For many couples, hiring a wedding photographer is the first time they’ve worked with a professional photographer. What do you ask? What should you look for? You’re going to be spending a LOT of time with your wedding photographer, so how do you hire one that is a great fit? With a bit of help from some professional photographers we love, we’re breaking down what you need to know before hiring a wedding photographer!
-Figure out what kind of style you like! Are you looking for sunlight-filled, ultra-romantic photos, or images with a more modern, clean edge to them? Look around on Pinterest and blogs and find photos that you like. Then compare them to see what they have in common. Whatever you gravitate toward is probably a style you would like for your own photos. Make sure you and your spouse are into the same things, as well!
Jess Hunter, a photographer in central Washington, emphasis how important this is. “Photography is incredibly personal and influenced greatly by how a photographer views things, so if you feel a connection to how they capture moments, scenes, and light then they may be a good fit. But if you’re hoping they can shoot a little differently for you and your wedding, it would save you and the photographer both a lot of heartache if you simply went with someone who’s style and vision align with your own. These are the memories you will have for the rest of life, so I’d say this is definitely more important than finding someone to simply fit your budget.”
-Understand what a realistic budget is. Hint, if you’re looking for 12+ hours of coverage, thousands of photos and insane captures of your cliffside nuptials, a $600 budget is not going to cut it. Take the time to search around and determine what true professionals charge. Remember, they have to pay their bills with their time and talent, and you get what you pay for, especially in this category!
-Now, determine YOUR budget. If you absolutely can not spend more than $3,000 on your photographer, then probably back away from the website for that famous New York fashion photog. If you’re eloping and only want a few hours of quick coverage, you probably don’t need to put aside thousands and thousands of dollars. Know what your budget is, and keep your search within that realm, but be realistic. Be prepared to move it a little if you fall in love with someone great, and don’t expect champagne on a beer budget. Educating yourself is important!
-On that note, ask questions! When you set up a consultation with a photographer (hint, hint…) ask lots of questions! Most of all, take the time to educate yourself. Why do photographers cost so much money? What is your experience? It’s okay to ask these questions if you don’t know. A good photographer will have no problem explaining the investment they ask for from couples, and will gladly explain why they’re worth it.
-Review packages. At that same consult, get the nitty gritty on their package details. Photographer Jerome Pollos has some great advice you may not think to ask. “Ask about if you get digital files and ensure they are full-resolution files and they’re all color corrected. Sometimes photographers will offer images you can get a 4×6-inch print from, but larger prints you have to order through them. And even worse, some will only do work on the images you select, and will leave the rest “RAW” and not color corrected for proper skin tones. Ask your photographers if you can see a proofing gallery from a recent wedding and what you can expect to get when you get your images back. This will give you an opportunity to see if they shoot 2,000 and get lucky with a few, or if they provide quality images throughout the day.”
-Finally, get the post wedding details. Find out what their turn around time is after the wedding, what you can expect from them in the weeks after your big day, and what that entails. Do you have the ability to reprint your images once you receive them? How long will it take to edit and send a final gallery? How many images do you receive? Set realistic expectations for after-the-fact so you’re not chomping at the bit to see final photos the next weekend when it actually takes your photographer several months to finalize photos during the busy wedding season (which ins’t uncommon or unusual!)
Have questions about hiring other vendors? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for more posts like this!