This article is for all the potential brides out there. I want to share my perspective on hiring a wedding photographer and the different types of wedding photography styles out there. Keep in mind, this is my biased opinion, but it’s good information to consider when looking for your wedding photographer.
So generally, a bride will book the venue first, and then the photographer, second. This makes sense and it’s a good guideline to follow. There’s far fewer venues than wedding photographers, so it’s important to reserve a date, based on the availability of your favorite location. Hiring a photographer, who’s style and personality that you admire, is so important. Make sure you find a wedding photographer who’s style you admire, because you’ll treasure those photos forever. At the very least, get someone who can give you sharp images in any kind of lighting. There’s nothing worse than paying for blurry images. If moments are important to you, then you’ll want a seasoned photographer who can anticipate them, as well as being technically proficient with their camera. You’re going to be spending all day with them, so it’s important to find someone you’d enjoy hanging out with as well. Try to find someone that fits your personality. If you’re a quieter person, it doesn’t make sense to have a photographer who’s loud and boisterous when you’re stressing out at your wedding. You’d want someone that makes you feel at ease.
What to look for when hiring your wedding photographer:
There are tons of wedding photography styles out there. Some wedding photographers specialize in traditional posing. They make sure the bride looks good in every setting, with flattering light. This type of wedding photographer has a very hands on approach. They’ll make sure all the details look good, and the bride looks like a Disney princess. Other wedding photographers specialize in a more hands off approach, called photojournalism. They’ll concentrate on capturing all the moments. They aren’t concerned with how the details look, rather than how the day feels. My brand of photography fits into this category. I strive to capture the feeling of the wedding day. Then there’s another category of wedding photography that’s a hybrid between both styles. These photographers focus on getting beautiful portraits as well as capturing the moments. They might be getting candid moments and then all of a sudden, switch to portraits, because the window light looks good in a different spot. Therefore, they interrupt the flow of the day by asking the bride to move. I might react similarly, but instead of disrupting the bride, I’ll quietly snap a few candid style portraits, working with the light that’s available. Some photographers will even stage moments by cleaning up the background, or asking people to move. You’ll never see me do this because again, it disrupts the day, and takes away authenticity. I don’t believe in interfering with anyone’s emotions, just to make a good looking image. Keep in mind the hybrid photographer will miss moments because they might be thinking of how to properly light your portrait, instead of reading and reacting to the action in front of them. You’ll have to decide what’s more important to you; portraits or moments. I spend all of my energy getting moments by carefully planning my compositions, while being discreet.
Weddings are raw and real, and your photos should reflect that. That’s why I focus on showing how a wedding feels, rather than how pretty it looks. On a side note, there’s planners, florists, and caterers that do an incredible job of setting up a venue to make it look beautiful. This directly impacts how a bride feels. In fact, every vendor’s job is to assist the bride, making her feel special. Photographers are the only vendor that doesn’t directly cater to a bride’s feelings. Our job is to record the day as it happens. We might lend a helping hand to a bride if a plan falls apart, or comment on how pretty they look in their dress, but it’s not our main job. Instead, we in-directly affect a bride’s feelings by preserving all of the special moments. Those emotions will come later when she sees the photos and re-lives the moments. There is a big reason why wedding photography is an investment. My job isn’t finished when the wedding ends. I still have to edit the photos, and maybe create an album. In fact, we’re the only vendor to communicate with the bride before, during, and after the wedding.
There are other variables when looking at hiring a wedding photographer. You need to make sure they have liability insurance in the rare case that a light stand falls over and injures a guest. You should look at the experience level of a wedding photographer as well. Are they just starting out, or have they shot at least three seasons with 100 + weddings under their belt? You’ll usually be able to tell by the prices they’re offering, but it’s always a good idea to ask them how long they’ve been shooting and approximately how many weddings they’ve photographed. Also, make sure the wedding photographer has backup equipment in case something breaks. I always carry two cameras around. I use different focal lengths for each one and that extra camera will come in handy, if the other one stops working. It has happened to me in the past. I was thankful to have that second camera body. This also applies to flashes as well. The biggest advice I can offer you when looking at wedding photographers, and wedding photography styles is to ask yourself you feel when you look at someone’s work. If you get excited, then it would be a good time to chat with them and see what they’re about. Even, if their prices seem a little high, it doesn’t hurt to talk with them and see if they’re willing to negotiate to meet your budget. Weddings are a once in a lifetime event and your investment in quality wedding photography is worth it when you can feel that excitement and joy every time you look back at your images.