10 IMPORTANT TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
There are so many options when it comes to choosing your photographer that it can easily become overwhelming so we have Fine Art Curation photographer David Abel here today to give you some insight into what to look for and some good tips for when you are ready to choose your photographer!
1. GET RECOMMENDATIONS
“The list from your Planner is probably the most important since your planner will have such inside into your vision, budget, and personality. If you haven’t already received a list of recommended photographers from your planner or friends, you should certainly go back and ask them right now—a referral is by far one of the best ways you can find your photographer. Of the two, the list that you receive from your planner is probably the most important, as your planner will have insight into your vision, budget, and personality (and if you haven’t hired a wedding planner yet, now would be a good time to get one). We HIGHLY recommend hiring your planner (not a venue coordinator) before even choosing your date or venue. So many couples dive into wedding planning without thinking through the entire design & feel that they want to create for their wedding. Make sure to bring someone onboard who can pull together everything you need, and knows the best of the best (to provide what you’re looking for). If you need any recommendations for amazing wedding designers/ planners please reach out—we would love to send some recommendations your way."
2. LOOK AT THEIR PORTFOLIO
This one seems obvious, but take a good look at their portfolio, blog, and their Social Media — what these show are the types of images they love to shoot. It is how they see the world, and reflects their views of what is most important. Basically, what you see is what you will receive. It is very difficult for artists to change their styles to something else, because Photographers spend years developing their personal style. Their style is a reflection of how they see the world, and is not something that is easily changed. You need to like everything that a photographer does, or choose to move on to an artist whose work you love.
3. LOOK AT FULL GALLERIES
Make sure to take a look at some full wedding galleries of a photographer’s work. This will give you a sense of the overall set of images you’ll receive, and it will also show any discrepancies between what is in their portfolio (what they promise) versus what is in the gallery (what they deliver). For instance, some photographers claim to be film photographers, yet they only shoot one or two rolls of film per wedding. If you like a certain aspect of someone’s photography, make sure it is present throughout their full gallery.
4. MEET WITH YOUR TOP 3 PHOTOGRAPHERS
It is incredibly important to meet with your photographer (either over the phone, in a video meeting, or in person) because you need to like who they are & their personality. Keep in mind that the photographer you choose will be with you for the entire wedding day. You’ll also be speaking with them through the course of your planning and then months after as you order prints & albums, so make sure you enjoy being around and talking to them!
5. MAKE SURE THEY’VE SHOT WEDDINGS LIKE YOURS
Some photographers claim to be ‘only natural light photographers,’ or perhaps they only show certain types of environments in their work...but what happens if your wedding is taking place in an environment that they don’t usually shoot in, such as a dark church or a reception space with no windows? Make sure to ask if they have ever photographed in a space like yours before. Make sure the photographer can shoot in natural light and artificial light, and is skilled in all situations. Weddings are fast-paced events, and if they don’t know what they are doing they will miss a lot.
6. FIND THE TYPE OF IMAGERY YOU CONNECT WITH MOST
What types of images online are you drawn to the most? Look through Instagram at some popular hashtags such as #fineartwedding or #fineartcuration, and once you find a style you like, determine what medium they shoot in. Are they a film or digital photographer? If they are hybrid, how much film doe they shoot on the wedding day? Some photographers will say film but shoot all digital—which looks very different than film images, so make sure that you ask. Another thing to look at is how photographers pose their subjects. This can be just as important as the style, because if you can’t see yourself in these poses or images, then you will feel uncomfortable in your photos.Looking and feeling your best in images that you will cherish for your lifetime is so important.
7. SET YOUR BUDGET
Set a budget range when choosing a photographer, and keep in mind that the more talented more established photographers will typically be at the higher end of that range. Why are some photographers so expensive and some photographers so cheap? A number of factors can drive the price of an artist, including talent, years in business, education, the medium used, and even the client experience. Like everything else in life, you really do get what you pay for. The best wedding photographers in the world charge between $20-30k to shoot a wedding, whereas someone off Craigslist may charge $500. Is there a difference in their services? Absolutely. Decide what quality level of imagery and service you would like from your photographer and keep in mind, after you pay for everything else in your wedding, the one thing you’ll be left with will be your photographs—so invest accordingly.
8. DECIDE THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHS YOU WANT
Do you want a more candid style or artistic style (or a beautiful mixture of both)? Do you like a darker/moody or a lighter look? Are you drawn to romantic images, or do you like editorial images? Decide the type of shots you like, make sure that type of image is present in your photographer’s portfolio, and when you meet with them be sure to communicate what you are looking for.
9. DETERMINE THE PRIORITY FOR THE DAY
Most clients don’t know how many hours they need on a wedding day in order to capture everything from getting ready to the grand exit. We typically suggest between 9-10 hours for a full-day but that may go up to 12 depending on what a couple wants. Most photographers will begin around 2-3 hours prior to the wedding in order to capture the detail shots, getting ready, and any first look. We feel that the beginning is much more important to capture than the tail-end of the day. Don’t get us wrong, we love capturing exits, but if you’re trying to decide which is more important, we recommend front-loading the coverage to capture the full getting ready experience. This is where you’ll capture more emotion between family, more candid moments, and this will be the time that everyone looks their best.
10. COMPLETELY TRUST WHO YOU CHOOSE
In the end, whomever you choose to hire will strive to do the best they can for you and your vision. Once you make your decision, put your trust in them completely, and they will repay that trust exponentially. When you trust and believe in an artist you’ll receive that artist’s very best work.
Photography: David Abel