In recent years, choosing a wedding photographer has become a seemingly daunting task. The status of ‘professional photographer’ (mega finger quotage happening here) has become such an easy reach for so many people that anxious brides-to-be are simply overwhelmed with options. Many wonder what to base their search on – budget, experience, photographic style? Or, do we take uncle Bob’s offer to capture our wedding with his “nice camera” in lieu of a wedding gift? Trust me when I say that I’ve heard all the horror stories – “16 months and I still haven’t seen my photos,” or “my sisters wedding photographer lost all their pictures and has been waiting for someone to try to recover the data from the card.” Then there is the graphic design nightmares – my favourite being the [somehow still requested] selective colour technique, and – of course – the vignette from hell. Common, the 1980’s called!!! Guys, I am absolutely begging you to save yourself from this headache!
While, I’m not here to sell other photographers (just being honest…), my goal is to give you some food for thought and to, hopefully, help you make this decision a little easier!
DON’T CHEAP OUT
Firstly, cheaping out should not be isn’t an option… unless the quality, safety and timeliness of your wedding photo delivery is not important to you (which, I assume and sincerely hope is not the case). Expect to pay more than $2000 for the most simple package that a reputable photographer offers. Why? Ok, legit question! The majority of a photographers work is behind the scenes, which can go completely unnoticed. So, just consider all the pre-wedding preparation and post-processing work that needs to take place in order for your special day to go smoothly. Wedding photographers need to plan their logistics for the wedding day, clean and charge their expensive primary (and back-up) equipment, require a reliable vehicle (which also begs all too often for fuel). They need a powerful computer at home, or in their office, that is equipped with top of the line editing software and plenty of digital storage to back-up your memories for years to come. Some photographers spend a lot of time paying for training in their field, and don’t forget, for every hour your photographer spends shooting at your wedding, they will spend an additional hour processing, editing, and presenting your photographs. There an 8 hour day, turns easily into a 16-18 hour job. It’s obvious that a photographer can’t do anything without their equipment, but what might not be obvious is that a professionals collection usually tallies near $15,000 on average – not including equipment insurance. A photographers job is definitely not over when they say goodnight on your wedding day, and it definitely does not begin when they arrive with bells on in the morning either. Keep that in mind, but also remind yourself that there are tons of hidden costs to ensure they are completely ready to capture your big day.
WHERES THE CHEMISTRY?
No, not like a science experiment! Some people say a photographers work speaks for itself, and – in this case – you could quite simply select your photographer based off of their portfolio alone. Are they available on your wedding day? Yes!? Sweet! Done!… ummm, NO! Freeze right there! Don’t get me wrong, you definitely must love the photographers portfolio before anything else. Unless you have a serious photographic long term memory, then you want someone who can capture your day in a way that you will love (and, on a side note, if this memory saint is you, have it be known that 99% of the world is completely jealous of you – including me). If you are of the 99% of the world mentioned (the kind without this photographic LTM), then these are going to be the memories you are left with from your big day. So yes, loving your photographers work is just as important as ensuring you get along with your photographer too! I’m not saying you have to feel like there is no way you aren’t long lost siblings at your initial meet up, but finding that conversation flows easy is definitely a great start! Be reminded that not only will you be spending many hours on your wedding day with this person, but you are also hiring this person to capture intimate moments shared between you and your fiance. You can find the Annie Lebovitz of wedding photography, but if he/she annoys you in any way, and you make the wrong decision to politely overlook that fact, then the only person who is going to suffer is you.
Wedding photography is not as easy as it may seem, and cannot be taken on be anyone with a ‘nice camera’ (because, from what many seem to forget, it’s not the camera that does all the work)! When choosing your wedding photographer, you are choosing the professional that is going to creatively capture your special day, in a manner that leaves you free from concern. Hire someone with experience. Hire someone who started at the bottom, and worked their way up. Hire someone who has a mentor, or has been mentored by a professional. Do your research, ask a lot of questions, and get the best quality you can fit into your budget.
Good luck, friends! Thanks for reading + don’t forget to comment below!