7 Steps You Should Take To Ensure Your Photographer Is The Best!
STEP 1 Settle on a Style
Before you begin searching for a photographer, you’ll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer. Finding out what is your preferred style is such an important start as these are photos you’ll look back on for years so it’s a good idea to make sure, you do like the style the photographer has.
Do any of the following styles jump out to you?
Documentary: Instead of a series of posed photos, these are more candid or spontaneous pictures of people, décor and the action. These might include your crew of cousins dancing, or you and your bridesmaids laughing together, champagne in hand. With a purely photojournalistic photographer, you’ll rarely see people staring at the camera—the photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story.
Portraiture: More a traditional style, think your parents wedding photos. If you prefer classic portraits all styled and lined up, go with a traditional photographer who specialises in portraiture. Posed shots of the two of you, your friends and family in front of various backdrops. That’s not to say that you won’t get candid and creative shots in this category it’s just more structured than the others.
Fine Art: Though it’s quite like documentary photography, this style gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their point of view and style into your photographs. So, while the shots reflect reality, it’s the photographer’s reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are—or look as though they were—shot on film with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance. Usually the object (or couple) is in focus and the background appears to blur. Not all photographers who take a fine-art approach shoot portraits, so if it’s important to your mum and grandma to have posed family shots, look for someone who does both, or consider hiring a second shooter for the portrait sessions.
Edgy and Bold: This style of photography, is a branch off the fine art category, it is marked by tilted angles (called Dutch angles), unconventional framing and different approach. So instead of a straight-on shot of the couple exchanging vows at the altar, the photo might look tilted, with an object like an altar arrangement or a candle in the foreground. Or you could find you’ll get images from abstract angles a photo of the bride getting her makeup done might be from above, with an emphasis on the eye shadow brush rather than on her face. Even a simple portrait of a bridesmaid might be shot so her face takes over only the bottom right of the photo and the rest of the space is filled with the wall or whatever’s behind her.
Many wedding photographers including me, can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, and will do a mix of black-and-white and colour images, but if there’s a special style you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialise in it. I’ve found that after working in newspaper as well as my business I’ve been able to be exposed to create my own artistic blend style that is simply my own.
STEP 2 Check Reviews
Now you’ve got your style sorted and you’ve started looking at different photographers its now time to check out their websites, Facebook and other social media spaces to see what other people have to say about them. Most good photographers will have current testimonials and reviews to match the photos they are showing you. Looking at social media pages like Facebook will also give you a good idea of the sort of relationship they have with their clients. How does the photographer respond to people on their page? What does their website look like, this can even give you hints on their personality!
STEP 3 Set Up A Meeting Time
Whether this is a meeting for a coffee which really is your best option so you can meet them in person or if that’s not possible then make sure you have a meeting on Skype or Zoom so you have a chance to get the feel of their personality.
Make sure you’re having a meeting with the actual photographer not just a sales person or an assistant. Building a relationship with this person is the best way to make sure you know what you’re getting.
STEP 4 Trust your gut!
Let’s face it, this is an investment. And a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Most of the time you’ll be spending somewhat of a chunk of your budget on your photographer so make sure it’s going to work.
Trust your intuition, don’t over think that gut feeling. If you have a feeling that you’re not quite sure you like this person than 9 times out of 10 that will be there for a reason.
STEP 5 See A Full Wedding Catalogue!
Instead of just seeing the highlight reel on a photographer’s website ask to see a wedding album or a full catalogue of images that you would receive from them. There is a reason photographers only show you the best of the best photos on their website. If you see a whole gallery of images from start to finish you’ll get a more well-rounded idea of their style and what you’ll end up getting in your complete collection at the end.
STEP 7 Ask How Many Photos Are Included
How many photos should I receive from the photographer? Generally, you’ll find that most photographers will give you somewhere between 50-100 photos for every hour they give you coverage for. 400 photos might seem like a lot but your photographer should be preserving every little detail and moment in these. If a photographer is offering more than this then I would like to see the full wedding catalogue of what you would be getting photos of after that.
You might find the more photos you get the lesser of quality they are. Rather than striving to get you the best photos at the best quality the photographer might be rushing the post production and not really getting rid of the bad angles and missed shots that are slightly out of focus. This will leave room for you to find the bad shots in the finished product and focus on these rather than the moments that really captured the essence of the day.
STEP 7 Final Step Entering Into A Contract
If your photographer doesn’t have a contract for you to sign or acknowledge I’d be asking why? Contracts might seem like a something that doesn’t need to be done, but it’s a really good idea to view these and have one with your photographer. It covers both parties for cancellations as well as procedures and what to expect and when to expect your photos after your wedding. Having a contract will also give you peace of mind that this person does know what they are doing and they are professional about the whole experience a side note to this is to check if they have liability insurance. Liability insurance is especially critical for photographers working in sensitive specialisations (wedding, new born, extreme sports, etc.) This insurance works as an umbrella to provide protection against legal actions arising from injuries, accidents and other claims.
STEP 8 Bonus Advice! Enjoy yourself… Most of you will only get married once so make sure it’s a day filled with love and joy! <3