Photo by Christy McKee Photograpy
Wedding Photographer Confidential
Now that you have your planner or coordinator, you need to start looking for a professional wedding photographer. This is a crowded part of the industry, but here are a few things to work through as you select your photographer.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?
By now you are following the Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts that reflect the ideas inspire you. That is a great place to start to guiding you to a photographer that will capture the images that are most important to you. “What is important to you on your wedding day, and what gets you excited about your wedding day?” is usually one question Lindsey of Miscellaneous Media asks her potential couples. You should be able to start addressing the questions of: What images are most important to you to be captured? Specific moments of the day? The darling details? Your friends and family having a great time and being together? Lots of portraits?
If it helps you, put them in a list of most important to least, and that will be a great place to begin a conversation with potential photographers.
WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?
You are on well on your way to knowing your style and what pictures are important to you. Once you have considered these questions, think about your style and how it lines up with the photographers you are considering. If you need help defining photographer styles, Lindsey asks a few key questions, “Is their editing true to life, film inspired, fine art inspired, or something more vibrant and artistic? Do they shoot with predominately natural light or do they use fill flash?”
WEDDINGS SHOULD BE THEIR FOCUS
I knew there were a lot of photographers in our area, but I wasn’t aware of just how many there really are till I started Stelle Rose! You want to start by making sure weddings are a strong part of their portfolio. Photographers who focus on families, sports or Seniors do great work, but they may not know the real pace of a wedding day and that will directly affect your selection of photos. “I always recommend starting with someone local to your wedding venue. They will know the area well and know the best place for photos.” suggests Christy McKee of Christy McKee Photography, even then “there are still hundreds of local photographers!! So next, ask around. Ask your venue, your friends, your other vendors. Search on social media and find images that really speak to you.”
YOU NEED TO LIKE THEM!
This person will be with you as much as or if not more than your planner. If you love the way their photos look, but then meet them and you don’t click or don’t feel like you are on the same page - explore other options before you book them! Christy McKee emphasizes, “Being comfortable with a photographer will show in your images, make sure you hire someone that you enjoy being around and can be yourself. This person will be with you during very emotional and intimate moments so it's important to click with them.”
Which leads me to another important consideration.
DON’T ASSUME THEY WILL FIGURE OUT YOUR FAMILY DYNAMICS
This is from my personal experience at my God Daughter’s wedding. Even though the photographer was given a list of pictures they wanted, the photographer didn’t know the nuances of the family. It’s a - divorced & remarried & one sister is married & there is a younger sister - family. The photographer was so confused by the younger sister and the remarriages, that I stepped in to set the family for the shot. The dynamic between the photographer and the couple hadn’t been clicking… and the photographer’s confusion of this situation only made it more frustrating.
So, if there is an uncle no one gets along with or a significant other that no one expects to show up, but does anyway. If anything is any where outside of any norm, you need to let your photographer know! Don’t assume they can figure it out. A good photographer will roll with it and be grateful for the heads up.
THERE IS A REASON TIMELINES ARE SCHEDULED CERTAIN WAYS
I will warn you, the questions that go through a photographer’s mind about this subject alone will make your head spin. But I’ll give you a small dose from Lindsay’s mind - and this is just the beginning of the questions she asks herself…. “What does our daylight look like? How many hours do we have? If we're shooting portraits in the middle of the day, does the venue have access to shade? Are we doing a first look? Will the flowers be there by then for the bouquet and boutonniere? Similarly, if we're doing family portraits before the ceremony, will everyone be there? Will they have their flowers? When will the reception be setup by? When will I (or my second photog) have access to do pullbacks (pictures of the ceremony and reception areas) before guests get into the space? Are we doubling bouquets for table floral arrangements?” These are just the beginning of the questions an experienced wedding photographer will be asking themselves as they are talking to you. And this makes all the difference in your experience and your photographs.
WHAT’S IN THE PRICING?
And it all leads to pricing. When discussing pricing, it’s good start to know your anticipated budget. Here are a few things to consider as you explore a photographer’s pricing structure. Specifically - How many images will you receive? How many hours does it cover? Will there be a 2nd photographer? (more gets covered this way)
As you narrow down your selection and you find one you love, but maybe they are a bit above what you’re thinking you can spend - you can ask if there is any flexibility in pricing. If your wedding is still a year or more out, you can save up to be able to secure the one you want or you can ask if they have a payment plan.
You may realize you like a few, but can’t figure out why they are priced differently even when their style are similar. These differences are usually reflected in experience, location and their equipment investment. An experienced wedding photographer has likely done lots of weddings, taken classes, knows the questions to ask to make sure you get all you are expecting, and have purchased equipment that all benefit you as the client.
For a start to see the quality of photographers in our area, check out our Stelle Rose preferred vendors page.
We look forward to meeting your selected photographer.
Make sure you ‘click’!
Stelle Rose at Staunton Station