We want to Help You in Answering the Question of How to Choose a Wedding Photographer for Your Big Day!
How exciting – you’ve just gotten engaged! After all this time dreaming of your perfect wedding, the time is finally here to begin preparing for it! There are so many important things on which to decide right away, not the least of which is choosing the perfect wedding photographer to capture your love story in the most beautiful way possible. How to choose a wedding photographer is the question you are now left with; it can be a daunting task to go through that many websites to find the right one. So, we have assembled this handy list to help guide you on the correct path to find the right wedding photographer for you. We are confident our 10 plus years as award winning Charleston wedding photographers will prove this list to be very beneficial in your search!
Find the Highest Quality of Work Available
When you first consider the question of how to choose a wedding photographer, its crucial to realize that not all photographers are created equal! It is important to understand that there is good and bad quality even in this very artistic, seemingly subjective field. The basic elements to an image are lighting, posing, and composition. When these three elements are used correctly and purposefully by the photographer, you have a quality image. Too many people with a camera believe that all a person must do is point and shoot their camera in the direction of a pretty bride and their work is done. We must dispel the myth that all “art” has merit! There is much knowledge, skill, and experience required to craft a stunning work of art on a wedding day. The best way to be able to tell what is good versus bad, is to look closely through an online portfolio and carefully look for pleasing compositions, flattering posing, and beautiful lighting. When you find a photographer whose work has consistent quality throughout the entire website, you should add them to your list to contact. This is the first big step in figuring out how to choose a wedding photographer!
Don’t Just Look for the Cheapest Option
Everybody is looking for a bargain! However, when it comes to answering the question of how to choose a wedding photographer, having price be your main deciding factor could prove to a regrettable decision. As in most industries, you often times get what you pay for, and deals that are too good to be true often are. Experienced wedding photographers that run full time studios will NEVER be the cheapest option, similar to how a top of the line Audi will never be the same price as an entry level KIA. What you are paying for is often decades of experience, and the ability to create incredible images in ANY situation. What if it rains all day, or if the sun has set and your portraits have to be taken in the dark? Questions like these are wise to consider when looking at various photographers, and often times you are paying for the experience that enables a photographer the ability to handle any situation that is thrown at them. We have heard many horror stories over the past decades of brides that decided to select the cheapest option available, only to be incredibly disappointed once they received their photos back. Your wedding is a once in lifetime event that deserves the best of quality! As an average reference applicable for most markets, be prepared to invest a minimum of $3000-4000 for quality wedding photography.
Meet in Person
After going through as many websites as you can to determine the wedding photographers you will choose between, it is best to set up an in person meeting with each one. In person, you will immediately be able to tell how the photographer’s personality meshes with your own and have a good gauge for how they will interact with your family and friends on wedding day. You will also be able to see their products in person – touching and feeling albums is so different than looking at photos on a screen! Spend this meeting time observing how invested the photographer is in you and your wedding. The questions the photographer asks about your wedding about the two of you as a couple should be just personal enough to gain the information necessary to provide you with complete service. While you want a photographer who is confident in their work, you should be careful of a person who spends the whole meeting bragging about their skill instead of giving you vital information on how the process works with their company. We can’t stress enough the importance of this when determining how to choose a wedding photographer!
Focus on the Right Details
This step is the one most bridal magazines blogs get wrong! When you meet with a potential photographer in person, it is a great idea to have a list of questions to ask to help you understand what each one offers. Unless you are a photographer yourself, asking what kind of camera will be used is pretty pointless! Another regular question that can be irrelevant is “Can I see photos you’ve taken at my venue?” This question assumes the photographer must have photographed at the venue before to create quality photos there and that is simply not true! A true artist can walk into any situation and be able to produce excellence in that moment. Some more relevant questions could be some similar to the following:
-What makes you different than other photographers?
-How would you handle the photography if ______ happened?
-How much direction will you give us in the moment to ensure a great outcome on our day?
-What is your game plan for each portion of the day?
-Do you have backup equipment for emergencies?
Ask For Advice
The best thing you can do to ensure a perfect wedding is to seek the advice of wedding professionals! From your photographer, ask for help with timing, locations, positioning of the ceremony – anything and everything that can affect the photography. A seasoned pro has seen and photographed all things done at a wedding the right and wrong ways. Many parts of the wedding will have a direct effect on the photography and no one asks the photographer what would be best! A good photographer will immediately help you with your timeline and suggestions for locations, but ask for as much advice as you can to make your wedding photography successful! In the course of figuring out how to find a wedding photographer, you may end getting some invaluable advice that will help your big day immensely!
Look for Industry Credentials
Years ago, the question of how to choose a wedding photographer may have been a slightly easier one! Today, unlike decades ago, there are thousands of wedding photographers entering the market on a daily basis. Asking potential photographers if they have achieved any industry credentials or accolades is a great way to separate out those photographers that have worked to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Organizations like the Professional Photographers of America, one of the largest and most longstanding organizations in the world for professional portrait and wedding photographers, have degree and award programs in place for this very reason. Members can earn a Master of Photography degree thru a detailed process of entering images into national image competitions, and those earning degrees (which can take on average 3-5 years to attain), have shown the very highest level of image making skills. The PPA also hosts district competitions across the United States and a international print competition each year, the largest of its kind in the world. Photographers in both the portrait and wedding photography worlds can earn awards that ultimately show them to be the best in their particular fields and specialties. Selecting a wedding photographer that can compete and win at the international level only means you are getting the very best for your wedding day!
Go with your Gut
In the end, you must analyze all of the information you have about your wedding photographer and make the final right choice on who is best for you. After considering the above points, it should at least narrow down the field and make your choice a little easier. Trust your gut, and choose the person you feel has the highest quality of work, had a great personality in person, and wasbwilling to provide you with all the help you need to have the perfect wedding day! We hope these steps will aid you in the quest of how to choose a wedding photographer!