It's been awhile since I talked about how to choose the perfect photographer for your wedding! Soooooo, here you go! :)
FINDING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER:
First and foremost, as you start your search to finding a wedding photographer, look everywhere! Google wedding photographers in your area and surrounding area, look on wedding resource websites such as The Knot and WeddingWire, and ask friends and family for referrals. Remember that you are not tied to the wedding photographers in your immediate area, many photographers travel for weddings so don't be afraid to look at photographers in different cities or states.
Do you like the images that you see on the photographer's website? If this was your wedding, would you be happy with the images? If you answer no to those questions, move on to the next photographer. You are hiring the photographer for their photos and you should love all the photos on their website. It's also not a bad idea to ask to see a full wedding from a photographer so you can get an idea of what to expect on your wedding day.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE:
As you look through different wedding photographers and wedding photos you will start to realize what photography style you like best. You will want to choose a photographer that has the style that you are envisioning for your wedding. You may find a photographer that has amazing photos, but is not exactly in the style that you are wanting. Keep looking until you find the photographer that has your style and produces amazing photos!
Make sure that the photographer you are looking into offers the types of packages and services that you are needing. Example: do they offer the option of adding a second photographer, do they offer a photo booth service, do they offer the prints/albums/canvas that you want, do their packages include the amount of time you need, edited images, print releases? Again, this depends on what you are wanting/needing for your wedding and you will want to find a photographer that offers everything you need. (As a side note to this, if you are interested in a print product that the photographer does not advertise, ask them if they can get it. Most professional photographers work with a professional print lab and can get pretty much anything you are interested in. Just because it is not on their print list does not mean that they are not willing to get it for you, it just might not be something that everyone is interested in.)
PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER OR CORPORATION:
This is a matter of preference. For reference, a personal photographer is a photographer who runs their business and will be the person photographing your wedding, and a corporation is a business that hires several different photographers and when you book your wedding they assign a photographer to you. There are pros and cons to both of these business models. With the personal photographer, the person you meet and see sample images from will be the person who will be photographing your wedding. With the corporation, you meet with an agent who will show you images which may not be from the person who will photograph your wedding and the agent will assign a photographer to your wedding. Oftentimes, you can get a lower price with the corporation (because they pay the photographers an hourly/event rate), but you are running the risk of not clicking with your photographer or getting the type of photographs you are expecting. With dealing with a photographer that runs their business and photographs the weddings personally, you are able to meet with them and see the images that they produce.
This one is a big one that many people overlook. Your wedding photographer is going to be with you throughout your wedding. You want to be able to click with your photographer and not feel uncomfortable. Your wedding photographer should be someone you enjoy having around. Don't feel bad about not booking a certain photographer that you don't click with. We all have different personalities and we know that sometimes we are not the right fit.
This is usually the deciding factor for most people. Does the photographer fit into your budget? Remember that the photographs from your wedding are one of the only tangible things that you will have to remember your wedding. You will look through these photos for the rest of your life and they will be passed on to future generations. You should consider your wedding photography an investment. Now with that said, I'm not saying you should throw your budget out completely and hire someone who is completely over your budget. However, you should price your photography budget accordingly (photography should be taking up 10-12% of your total budget and the national average for a wedding is around $20,000-$30,000). If you find someone who is a little over your budget but is someone you love and want for your wedding, see if there is any wiggle room in your budget.
Ultimately, choose a photographer who produces images you love, feel comfortable around, and offers what you need. If you are looking for a wedding photographer in the Indiana area, I would love to meet with you and discuss your wedding! :)
Wedding Wednesday is a blog series that occurs every Wednesday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.