Seeing lots of wedding photographers?
How do you choose?
For many couples, looking through wedding photographer’s portfolios can be difficult and downright confusing. It’s probably your first time hiring a photographer and you aren’t sure of what you should look for, but you like photos. You’ve searched and pinned, gone down rabbit holes, hash tagged and saved, and now you have a huge inspiration board with no clear direction.
Let’s Break it Down
Before we get into the how, let’s look at, “why is wedding photography important.” The essential purpose of photography is to communicate. Communication of emotions and light that can be understood or interpreted by people all over the world. Photography preserves moments, preserves memories, connects kin through generations. It’s never really about the gear, it’s always about seeing something, knowing how I want it to look, and making it. Anyone can make an image, but how the photographer sees an image is the most important part.
More than camera gear
Wedding photography is so much more than having a nice camera or taking a lot of pictures to make sure you have every angle covered. While gear is very important, it isn’t everything. There are personable attributes that your photographer needs to have to be able to interact properly and efficiently. There are no mock-ups or photo tastings when picking your photographer. Thusly, I have put together some thoughts and questions to hopefully point you in the right direction.
How to choose from so many wedding photographers
Some questions to ask yourself as you’re researching
Do I see myself and my family & friends in these photos?
Do I like this style of photography? Are you seeing a trend in what you’re being drawn to?
What draws me to this imagery specifically? Is it the color, is it the way the moments are captured? Maybe it’s the composition?
What feels right to my fiancé and I?
Maybe you prefer formal or posed photos. Perhaps you are being drawn to images with a more candid or journalistic feel to them. Are the images your version of timeless – will you grandchildren see a bit of themselves in the photos? And maybe it’s a mix that you’re drawn to – which is more of my style – I prefer to keep things flowing and candid, but will direct to make you look your best, without being obtrusive.
Look at the colors in the image – is it bright & airy or dark & moody? How do the colors of skin tones look to you – do they look natural or do they look photoshopped? Do you like the mix of color and black and whites. If there’s a trend in the style that you find is drawing you in, focus on photographers with that style!
I strongly suggest looking at your photographer’s portfolio on the largest screen you have – this can give you a great look into the full depth of the images.
What moments of your wedding day photography are most important to you?
How do the wedding photographers capture the moments that are most important to you? In what ways are they telling the story. How the wedding photographer displays the story is also a great way to see what they love and insight into their personality. How does the photographer get across what they want you to see or know about them – does their personality show in their site? Do they seem like someone you can hang out with? You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with your wedding photographers as a 3rd wheel – so you want to make sure they present an energy you want to be surrounded with. Do they put me at ease? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way? Will they go to bat for you in a professional manner?
Narrowing it down
Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite wedding photographers, start researching – How long have they been providing their service for? You want a seasoned professional, one who has been through it. Part of your photography investment is in their knowledge that they have collected through the years. With time comes confidence – the confidence to walk into any situation and know exactly what to do. Do they have client testimonials on their site or can they provide some upon request. Have they been featured on wedding blogs or in magazines? I highly recommend finding out what other vendors say about working with your photographer – they are a GREAT resource as they work with many vendors and can tell you how the photographer works on a regular basis.
Questions to ask wedding photographers for your day
Ask for more
Ask any wedding photographers that you potentially want to work with if you can see a couple of their recent, full weddings that they’ve photographed. The website is usually a highlight reel, but you want to actually see what’s going on under the hood. This should give you a well-rounded idea of the photographer’s work – keeping in mind what was important and various factors for the client in the photos. If you think the full gallery of photos are just as good and consistent to what you see in their portfolio, then you’re on the right track.
Some things to look for when you’re looking through a photographer’s portfolio or full gallery
The Key Moments
Take note of the key moments that are important to you, how did they capture these moments – keep in mind that there are many factors to a wedding day, and there may not have been an opportunity for some of these moments, but their general style should be a great look into how they photograph moments. Just let your photographer know a couple key moments that are important to you and they should take note and work to get those moments for you, if time and moment do occur.
Are their compositions thoughtful – do you like how the photos are framed? Some things technically you should look for are horizon lines – are they straight or crooked? The horizon line should be straight, unless they’ve done it for artistic taste, which you may prefer, but it’s not considered technically sound. As a long-time wedding photographer, the more a photographer pays attention to composition, I can tell you the more timeless the images are.
What does the lighting look like – are there dark circles under the eyes, is the lighting even or dappled? The word photography means painting with light. It’s one of the most important technical aspects of photography.
Does the photographer photograph your friends and family during your wedding? Do they look like they are having a good time? Expressions are game changers and elevate your wedding photos to art work. A great photographer should know how to photograph people when they look their best and at a flattering angle. Your photographer should be assertive enough to recognize great moments and also be able to coax guests into a relaxed smile and natural stances.
One of the most important things to look for when you’re researching wedding photographers
Quality over Quantity
When you choose your wedding photographers, remember quality over quantity. It’s best to not get caught up with the number of photos you’ll receive. There are so many factors that go into this number so it’s best to take note, but don’t be stuck on an actual number. More-so, focus on the quality of the work. We photographers know that weddings are a big investment and you’ve allocated set amounts for all vendors. A hot tip – you can always buy the products later, but you can’t change the quality of the photographs taken after the wedding day. If there is something you need to remove from your collection to make it more affordable, start with the products. It’s totally ok.