How to Shop for a Wedding Photographer

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Your engaged. CONGRATULATIONS!! Now what? Wedding planning! Where do you start? There are many blogs and books on how to do this correctly. Shopping for your wedding is unique in that you’ve never done it before and you’ll never do it again. It’s not something you can make a mistake and just do better next time. There’s a lot to wedding planning but we are only experts in one aspect of it which is Wedding Photography! A wise decision takes knowledge which comes with education. This is the reason we have written this blog.

We have had many brides tell us how we made their day easier and go without a problem but we have also heard from many brides that are regretting that they didn’t book us. With wedding photography being a limited service determined by our availability on the date. So, here are some tips and suggestions in how to shop without being a photography expert yourself.

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As a consumer, when you shop, you know when something catches your eye. You stop, look at it and can’t help but like it. Then, your heart becomes attached to it and you begin desiring it.  When that happens with wedding photography, that’s the photographer you want to choose. You know you want it, but when it comes to actually purchasing it, its another story because now you have to think about money.

I believe that everyone has money for what’s important for them.

Regardless if the person realizes that or not. And this applies to all decisions that you will make for your wedding. Everyone knows that you will be spending a lot on your wedding but make sure you spend it in the correct places. When someone tells me, “We can’t afford it,” I translate that to, “Its not important to me” We’ve had brides that didn’t flinch an eye with our pricing but we have also had brides where we have been the most expensive vendor they hired for their wedding but it happened because It was IMPORTANT to them. Before you let anyone tell you what you really need at your wedding, sit down and figure out what is important to YOU. And before you begin to shop, one fact you must know is that when you purchase anything, “You get what you pay for” This is why you need to know what you want and what is important to you before the options are laid in front of you.

So here are the priceless things you may have not thought about or considered when hiring a wedding photographer.

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Experience/Service

Photography is without questions important but does your photographer have experience with weddings and will they give you good experience? Did you know that you will spend more time with your photographer close by your side even more than your groom on your wedding day!? Make sure you like them! Do they have the leadership skills to lead your wedding party for group shots? Will they make your day fun? Do they have what it takes to quickly have back up plans if it rains or something doesn’t go as planned? How’s their service? Do they care about your wedding day or is it just another wedding? Are they going to timely reply to your emails and texts? Experience is completely priceless… this is something that a photographer just can’t go purchase another piece of equipment. How many times have you gone to a really nice restaurant  with nice food, and the service was terrible? Will you go back?  No matter how great their photography seems to be, if they’re not nice human beings who will treat you and your time with respect, you’re not going to be happy.

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Direction/Posing

A wedding photographer must have the skills to make “everyday people” look like “models”.  Yes, most of the couples that we work with either have very minimal experience as a model or none at all. Don’t they look like models? Yes they do and its not by chance. It’s because there’s direction from the photographer. The photographer has to know how to pose you. They have to know how to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera when you feel awkward. They have to know how to make you smile or laugh when there is nothing to laugh about. It doesn’t matter how skinny a person is, if the pose isn’t right, it will not be flattering. Think about the movie industry. Why is the director such a big deal? Now, I know that it’s team work, but if you have a bad director, even the best actors can’t produce their best acting.

A wedding photographer is unique in that they have to be able to direct a couple who doesn’t have experience in front of the camera in a matter of minutes in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a wedding day.

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Lighting

Have you heard of “natural light photographers?” That’s another way of saying “I can only shoot when there’s good light”. What you want on your wedding day is a professional photographer who can shoot in ANY light! Even in NO light! Photography is all about lighting! Being an expert and scientist with light and no matter what still capture the moment is what your photographer needs to be able to do. Think about a reception where it’s usually dark to set the atmosphere. Will your photographer know how to use flash to get those shots? What if you have a rainy/cloudy day? What if it’s pitch dark during your grand exit and there’s barely any light and on top of that, you’re walking out with bubbles and not sparklers? What if you’re getting ready in ugly florescent lighting (green tint) mixed with tungsten (orange light) while the windows are open (blue light).

What would your photographer do if this happens on your wedding day? ASK! Ask your photographer and make sure they know what they’re talking about. But you may not understand the photog lingo. So, the best thing is to ask for a FULL wedding day album from a few weddings, not just their best of the best portfolio from various weddings that they post on their Instagram. You want a portfolio from real weddings. Look for CONSISTENCY! Does it seem like it’s hit or miss with their photos? Make sure your photographer consistently delivers excellence.

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Technical Skills

“That camera must take good pictures!” I think many or all photographers will agree, but that is one comment that makes us laugh. Have you tried using a DSLR (not on auto) to take a photo? Do you wonder why every other one comes out blurry? It’s not the easiest thing and no manual can help you shoot an entire wedding. Here’s an analogy… If you don’t know how to cook, do you think a better stove will help?

Weddings are action packed days and although a photographer can’t capture every SINGLE moment, you don’t want them to miss a special moment because they were trying to figure out their settings. Let’s not forget the photoshop skills. Just like really knowing how to use a DSLR, you need GOOD photoshop skills. I can’t get into every detail of these technical skills on this, but I think you get the point.

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Again, "You get what you pay for." Just like anything else, this saying applies to photography and rightly so. Not just in photos, but in service and experience. We are here to make your wedding and your wedding photos memorable in an epic way because it deserves to be. Quality is something we will never compromise on because that’s what we expect as consumers also! Don’t let money get in the way. If photography is important to you, then our advice is for you to take something else out of your wedding like unnecessary décor, favors, or decreasing the number of guests. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?, Will anyone care or notice?” Because as I’m sure you’ve heard, all you have left after your wedding is your wedding photos. It’s a legacy. The sentimental value that photography holds is truly invaluable.

Happy planning to all of you who are engaged.

We are excited to meet with you so please reach out!

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