So we had one of our writers do some research to see what they felt the most important criteria were to choosing a wedding photographer so we could see how it sized up against what the pros say. So in no certain order here are our top 5.
The first thing you will want to look at when you are searching for a wedding photographer is the portfolio. You will want to take your time here and perhaps even view them with the photographer so you can ask questions about certain images. This will help you understand if there was thought going into the images or if they just got lucky. Also, if there are photos you want to recreate for your wedding you can discuss if it is possible, what conditions need to exist, and the photographer can add this to their notes for your wedding day.
Are you having a nighttime wedding? Getting married in the winter with snowy backdrops everywhere? Inside Wedding? You will want to look at galleries that have specific conditions similar to your wedding. The three we listed are just quick examples of conditions that can exist that greatly impact how your wedding should be shot and can require experienced photogs.
You don't want to go to the cheapest wedding photographer around, because there is truth to the saying that you get what you pay for. However, you don't need to hire a wedding photographer that is the most expensive one either, cost does not equal value or skill. You want the best photographer you can get for the money you have available so be sure to have a budget and meet with photographers that can work with or close to your budget. This will prevent you from wasting your time and theirs as well as help you spend the right amount of money. How much should you budget? This is specific to each couple but we do feel you should not skimp when it comes to the photographer.
You also want to be sure to discuss what you are getting for the money to help establish value. How many images, is there an album included, how many shooters, how will the images be delivered, revisions and touch ups, to name a few.
Some couples are fine with hiring a beginner, but our thought is you will want to hire a photographer that has several years of experience in wedding photography. There are many photographers out there that are very talented that do other types of photography. This does not mean they know how to shoot a wedding. The photog that shoots 3 weddings a year or no weddings a year is probably not going to do the same job as the photog that shoots 15-20 weddings a year. We are sure that there are exceptions to this however keep it in mind as you go through the process. Also, experience often influences the rates the professional gives you, so if someone is charging little to no money for the gig, this could be a red flag.
You could have a photographer that is highly experienced, shows you an impressive portfolio, and is reasonably priced, but they are a straight up stick in the mud. You are going to spend so much time with your wedding photographer that you want to be sure you get along and who knows are maybe even having fun! You also want them to be professional, treat your guests with respect, and keep the process moving. Experienced photographers know how to keep the balance between being assertive with people to get the right shots, while also being fun and jovial so everyone is having a good time.
Of course, if you prefer to hire a professional that is not overly personable and possibly a jerk, that is your choice!
Word Of Mouth
What are your friends and family saying about who they used? This may be a place to start. You can look at their wedding albums, find out what they paid, what was included, and all sorts good info. We are not saying to disregard the wedding photographer from Google that you know nothing about, we are saying start with who you know and who they know. Then jump on google and do a search or even give us a shout, we are happy to give you a recommendation.
Those are our thoughts and we hope they are more help than harm. You can also check out this article written by our contributing writer Dave Bigler who happens to be a rock star wedding photographer and all around great human.