Engagement season is upon us! Congratulations to all of you engaged love birds out there! <3
Now is the time to start looking for a photographer. Don’t know where to start? I didn’t either, all those years ago. Okay, it was only six years, but still.
So, how do you choose the best wedding photographer for you? It isn’t about who has the best portfolio or the cheapest price. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you and your photographer are a good match. What does that mean? You do not have to be besties with your photographer but you certainly do not want to feel like you are in a cold and sterile environment. There NEEDS to be a connection.
In this digital age, meeting in person is falling by the wayside. I will be the first to admit, e-mail correspondence and text messaging are my faves, but it is so, SO important to meet in person. I highly recommend that you meet with your wedding photographer more than once. Heck, more than twice. The initial consult and the final consult before your big day are standard, of course, but it is also very important to meet at least one more time in between.
What should you talk about at your initial consultation? Let’s go over some important questions you should ask.
1. Ask about her photographic style. Does she shoot posed portraits only? Does she shoot in a photojournalistic style? Also be sure to ask about her working style. Does she prefer to be a fly on the wall and let things happen naturally or does she prefer posed scenes? What do YOU prefer? It is important that you have an interest in the way your photographer shoots and works.
2. How much post-processing and Photoshop editing does your photographer do? Is she heavy on the editing? Does she heal every blemish and make you lose 20lbs? Be sure you know your photographer’s editing style and what she will and will not do. As an example, I do not do heavy Photoshopping. Generally speaking, I will not make you thinner or reduce aging. (If you are troubled by certain scars or blemishes, please confide in me about whether or not you would like them retouched.) I shoot with honesty and value authenticity. I want you to feel comfortable in your own skin. You are beautiful as you are.
3. So, you thought you would only need 5 hours of coverage but as the day progresses on, you realize you need 8…EIGHT! OMG, what now?! Be sure to ask your photographer if she will provide extra coverage and what the cost is per hour. This is very important. Do not assume that your photographer will just stay because there’s more going on. Do you have a special closing event, like a lantern lighting? Are your guests seeing you off? Be sure to allot the proper amount of coverage time for this if you want it photographed. Tip: It’s best to allow the most amount of time possible, rather than cutting yourself short. Timelines are usually rarely acknowledged as the day progresses. Things happen. People arrive late. Things get left behind. Please allow yourself enough time to compensate for that to alleviate any unnecessary stressors for you!
4. Does your photographer have liability insurance? This is very, very important. If your photographer does NOT have insurance, YOU can be held liable if there are any injuries due to tripping over equipment, for example, because you hired the photographer. This goes for all of your vendors as well. Everyone should be properly insured. Some venues will insist a photographer has insurance, and will require proof, or they will not be allowed to photograph on the property.
5. How many pictures will the photographer take? How many will you receive? Every photographer is different. If there is a ballpark amount of images you want, be sure to go with someone who offers that as a standard. If you want 800 final images, you probably do not want to hire the photographer who gives you 375 in the final gallery.
6. Is an engagement session offered? Do you want an engagement session? Most wedding photographers offer or include engagement sessions. It only makes sense and I highly recommend you have an engagement session with the photographer you are hiring to shoot your wedding. This is the best possible way to see how the photographer works and what to expect. You will get to know each other in the field rather than via e-mail or at meetings. This is also the perfect way to become comfortable in front of the camera. You are going to have a lens in your face for hours on your wedding day. It’s a good idea to become comfortable with that before the day. Plus, engagement sessions are FUN! It’s all about you as a couple and how awesome your love is. Do it. You won’t regret it, I promise.
7. Is your photographer willing to work with any ideas you have? This is very important as well. If the photographer is not willing to hear any of your suggestions or collaborate on ideas, hit the road. You want to work with someone who wants to work with you. This is your day. You deserve that. That being said, most photographers want to hear your ideas and important shots. Please keep in mind that if you give your photographer a giant list of desired shots, she is under no obligation to photograph every single one. In fact, having her nose in a list all day is going to detract from the real magic that she would capture naturally.
What about the extra meeting I recommended?
Get together over coffee at your favorite café. Chat with him or her about how your wedding plans are coming along. Ask how things are going on his/her end, too! This is really an informal visit to spend some more time together and chat about things that haven’t already been covered. You may want a boudoir session so you can present your love with a gorgeous album as a wedding gift. This is the perfect time to chat about it.
The last time you meet with your photographer before your wedding should take place at least two weeks prior to the big day. This meeting can be brief, but it is very important. Here is when you should have your wedding day itinerary finalized. It is very important to make sure it’s ready to go so your photographer can put the finishing touches on his/her photography timeline and provide you with any last minute tips to help the day go smoothly. Wedding days are hectic and over in a flash and have the notoriety of having mishaps. Don’t fret. As professionals, we have experience with smoothing over the bumps when things veer off course. And if this happens, it will be okay!
There are dozens and dozens of websites telling you the 5,000 most important questions to ask your potential wedding photographer. Most are standard and are almost always covered during your initial consultation. It is best to make a list of questions that YOU feel are important and be sure to ask them right away.
We want to be a good match for you, too. That’s what we’re here for!
Are you ready to schedule your consultation? I would love to hear all about your beautiful plans. Let’s chat over coffee and get to know each other. 🙂
I am already booking into fall 2017; there are limited dates left available in 2016. Send me a note to secure your date today!
Catch up with me on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re really bored, you can take a peek at my nerdy mom life on my personal Instagram. 😉
Happy wedding planning! <3
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