We all know weddings are expensive. You are investing a lot into a day of celebration. It's stressful making sure you have the best of the best for your special day. Here are seven helpful tips to follow when selecting a photographer for your wedding day.
1. Decide if you want a larger company or a smaller one-on-one experience.
There are a lot of options for you to choose from. It's understandable you might get overwhelmed. The first step to consider is whether you want a larger company with multiple employees or a smaller, boutique company that is run by one or two people. There is no right or wrong choice. It's simply what fits your needs the best. Some couples feel more comfortable with a larger company to interact with people that handle specific areas of the business (example, sales rep, office manager, photographer, product sales rep, etc). Being Joy Photography (BJP) is what would be considered a boutique photography company. All client interactions go through me throughout the entire process to make it a more personable, one-on-one experience.
2. Think about the style of photos you are most drawn to.
Photography styles ebbs and flows. They are constantly changing with the trends. However, there are four types of photography that have been around for some time now: matte, light and airy, classic and colorful and film. To generalize, matte photography has a darker, intimate style with lots of contrast and shadows where the colors are not quite as vibrant. Light and airy is well, light and airy. The photos are slightly over exposed and colors are slightly pulled back to reveal an airy look. Classic and colorful is my style. Close to what the eye sees with bright, bold colors and a balanced contrast. Film photography is a whole different specialty. It can look like the three styles above, but it is a different median with a slightly grainy look at times. There are only a small percentage of photographers that still shoot film for weddings.
3. Meet your potential photographer in person.
Once you have found a potential photographer or two that looks promising after viewing their website, schedule an in-person consultation to meet with them to make sure your personalities mesh. Other than your significant other, this is the person that will be with you most on your wedding day. It's important you actually like having them around!
4. Ask to see a full wedding.
It is always a good idea to see one or two examples of full wedding day coverage to make sure you appreciate your potential photographer's style and flow from daytime to nighttime as well as through each specific area wedding day. One step further, keep in mind the specifics of your selected location or the time of year your wedding takes place. If you know the venue you selected has a darker, intimate vibe or it is a winter wedding and the sun sets much earlier, make sure your photographer is comfortable with low-light situations.
5. Talk timeline with your photographer to hear their recommendations; not specifics, but general ideas for your wedding day.
While you cannot expect a potential photographer to give you an exact timeline for your wedding day, they should be able to give a general suggestion as to how they recommend your day plays out. For instance, this is a good time to see how much time the particular photographer you are meeting recommends for portrait time. Every photographer is different. A lot of times depending on what time your ceremony and reception are determine the time allotment for portraits. This then brings up the discussion of the first look and if that is an option for you as a couple.
6. If you are interested in products, like a wedding album or wall art, ask to see them, hold them, feel the quality in your own hands.
If you meet with a photographer like myself, my wedding collections include some sort of product like a wall art canvas, wedding album and engraved USB drive. I definitely recommend seeing and holding some of the example pieces when you meet with your potential photographer. Many times it helps my couples decide which collection is the best fit for them. Plus, it's always better to touch the various texture and materials to see the quality of the craftsmanship.
7. Discuss what is included in the wedding contract to make sure you understand everything 100% before deciding to move forward.
Before you leave your consultation ask to go over the next steps if you decide to move forward. See how much the retainer fee is, what is required to secure your wedding date and discuss the contract to see if there are any questions you might have. It doesn't have to be a long process, just hit on the bullet points and if you decide to move forward carefully sit down and read every word. For BJP, I want to be completely transparent and make sure everything is read and understood, so my couples are required to initial each area before being allowed to sign and submit the contract.
However, the best advice I can give is trust your gut. If you have "that famous Gibbs gut" (for NCIS fans like myself), you know that there is something in you that just knows what to do. Trust yourself. If you have red flags going off meet a few more photographers. It might just leave you a little more settled with your decision.when that time comes.