Torn, pages glued together with Orange juice, and stuffed in our storage ottoman in the living room. Books of any kind should never be treated like this. Those books, are my Wedding Albums. I want to tell you why. And why I say,"Don't be me."
Every single detail of our wedding we planned ourselves, no planner, no coordinator. I hand-made our centerpieces, the favors, our invitations, and my bouquet as well as that of my bridesmaids. Oh! And, I hand beaded my wedding dress. ( 2 weeks, 257 pearls. I think about 15 band-aids.) We paid attention to every single little detail. Every detail, but one.
All of those little details. Every fantastic little detail about the day I married my husband is in that ottoman.
In my planning and budgeting, I never once gave a two-minute thought to a wedding photographer. I did have one. It was a gift from my parents, and honestly one of the sweetest most thoughtful gifts. But --
The photographer, wasn't who, if my husband and I had sat down and talked it over, would have picked. We had nothing in common with him. He knew literally nothing about us except the day we were getting married on. And, it shows in my photos. We are all happy. The pictures are nice. They just don't suit us, our style. The images as nice as they are, feel like nice images of other people.
My cautionary tale is the fuel behind why I am so passionate about what I do, and why I want to give you some advice on choosing your wedding photographer.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. This for most, is a once in a lifetime event. For that reason, choosing the right wedding photographer can be a critical part of your planning. Here is some helpful advice to get you started.
What do you like?
One of the first steps to choosing a wedding photographer is to get an idea of what type of photos you like. Explore different images and bookmark what draws your eye. Two great ways to achieve this are by either doing a Google search and bookmarking images, or my favorite, Pinterest.
Pinterest has made it increasingly easy to find your photography tastes. Create a board for your image inspiration then search and "Pin" away. A collection of about 15-20 images should be enough to give you an idea of what style you are drawn to. Note the similarities of the images, the emotion, processing (clean and bright, hazy and vintage, etc.). Once you have an idea of your likes, begin your search.
Who do I know that is recently married?
What is the best place to start your search? Think of who you know that recently got married or engaged. Thanks to social media, they are sure to have an album of their photos you can view. Take a look. If what you see looks like it would mesh well with your inspiration board, ask your friend who their photographer was! Word of mouth is by far the best way for both you and your photographer to find each other.
Google is my B.F.F.
This one is a bit trickier because of the amount of information you are going to get, but works just the same. Any reputable photographer is going to have a decent size web presence. There is a lot of work that goes into making sure that happens. So, open your browser and start a search! Then, dig. Check out their website, stop by their blog, they probably have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (most have all). Check these as well. Look into how they interact with their clients. Keep an eye on their work. Does it mesh with your inspiration? Is it consistent?
Once you have established a list of photographers, it is time to get in contact! Many have websites with contact sections. How you choose to initiate contact with your photographer is up to you. You can send a quick message with the contact box, or you can call them. Either way it is important to provide as much information as possible in your first contact so that you photographer has an idea of the amount of coverage you will need.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when thinking of hiring your photographer:
- Does their style suit your needs and what you imaging your end results will be?
- Do your personalities work well together? ( you are going to be spending a lot of time with this person, make sure you like being around them)
- Ask questions! Don't leave room for assumptions. No question is too big or too small and your photographer should be happy to help answer any that you may have.
Hey! You didn't mention price!
When you were choosing the photos for your style/inspiration, you did that based on emotional connection. The same should be said for the photographers you are thinking to hire. You want to connect with their work the same way. These days, staying on budget is very important and not to be overlooked. It is your job to choose the areas of your wedding where you are going to place the most emphasis. Your wedding photography is an investment. This is THE item that forever holds those details and moments, forever. Every couple's budget is going to be different, and every couple's needs will be different as well. This guide was to help you in your journey of finding the wedding photographer that best suits you and will best capture your love story. Don't be afraid to ask the photographer of your choice if they offer payment plans. Some are even willing to negotiate certain things. The keyword is NEGOTIATE. That isn't calling and asking them to do their service for a discount. If you want them to give you something, you need to be willing to give something too. So, say they have a package that is perfect for you except for a couple of items, ASK them if there is a negotiation to be had. What is the worst they will say, No? Maybe. But if you're wedding is being planned for the off season of your area on a weekday... well, they might just make you a counter offer you can live with. You'll never know if you never ask.
Are my tips the end all be all of choosing a photographer? No. But this was just to get you going. Lots of posts are going to tell you to ask about certain types of equipment and teach you lots of fancy photography terms. But, if you don't know what any of those things really are, does that information really help you? Knowing what you like and what moves you and what speaks to you in an image, well.. that's a horse of a different color. Start with what you know, and then ask, ask, ask.
If you think this post is helpful, feel free to share it with others! If you've read this post and take an adventure around me site and think maybe we are a match, please reach out! I'd love to hear more about you!
Happy hunting all you engaged couples! Feel free to leave any questions or comments. I'm happy to answer the ones that I can, and if I can't, well I'll do my best to find the someone who can for you!