They asked, you said yes, and ever since, you’ve been walking around on cloud nine, amazed that you get to spend the rest of your days with this wonderful human. It’s a pretty awesome moment in time – you should take a moment and soak it in.
Feels good, right?
Okay, I want you to remember that feeling. Because that’s the feeling you should have when you look back on all of the photos from your wedding day. Grateful, excited, a little emotional, and totally, totally in love.
So, how do you get there from here?
How do you choose the right wedding photographer for you?
After 7+ years as a wedding photographer, I want to take a moment to chime in. Obviously, everyone has different priorities, different tastes, and a different vision for their day. But after talking to many couples over the years, I’ve streamlined what I think choosing the right wedding photographer is really all about.
So, without any further delay, here are some of the most important factors:
4. Understanding Price and Value
When you begin planning your big day, sit down and discuss what aspects are most important to each of you. Everyone has different priorities, and that’s OK.
If photographs and memories are significant for you, you will likely want to reserve a decent part of your budget for wedding photography.
Wedding photographers in the United States (as of 2020) have a wide range of starting prices. Many professionals range from $2,000 – $7,000+ for their starting packages. It all depends on experience, location, style, and package value.
When comparing prices, don’t just shop for that price tag.
Consider for a moment, that you are in many cases, paying the owner of a company for an entire day of their expertise. On top of that, the price they quote you covers the expense of far more than the average 8 hour day of wedding photography. It also covers the cost of their time in editing, gallery hosting, software expenses, gear purchasing + upkeep, continued education, insurance, and more. I don’t want to spend too much time on this – it’s not a soapbox, but it is a good reminder as you look at package price.
When it comes to packages, everyone differs. Some of us are very inclusive with our packages, and offer 2nd photographers, albums, engagement sessions, and more. Others, simply offer excellent day of coverage, editing, and your digital or print images.
By and large you’ll be getting quite a few images from your day. I would venture to say that most professional photographers average about 100 images an hour on a wedding day, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the given event. Check in with your photographer. Ask what their average gallery includes, how it will be delivered, and if there is anything else included in the package that isn’t clearly listed.
Wedding days are intense for photographers. We’re with you non-stop, helping coach, pose, prep, fluff, and delegate. A seasoned wedding photographer knows what to expect, and can arrive fully prepared for the unexpected.
While ours is an industry where portfolio speaks just as loudly as resume, and a single season can teach you a LOT, wedding photography is not for the faint of heart. And when you’re choosing your photographer, you’ll want to check their portfolio for variety (a variety of locations, couples, lighting scenarios, etc.). If their website or blog isn’t extensive, don’t hesitate to ask to see some of their client galleries. This will give you real insight into what you can expect, both in terms of image count, consistency of work, and technical proficiency.
Things to keep an eye out for:
1. Focus – Are images sharp, with the focal point actually in focus, or is the focus somewhere in the background or off to the side of the image when the action is clearly front and center.
2. Exposure – This ties into style a little bit, but typically a good rule is to look at their skin tones. Can you see what people are doing in the images, are key details blown out? Wedding dresses are tricky to photograph in bright sunlight, and if it’s not something they’re used to doing, many novice photographers will miss the mark.
3. Composition – Do the images in their portfolio speak to you artistically? Do they use negative space in a way that you like? Are they all about close, intimate images? Do they incorporate establishing shots? Ideally, in my opinion, you’ll want a blend of wide shots and intimate shots from a wedding photographer. You want the overall story to be captured, as well as the soft moments and the details.
4. Reviews – Yep, look around a bit. Do they have reviews easily accessible on their website? How about Google, Facebook, or services like The Knot? Not everyone is listed everywhere, but a professional who has REAL clients, should have at least a few reviews available for you. And, they should be good! 😉
2. Make Sure You LOVE Their STYLE
This is HUGE.
Style, ultimately, is what differentiates most photographers, once you get past experience and technical skill. It’s a complex dynamic that makes each and every one of their images look and feel a certain way. It develops and changes over time (as we grow and play with our craft), although a consistent style is often the mark of a true, confident professional.
Photographic style can (for this purpose*) be boiled down to 2 main points:
1. Visual Aesthetics
2. Storytelling Style
*If you wanna get into it, artistically speaking, style is way more nuanced. But we’re not focused on an art degree right now, we’re trying to find your wedding photographer…
So, let’s dive in:
The way in which photographers visually tell your story is equally important. Some photographers are much more posed, traditional, and in some cases, rigid. Others focus on candids, photojournalism, lifestyle photography, and moment-driven images. Then, there are photographers like us who are a combination of these techniques, choosing to pose for some images, give prompts, and encourage actions. We also provide a 2nd photographer on your wedding day, to ensure candids of you and your guests are caught as they happen in real time. The end product is somewhat editorial, which a variety of elegant, polished images, as well as artistic, playful, and poignant moments that truly document the story of your day.
In the gallery below, we’ve shared a few examples of style as shown by some of our favorite local photographers work (including our own, so you can see where we fit in). If you’re drawn to their aesthetic, go check them out! We highly recommend them all!
1. Dig Their Personality
This piece of the puzzle gets overlooked a lot, but it’s genuinely important.
Think about it:
You’re going to be spending one of the most meaningful days of your life with this person (or these people) all day long. Yeah. That’s kind of big.
So, you want to find a photographer whom you feel comfortable with. Someone who potentially has similar interests, similar humor, or at the very least, makes you feel really secure in their ability to provide stellar service.
For example, if you know you and your partner are particularly Type A, you’ll likely want to choose a photographer who’s clear that they’ll be providing you with a detailed timeline, a firm game plan (while still maintaining flexibility for the unforeseen changes that are inherent in every wedding day), and lot of advanced communication.
If you’re fairly go with the flow and Type B, you may not be into a super Type A photographer. It could make you feel claustrophobic.
Most of us (at least the good ones), are a great blend of both. Professional, organized, detail oriented, and able to have a good time with you leading up to and during your big day. But you have to know yourselves first, and then trust your instincts when it comes to whether or not you’ll jive with your photographer.
Here at BlueVerve Studio, we really want to get to know you along the way. We want to make sure we can make you laugh and genuinely smile, and we want to know enough about your love story to be able to do it justice. To catch the details that have history, to understand why you have a patch of fabric sewn to the inside of your dress, or why your bridesmaids sang Ginuwine while you got ready.
Thanks for reading – we hope we’ve helped you narrow down the key points to consider when choosing your wedding photographer.
If you have any questions for us about our services, or just wanna chat, feel free to drop a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
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