How to Choose a Wedding Photographer ?
Choosing a photographer for a wedding is a difficult task.You are bombarded with offers and options and have a lot of questions and doubts in your mind. What to pay attention to? What to ask about? How much should we pay? How to protect our interests ...? I have compiled for you a summary of the 10 most important questions and answersthat will help you make a wise and informed decision that you will not regret..
1.How and when to start looking for a photographer?
You got engaged. You've decided to get married. You've even chosen a wedding date! This is the perfect time to start looking for a photographer. Sure - you can adjust the date of the wedding to the availability of this one, only, dream photographer, but then I assume that the following article will not be useful to you, because you already know :) Usually, however, we first choose the date, consult it with the family, book the date in the church and the wedding venue. This is specific and will be helpful - you'll only search for photographers who have that date still available. The sooner you start to search, the calmer you will be on your search and more options will be available to you. How to go about it? My piece of advice? Don't limit yourself. Book some time for the research. Ask friends and family.Such options proven on recommendation are often the safest choice and the most effective review. Go wild in the internet! Google it out, check some hashtags on instagram for #wedding photographer; #wedding photos etc. See if anything brings your attention and grabs your heart. Visit some profiles. Take a look on facebook. The Internet has probably figured out by now that you are getting married. Big brother is not idle. Probably from time to time on FB, IG, while browsing the pages, you see sponsored offers of wedding dresses, jewellery and wedding accessories; among the ads there are probably photographers' offers - do not reject them as a rule. It doesn't cost anything to visit the website and find out more and you might find a treasure.
2. What should you especially pay attention to?
Now you have a lot to choose from - what to do now?
Naturally from looking at the photos. You don't need to be a professional photographer to determine which photos, style and aesthetics appeal to you.
The photo style should be the most important selection criteria.
Some people prefer stronger edit, unnatural, "curled" colors or even editing "special effects", others prefer natural photos without excessive colorization. Only you can answer this question - what do you like? Which photos do you want to have in your album and hang on your wall? Ask yourself whether you care about posed, artificial photos or you are more keen on natural style of reportage showing what the day really looked like, freezing up the actual moments. See if the couple in the photos look stiff and restrained, or they are rather happy and relaxed.
View the photographer's portfolio. Don't stop at one photoshoot, one couple. Focus on wedding reportages, not just outdoor sessions. First of all, because during such a outdoor photoshoot there are fewer things that can surprise the photographer. It is during the wedding reportage, when everything happens very quickly and dynamically, when the experience, speed and versatility of your wedding photographer are important. A dark room, a wedding hall with mood lighting? This is the scenarios where most of the less experienced photographers will fail and give you back blurry photos with strange skin colors. See the full photographer's materials to see if they keep their level all day long and the photos from the preparation to the end of the reception are of good quality and interesting.
3. Where to start - what to ask about and how?
The answer is simpler than you might expect - ask how and what you want.The photographer you decide to contact should be open to all questions and doubts. Usually, you will find more than one form of the possible contact. Decide which one is the best for you. E-mail, text message, website form, telephone?
If a phone call is not a big deal for you, it is often the best solution. You can then hear the photographer's voice and get to know him a little better. See if there is a nice and polite person on the other side of the phone who you enjoy talking to. Go ahead and don't be shy. Ask about anything that raises your doubts. It is best to write down a list of topics/issues that are important to you that you want to raise. Answer the photographer's questions honestly, this way he will also be able to meet your expectations and adjust the offer.
4. How can I get to know the photographer?
It is hard to trust a stranger and entrust him with such a responsible task - I fully understand you. Call and write until all your concerns are clarified. See if it is nice and easy to talk to you, if the photographer is honest and open and does not avoid any questions.
An engagement session is an interesting and effective option to "check" a wedding photographer. Read more about the advantages of the engagement session here. I always encourage couples to go for this casual photo sessions. Even on the occasion of a contract signing meeting. The engagement session can lighten the atmosphere, and for you it can be a nice sample of how the photographer works and how you get along with him.
Nowadays, when social media accompanies us all at every step, it is worth taking a moment to check the FB profile of the photographer you are thinking about and read the reviews that previous couples gave him. If you find good opinions from satisfied customers and sincere recommendations, you increase the chance that you will not find an amateur without experience.
5. How can I keep my interests secure?
Sign the CONTRACT! I have heard many stories of couples who have agreed with the photographer verbally and later had a big truble. First of all, with the enforcement of what they agreed on, not to mention the extreme cases where the photographer did not show up at all. Also check if the person with whom you sign the contract runs a legal company. This will ensure that you can fight for your rights in case of any problems. Of course, these are extreme cases, but, unfortunately, there are many dishonest service providers and we've all heard sad stories which didn't have to happen if the couple would have had secured their interests. So what should the contract be like? It should be quite simple and fully understandable to you. The photographer should be willing to explain all the clauses and provisions to you without any problems and discuss whether the contract is beneficial and protects your interests. If you would like to consult a contract with a lawyer, the photographer should provide you with a prepared document so that you have time and opportunity to do so. It is important that the contract includes all the elements of the service you are agreeing to. It is also worth making sure that the contract includes places of preparation, wedding and reception - so that there is no shadow of doubt. The contract should also include an alternative solution in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as the photographer's illness - that is, providing a replacement. Read carefully, don't be afraid to ask and negotiate. If you feel that any provision of the contract may be harmful to you, immediately clarify this with your photographer.
6. How can I make sure my photos are safe?
I mention experience often in this article, why is it so important?
First of all, because experience is safety. And it should be the most important for you on this day. After all, you do not want your photos to disappear by accident because the photographer has lost the disk: an experienced photographer always has 2-3 backups, which in case of a flaw of one disk will secure your photos so you get them intact and you will not miss any important moment. Another important issue related to the safety of photos is spare equipment during the ceremony. The camera is only a tool, and even the best tools can fail, which is why it is so important that the photographer has spare equipment to use in times of crisis. It is worth asking about it. You don't need to know details about it. It shouldn't matter much to you which brand of equipment the photographer uses and how he completed his lenses. Almost every photographer will use more than one lens, but remember that it is not a spare lens that guarantees safety - ask the photographer if he has a spare body, meaning a camera "box" in case of failure.
7. How much should a wedding reportage cost?
This is often the point that raises the most doubts. The answer is simple but ambiguous: it depends. A high price is not a guarantee of quality, while a very low price should turn on a warning light. There are talented people who start their adventure, who offer wedding photography services at a low price and offer high quality, but there are really few of them. A legal company (which provides you with greater security) must bear the costs associated with running a business and therefore its prices may be higher. Experienced photographers will cost more, but experience guarantees high-quality services for you. Think about your wedding budget, decide how much you can spend on wedding photos - when making this decision, remember that you are buying a souvenir for life that will stay with you forever.
Don't be afraid to negotiate the price. I've noticed that couples rarely come up with a price proposition. If you are convinced about a photographer and you like his style, but his price is slightly beyond your budget - talk to him honestly and see what he will offer. Wedding photography, like every service, is negotiable and I am sure that many photographers will be happy to help you make your dreams come true;)
8. How long will I wait for a ready-made photo material?
Ask about it directly. Already during the first conversation. It is a matter of individual work and approach of each photographer. It is unrealistic to send you fully-prepared photo material the day after your wedding. This information should worry you, because it would mean that the photographer does not plan to spend even one day of work on your photos selection and edition. I think the average waiting time would be around 20-30 working days. And again - talk directly. Ask. If you feel it is too long - suggest your date. Say you care about time. We are all humans and we can reach agreement on every issue so that you are satisfied.
9.How many photos should the full wedding reportage have?
In my opinion, this is an important question. There are couples who expect the photographer's suggestions, also on the number of photos, but there are also couples who are very focused on the quantity. Unfortunately - quantity does not mean quality. An experienced wedding photographer will prepare an offer for you that will optimally cover your needs and expectations. It's not difficult to give you 1000 photos, but are you sure you want it? Think how long it will take to watch them and how tiring it can get. Think about the moment of choosing photos for your family albums. About the prospect of returning to these photos after many years. And is it really possible to take so many good and interesting photos within 12 hours? I'll tell you right away - no! A photographer would need to take one great photo more than once a minute. I bet none of your friends would like to watch so many photos that repeat over and over again, and you have 10 identical photos of all the wedding moments. That is why it is worth looking at the portfolio and pay attention to whether there are many repetitions in it, differing only in details. The same applies to the outdoor session. During the wedding, an average photographer will take around 3,000 photos, but precisely to make your wedding reportage unique, they should make a wise selection and give you photos that capture a beautiful, interesting story. In my opinion, with a full package of photos (preparation, wedding, wedding, outdoor, guests' wall) their number should still not exceed 500.
10. How will I receive the photos?
Recently, the most popular way to upload wedding photos is a virtual photo gallery.However, personally, I believe that this is not a sufficient solution. Discuss it with your photographer before signing the contract. I believe that an engraved flash drive with a copy of your photos and prints of at least some of them is a minimum.
I always recommend my couples to go for some additional forms of immortalizing their photos - an album or a photobook. You can read about why I think the wedding album is so important in this article. These are, of course, your decisions to take. It's important that you do not get unpleasantly surprised by the hidden costs afterwards. Find out what exactly is in your package and what are the prices of albums or prints.