How Do I Choose The Best Wedding Photographer?

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When planning the perfect wedding, choosing the right photographer is critical. After all, if the wedding photos don’t turn out well, it will be more difficult to look back on this special day as the years go by. So how do you find the best wedding photographer? Well, the answer depends on you, your future spouse, and several other factors, including budget. Here are some things to consider that can help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding.

Decide on a Photography Style that Matches Your Desire or Wedding Theme

Professional photographers usually have their own style, though some are willing to modify their images to suit the client’s preferences. However, if you choose a photographer whose natural style mirrors what you’re looking for, their passion will probably shine through and enhance the photos they create. You may not have given much thought to style choices, so if that’s the case, consider these options:

Classic portraits. This is the style that is traditionally associated with wedding photos and relies on formal poses of wedding guests and the newlyweds. Variations of this style can incorporate variations such as sepia tone to give it an old fashioned look, or a soft focus on faces for a dreamier look.

Candid. In direct contrast to the formal style of classic portraits, candid style photos are all about capturing the joy and sometimes silliness of a wedding. Some people think of this as more of a documentary style. Photos might include the guests enjoying each other and the moment, with lots of laughter, and spontaneous captures of the day’s events. Again in contrast to classic portraits, the subjects will usually not be looking at the camera.

Fine art. This is a more specialized wedding photo style, and is more objective than subjective. In other words, if you really like the photographer’s unique style, you are more likely to appreciate their wedding photos done in the same way. They may shoot exclusively in black and white, use high contrast for richer blacks, or emphasizes graininess in their images. Fine art photographers may use large format cameras and use a darkroom to process them, or they may shoot with a digital camera. Request to see examples of their work and then ask them how they envision photographing your wedding and what the final prints may look like.

Unconventional. This is a bold and edgy style of creating wedding images. Expect to see extreme angles, out-of-the-box colorization, and other techniques. As with fine art style, the photographer will have their own unique, individual approach. Request to see their portfolio before hiring them so that you are less likely to be disappointed because you expected a different result.

View the Photographer’s Portfolio

As mentioned above, it’s important to view their portfolio ahead of time in order to know what to expect. Your wedding day is too late to discuss their style, so if you see the photographer laying on the floor as they’re shooting, you should already have expected that. When viewing their portfolio, look at many of their images, especially the most recent ones. As with any type of artist, many photographers’ styles evolve over time. Images they created ten years ago might be in a very different style than how they shoot today. Also, not all photographers are well versed in shooting in artificial light conditions, and some are not adept at shooting in natural light, outdoors. Their portfolio images’ settings should match what you’re planning for your wedding day.

Do you feel a connection with the photographer?

When wedding day rolls around, you’ll have much more important things on your mind than wondering if the photographer is doing their job. During interactions with the photographer while you are interviewing them, interacting in person, on the phone, or by email, do you feel heard? Are they responsive to you? Do you feel as if the communication between you is clear? A professional photographer should be held to the same standards as the caterer and others who you will be relying on for your special day.

Be clear on the costs and fees.

Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you are clear about how much you will have to pay the photographer and when. Ask if there are any line items that are not included that could come up. Be sure to get their price in writing and keep a copy for yourself.

Be clear on who owns the rights to the photos.

The photographer may retain ownership to the rights to the photos they take at your wedding. Make sure the contract stipulates how they can use your photos. Can they sell them to strangers or to advertisers? Can they include them on their website? At the same time, you need to understand how you can use the photos. Can you post them on social media and your website?

Be clear on when you will receive your wedding photos.

If the photographer is a professional, they will not send you copies of all the photos they took because not all will be of high quality. They will likely send you a small selection of low resolution images with their watermark across the middle so that you don’t print them without paying for the final versions of the images. The editing process can be lengthy, plus, they probably have a number of clients and a heavy workload. Find out how many images you should expect to receive, when, and will they be the final versions or unedited?

We understand the importance of planning every detail of your wedding day to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible and provides a lifetime of wonderful memories. Call us today at 818-241-5432 to talk to one of our wedding planning specialists who can help you prepare for your special day.

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