the entire wedding day isn’t surrounded by your photos. You should be able to live in the moment while I capture the candid moments.
How do you figure out a photographer’s style? Research. Ask them for a full wedding gallery. Is it full of posed images or candid moments? Is there a mix of both? What does their editing look like? Is it heavy and dark or bright and airy? Can you see yourself enjoying a gallery like the one the photographer shared with you for the rest of your life? These are all important questions to ask yourself before signing the contract with a photographer.
A huge piece of advice for newly engaged couples is to sit down and make a list of the most important to the least important vendors you want to hire for your wedding. Are you willing to spend more on a photographer or on your catering? Usually, a priorities list would look something like this:
Your priorities might be in a different order. Make that list so you know which areas to allocate more time and money. If photography is higher on that list, be sure to allocate a larger portion of your overall budget to your photographer. (See a list of my favorite wedding vendors in the Sioux Falls, SD area here.)
You’re going to spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than you will with your spouse. MAKE SURE YOU LIKE THEM. Besides your getting ready crew, the photographer is one of the first vendors you see on your wedding day. A photographer is often times the one giving direction and helping maintain a timeline on your wedding day. Be sure your personalities click.
When you are interviewing potential wedding photographers for your day, ask them questions about their personal life. Get to know their sense of humor and the way they speak to you and people they don’t know. Do you think they will fit in well with your bridal party and family members? If you can’t tell from their website and emails, see if you can set up a coffee date with the photographer.
If you evaluate all of these criteria before signing a contract, you’ll be sure to hire the right wedding photographer. One last piece of advice: once you’ve signed with a photographer, unfollow and disconnect from every other photographer you were looking at. This will help you overcome buyer’s remorse. I actually suggest doing this with every wedding-related item. Once you say yes to your wedding dress, don’t keep looking on Pinterest. After you book a caterer, don’t keep trying other food. Stick to your gut decisions and don’t look back. That’s how you’ll be sure to hire the right wedding photographer and, overall, the right wedding vendors.
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