4 Tips to Help in Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
Ah, the hunt. Engaged and excited about the wedding, you look up photographers. But, if you're in a place like Colorado Springs, where we have photographers galore, you might find the options overwhelming and the process a little confusing.
Being a freelance photographer and a bridesmaid 6 times so far--can anyone say Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses??--I've seen a lot of brides' confusion during this process. Photographers are all kind of similar, yet so different. They all want to make your day special, but everyone will go about that in their own ways and will give you a different experience.
Photographers come in all shapes, sizes, and specifications. Some are really artsy, while others keep it simple. Whether they're going solo or work with other shooters, indoors or outdoors, dark and moody or light and airy, there are photographers for literally everyone. And that can make the decision-making process hard.
It can be daunting. It can seem confusing. Sometimes, brides don't even know what exactly they're looking for. Or how to go about it. But take in a deep breath and don't worry, finding a photographer can actually be an exciting process.
How can you eliminate some of the stress in finding a wedding photographer?
1. Look at the price, and look at the style.
Okay, price is definitely important. Gotta stick to that budget! But that isn't the only thing that matters. Whatever your budget is, there are photographers who fit into that. Of course it's important to stay in your limit, but once inside that, really take a look at the style and the feel of the photographer's work.
You're going to be looking at these photos for the rest of your lives--don't base your decision solely on nickels and dimes!
2. Ask lots of questions.
When talking with friends about the details of their wedding photographer, I've often heard the answer "I don't know." Do you know what to expect from them on your wedding day? Do you feel comfortable asking the "what if" questions or asking for clarification if you don't understand something?
A friend of mine told me she picked her wedding photographers because they were cheap. That's it. They had no conversation about what shots were important to the bride and what shots weren't, or any other important details. And you know what, it turned out that they missed some big things she wanted on her wedding day. Ouch.
When you sit down with a photographer over coffee or for a consultation, ask questions. Not only will you know what they're about and what you're getting yourself into, you'll feel more comfortable having those questions answered.
3. Know they are worth that dollar sign. Every bit of it.
Budget is really important. And you might be surprised at a photographer's pricing. But it's important to know that photographers don't come up with a number just off the cuff. Whatever they're charging clients, it's for good reasons. It's important to take this into consideration: you're not just paying for their time at your wedding.
You're paying for artistic value, expertise, the use of the equipment and potentially props they bring, and yes, also their time. Their time at the venue, which is anywhere from 6 to 12 or more hours. Their time beforehand, as they prepare. Their time afterwards as they edit through hundreds and hundreds of photos. Trust me, that editing process can take f o r e v e r. If they have an assistant or second shooter with them, you're paying for that as well.
So keep in mind when you see the dollar sign, there's a lot that goes with it. And you're getting what you pay for. Your wedding photos are an investment, and that is very important!
4. Choose someone because they make you comfortable.
I tell this to my clients all the time, and I encourage my friends to do the same. You have to go with someone who you'll be okay with being "jalapeño business" throughout the big day. Someone's going to ask you to smile, to cuddle, to look deep into your spouse's eyes. They're going to ask you to laugh, to dance, throw confetti in the air--lots of things.
You have to trust your photographer if you want the best results. When you see their work, you should enjoy it. When you see them, you should feel relaxed because they've got this handled. When they interact with you, they should help put you at ease, however that looks for you. They're there for you, and you should be okay with them.
Every photographer will feel different, and that's part of the fun of it. You find one you jive with and it's a great feeling!
Whatever your jam is, find a photographer who makes you excited about all the beautiful memories they're going to capture for you on your wedding day. And when you make that decision, take a breath. Your photographer's got you.