In life there will be a number of “big days”; a first car; a new baby, that promotion that you worked so hard to get. Of all the big days, a wedding day is pretty high up there. So much is happening, it is hard to take it all in. It’s important to have the right person behind the camera to help capture all those intimate moments. Choose the wrong person, and they can rob you of those memories forever.
You need to find someone with the right mix of talent, experience, and personality, but more importantly, someone who comes prepared to capture every detail and is constantly on the prowl for events and opportunities that make every wedding unique.
Personality is important. So often it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Your photographer will be constantly interacting with you, your bridal party, and your guests. The best photographers quietly go about their work. They never inject themselves into the event. They work with a smile and bring out the best in your guests.
The best way to gage personality is the ten-minute phone interview. Did you feel there was a rapport and understanding after you spoke? Did the photographer understand and make notes about any details you wanted included in the session? For example, is there an elderly nana that you what extra time taken with or a young flower girl that needs some special attention?
While theirs is a more techno-savvy craft, where the combination of light, and aperture, and specialized equipment comes together to render their work, every photographer in their heart is an artist, and as artist they evoke a style that is uniquely theirs.
And every photographer keeps a portfolio of work, both as a sampling for future clients, and as a challenge to themselves to do better and better work.
Websites and online portfolios give you an advantage today. In the past, you generally had to a do a sit-down meeting with the photographer and page through albums of photos. Today, you have the advantage of seeing a photographer’s body of work, without ever having met the person. You have a chance to compare their work with the work of other photographers.
You should ask yourself, do I like the photographer’s editing style? Do the exposures look right, or are they dark and muddy? Do the skin tones of the people in the photos look right? Are the photos rigidly posed or free flowing and natural? Is there the right mix of poses and candid shots? Do the personalities of the people in the photos come through?
And more simply, does the photographer’s style resonate we me?
Pricing should be the last item considered. Some photographers will post their pricing right on their website, but many will not.
There are a couple of schools of thought on how to approach pricing.
1.] Just because the photographer posts their price on the website doesn’t mean that is the final price. Many photographers use that as a base price to which they may add more money for individual items. Be sure to ask what the “website price” includes.
2.] A photographer shouldn’t be ruled out just because they don’t list a “stock price” on their website. There is an old cliché that time is money. In this case, each wedding shoot requires different amounts of time, effort, and equipment. Some weddings require only the photographer. In many weddings, a photographer will bring along a second shooter to handle events that are going on simultaneously. And it should be obvious that this is an added expense.
3.] Our best recommendation is that you discuss all the details of your wedding with your photographer as to avoid any surprises with the final product and the final price.
Once you’ve looked at their portfolio and you’ve done the ten-minute phone call; you’ve liked what you’ve seen and heard; it’s time to meet them in person. Schedule a short sit-down with them at their studio, or at a mutually agreed-to meeting place. [Today, Zoom, Skype or Facetime meetings can save you travel time.]
Bring with you a list of items that you expect covered. Have with you a calendar of dates and events that you would expect them to attend. Equally, they should have their notepad handy and their schedule book out and ready to talk dates. At this time, they should be able to give you a rough estimate as to how much turn-around time they will need to get proofs and final product to you.
This is also the best time to finalize the price. You will want to bring a checkbook with you to handle a “save-the-date” deposit. Please note, that many photographers will not refund a deposit for a canceled date. You should be clear as to what their policies are going forward.
A wedding is meant to be fun and memorable event in your life. Doing a little research and openly discussing your hopes and desires with your photographer can save you a ton of time and possible aggravation. And by choosing that right person, you’ll own a keepsake that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Oct 30, 2022
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