As many couples become engaged over Christmas and New Years, this time of year gets dubbed as the wedding planning season. Back when my husband and I were engaged, I joked that if we could just get through wedding planning, we'd have smooth sailing for our marriage. Or was that just picking the items for our gift registry?? Either way. ;)
It can be very overwhelming as you start
However, I wanted to offer a few tips for just one area that means a lot to me: choosing a wedding photographer. From a photographers' perspective.
#1: Talent and Expertise
The most important thing to consider is the photographer's talent and expertise. Many times this is not shown by having photographed XX number of weddings, but the quality of images from each wedding they have photographed.
There's this funny thing about weddings... family and friends come together and celebrate on this one day that is centered around you, the bride and groom. It's a once-in-a-lifetime day of joy and happiness. If you should choose a photographer that fails capture this wonderful, yet fleeting day, there's no re-do.
Four out of five times when I let it slip in conversation that I am a wedding photographer, the other person has to tell me about a horrible experience of theirs, one of their friends, even family members. Stories that would be nightmares to me: no-shows on the wedding day, no communication for 6 months after the wedding day, up to re-renting tuxes and hiring another photographer to capture a mock wedding. Ack!
So, whether the photographer has 100 weddings or 10 weddings under his or her belt, make sure you are comfortable with their talent level and expertise for capturing your very special day.
Hire a photographer that you would consider having as a personal friend. Make sure your personalities mesh.
Honestly, your wedding photographer spends more time with you, the bride and groom, on your wedding day than even your bridal party. I always tell my potential clients in consultations this very fact... and then "if you don't like, don't hire me!" Heh. Maybe that's why some never respond... ;)
Those big group photos with your crazy aunts and uncles that you've been dreading? The right photographer can keep the whole process light and fun, while still keeping control and moving efficiently. Same with the bridal party.
Once again, make sure the photographer you choose is one that you enjoy as a person. If you have a grand time in the consultation, laughing, chatting, etc, good chance that you'll love having him or her around for your entire wedding day.
Finally, consider the investment required.
It's hard to compare photographers because we are all so different... in our style, our service, our personalities, and the products we offer. It is not necessarily apples to apples.
If you have found a photographer who's images simply "wow" you, you have met him or her and are impressed by their personality and service, then it is time to look at the packages or collections and what you'll be receiving to remember your day.
We all would like to have a wedding photography budget of $20,000, but that is not realistic. Be honest with yourselves... and with your photographer. I find it most helpful if the couple tells me their budgeted number during the consultation. If you need to stay within a certain limit, let us know. We appreciate that, I promise, and there is no shame in telling a vendor that you simply adore their work, but don't have the budget for it.
Many times we might have a few tricks up our sleeves, like gift registry or payment plans that can help manage the investment, so be sure to ask about those.
Happy wedding planning!
Like these images? See Mike & Amanda's original post here.
Have another great tip that helped you or a friend/family member in choosing a photographer? Let me know in the comments below!
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