My best friend is getting married next year (Yay!) and she innocently asked me a few days ago “How did you find a wedding photographer who was right for you?” Welp… she asked for it and she got it! Essays upon essays of my unfiltered, unadulterated and very opinionated information about wedding photography were immediately sent to her iphone. It was then I realized that maybe I should simplify and organize all of this information to share with others.
When I was preparing for my wedding, the two most important vendors for me to lock into place first were my baker and my photographer (everything else just kind of happened in its own time). I took those two very seriously and I was prepared to spend big bucks for exceptional quality.
Nothing made me appreciate weddings more than when I had to plan and pay for my own. I researched and studied weddings as if it was my livelihood and of course, as I do with all things, I pulled Garrett into my obsession. So as a former wedding-planning bride and a current wedding photographer, I am going to share with you just my top 5 tips on finding the photographer special enough for your big day!
1. Know Your Budget
Know what you want your wedding to be like and then make it affordable for yourself. I will go into this further in an upcoming blog post, but in the meantime break down your wedding and make a rough draft spreadsheet on how much you would like to spend on each vendor. Be prepared to make calculated exceptions. Once you have your finances in order then you can work on the fun stuff! Time to look at hundreds of photographers in the area! Oh what fun, now just narrow it down to your favorites (while checking to see if they are in your price range). Most photographers won’t have all of their prices online, but it never hurts to send an e-mail. Who knows you might be pleasantly surprised by their answer. Knowing your budget and knowing what you want out of your photographer is half the battle.
You don’t think about this until the actual day of your wedding but, in most cases, your spending most of your day with your photographer. Make sure that your photographer is somebody that you feel comfortable with or, even more so, someone you actually like being around. Your wedding day will have plenty of raw and unexpected emotions floating around from person to person, feeling awkward in front of a camera does not have to be one of those feelings.
When choosing your photographer, first and foremost, look for someone whose portfolio is pleasing to your taste. Their photography style will tell you what kind of person they are and give you an idea of who you’re dealing with and if you want that style reflected on your day. Of course, you can’t choose from just seeing their work online… read their blog, call them on the phone, shake their hand, take them out for ice cream J Meeting up with your photographer in person will help you decide if they are the ones or not. Speaking with them face to face to bounce creative ideas around and to see their printed portfolio in person will solidify your decision and give you confidence that you made the right decision. You wouldn’t buy a cake without tasting it, right?
3. 2 Photographers are Better than One
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…this is not a plug for Megapixels Media. On a personal note, we’ve been to weddings where there’s been only one photographer. My husband and I just cringe when we see special moments missed because that one photographer was changing his lens at the moment of the First Kiss. At least the cell-phone photographers captured it. Not only was this a poor decision made by the photographer, but as a client why would you want to take that risk? Accidents do happen out there on the field, it’s best to have some back-up. These are precious, once-in –a-lifetime moments (that you paid your hard-earned cash on) why jeopardize them? Most photographers charge extra for a second-shooter but you can’t tell me it’s not worth it!
Another plus-side to having 2 photographers to cover your wedding day is having the ability to relive your day from two different perspectives. For instance, when my husband and I shoot weddings, my husband follows the groom before the ceremony and I spend all of my time catering to the bride just before she walks down the aisle. Garrett is in a separate location prepping the guys and boosting morale. I am able to blend in with the girls while the bride is getting ready and Garrett is able to kick it with the groom while he is preparing to see his future wife.
You’re only getting married once right? You deserve wedding vendors that are going to make your day special and memorable. To find the photographer perfect for you, search for an experienced photographer who is knowledgeable, informed and passionate of capturing weddings. My husband and I spend a lot of our free time watching and attending photography seminars, reading wedding blogs/magazines and researching ways to make our photography better for our clients. We believe in not only offering timeless wedding images, but also offering an unforgettable wedding experience. We are in constant contact with our brides and grooms before the wedding getting to know their personal style, exchanging unique ideas, creating pinterest boards together and sharing personal stories so that when their big day comes we know what special things we can do to make their day exceptional.
5. Know What to Expect
Needless to say, all of your vendors should be transparent with you on the proceedings of your wedding day. Each professional should provide a detailed contract specifying the essentials of your agreement. When my best friend asked me what to look for when finding the right wedding photographer, it ultimately came down to these last few factors that I normally wouldn’t think to ask about as a bride.
As a former wedding-obsessed bride and a current wedding professional, the following were defining elements in finalizing my wedding photographer: the photographer would need to be able to deliver a premium Wedding Album, have a relatively fast processing/turn-around time and an unrestricted print release of edited images. I say these 3 final factors because you spend so much time and money planning and preparing for a wedding, at the end of it all you will want a high-quality album with your most precious memories to look back on for years and years to come. You want to be able to share those memories with your future family and those who were unable to make it and you should not have to wait 6 months to have access to those images (I’ve seen it happen). Having an unrestricted print release gives you full access to share your wedding memories however you wish, whether it be with your social media network or by creating a DIY photo gift for your loved one.
These were factors that were important to us when we were shopping for a wedding photographer, so now they are important benefactors that we include in our business. Our goal is to provide high-quality wedding photography services that we would want to invest in ourselves if we were planning our wedding. We like to think that we have high standards, and we wouldn’t offer any services that we weren’t completely satisfied with and confident in ourselves.
I hope these tips are helpful to you in planning your wedding and finding the right wedding photographer for you. We wish you all the best!
Megan and Garrett