Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

A photographers snaps photos of a wedding couple
A photographers snaps photos of a wedding couple

How do you decide on a good wedding photographer? What makes this decision so stressful is actually the opinions of your family and friends. What do your friends, family, and co-workers say about a “good” wedding photographer? What helps when choosing a wedding photographer is determining what matters to you the most and focusing your efforts to get that element perfect.

Here are some of the details people tend to focus on when selecting a photographer.

Length of Time Available

Weddings can vary in duration, and the prepwork done before the wedding can often be part of what you want to capture on camera. When you are shopping around for a photographer, take note of how long are they available for their rate? Their rate might include only four hours of taking photographs, a full eight hours of shooting, or a whole day with a couple of hours at the rehearsal dinner thrown in. Make sure that you are not paying more than you need to. If you think their smallest photo package is more time than you need, take a minute to reconsider to be certain you aren’t scrimping when you know you really want pictures of the after-parties or of the time while you are getting ready.

A photographer takes a photo of the newlyweds

Do They Come as a Team or Is There a Solo Photographer?

Large weddings make it hard to catch every moment from a single camera lens. Certain photographers work in teams, which can be advantageous to you. If you know that there will be tons of family there and you want to get photos of them all, having multiple photographers can help to capture every moment. It also helps the main photographer stay fresh throughout the wedding since they can take breaks more easily. Teams often are cheaper than you might think, since both photographers have an easier day of it. Consider hiring a team if you know that many things will be going on simultaneously at your wedding.

Attitude and Tone of Their Past Photographs

One of the best ways to decide between photographers is to look at their photography samples online. What kind of photos do they generally take? You will want to know if they shoot clear-cut photos, very emotion-laden photos, or wedding-as-a-fairytale photos. When you find a photographer who captures the tone that you want for your wedding, it’s a sign that they will give you well-captured photographs from your wedding day.

What Level of Editing is Included in The Photo Package?

Some brides are disappointed when they choose a photography package that only includes heavy editing on a small subset of the total photographs taken. They want a wide variety of photos to look picture-perfect and not like snapshots. If you are seriously considering a photographer, talk with them about how many photos will get the star editing treatment and what kinds of touch-ups they will do on the photos. This can really help you avoid being disappointed with the results of your wedding photography package.

A photographer checks his image as he takes wedding photos

Getting Some Video in Too

You can certainly get photography and videography separately. Choose a package that includes both video and photography, so that you get a more varied and well-coordinated final set of photos and wedding videos. If you and your spouse-to-be agree that you mainly want one, beautiful video to remind you of the special day and you don’t need a lot in terms of still photographs, you can work out a deal where you spend the bulk of your budget on videography and ask a friend or family members to take a few snapshots along the way.

Budget Option: When Photos Don’t Matter That Much to You

If you have read through all of these options and think that you simply want a few unedited, not-so-perfect, snapshot-level photographs since you will have family and friends there, you might want to consider a few other options. Seek out a photography student who has limited wedding experience and offer a small sum in exchange for services. They get experience that helps them build their portfolios, and you get inexpensive photos that might not be perfect but will capture the event.

Another option is to ask a friend who owns a nice camera to take a few family portraits and snap a few pictures around the reception and ceremony. This won’t give you the comprehensive album that professional photographers offer, but it will mean you have photos that allow you to remember the day. A gift or small token payment can be the way you “pay” for those photos if you aren’t asking this friend to edit or print any of the photos themselves. There are risks to inexpensive photography options, but if you don’t mind imperfect or unedited photos and simply want to treasure the memories when you look at them, it might be worth it to save the money.

Regardless of how you choose to allocate your budget for photography, recognize that one or two priorities may be all that you can focus on. Once you know what you want, you can convey that to the photographers you consider and help them decide with you whether they would be a good fit. Regardless, photos from the special day become some of the best ways to relive the experience, so taking the time to select a photographer well is worth the effort.

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