This post is really for those couples who do really care about their wedding photography. If you think wedding photography is one of your most important things when you plan your wedding this post is definitely for you.
Wedding is the beginning of a spiritual and emotional journey and also creates a life-long commitment. No doubt, it is one of the most treasured occasions in your life which you will remember forever. You will never forget your wedding day.
During the preparations of your wedding ceremony, numerous important things are required like rings, attires, guest list, the location of the ceremony, and reception, etc. One of the most important tasks on your wedding list is “Wedding Photography.” Photos not only allow us to capture a certain moment in time but also preserve it for generations to come. Also, you are able to relive the wonderful memory or experience again and again. If you print them, printed pictures are shared easily with others and can be a great gift for your family. As photos connect you to your past and help you to remind you of the best feelings, places, people, and the small but incredibly important moments of your wedding day.
One of the mistakes brides make when selecting a wedding photographer is that they try to book their wedding photographer to close to their wedding. I am a Miami based wedding photographer. Miami is a popular destination wedding location. Wedding dates go fast. Don’t wait too late to start reaching out to wedding photographers. I have couples reach out to me often two or three months in advance of their wedding. Often I am booked. You have to understand that wedding photographers tend to book out maybe 10 sometimes 12 months in advance. The chances that you are going to find great wedding photographer are slim if you try to hire one months before your wedding date. Furthermore, even if you find available ones, there is a much smaller selection you can pick from.
Once you hire your dream wedding photographer, you should trust him or her. If you don’t trust him or her enough to freely let them do their job the outcome (photo quality) will suffer. Give them their creative freedom and listen to them. If your photographer tells you that a given location isn’t going to be the greatest for the family photos you need to trust him or her. The same applies to getting ready, ceremony, reception, etc. If you feel that you can not trust your photographer, don’t hire them. You have to have somebody on your wedding day that you wholeheartedly trust otherwise you’re probably going to end up being frustrated. They’re the experts. they know what works for photography and what does not work. For example, a lot of times my bride’s choice for family photo location may not be my ideal place. There may be better options with clear background and better lighting for family photos. I always try to educate my bride. I always tell her that I don’t think that her idea is the best option we have and I give alternative suggestions. I always try to educate my couples about the consequences of certain decisions and thankfully my couples trust me. I have their best interests at heart. I’m going to help them along the way to ensure that we really get the best set of photos. We, wedding photographers, always have a vision in our mind and sometimes the couples might not see that vision because we see something that other people don’t. We know the potential that a certain pose or a certain location or concept has and what looks great.
Another mistake is that you don’t give enough information to your wedding photographer. Make sure you give your wedding photographer and any other vendors the vital information they need. Vital information is your date your wedding city, your wedding venue, vendor list, any existing family issue, etc. We want to know all the little details. The bride’s makeup, hall decor, flowers, guests, and emotions, all will become a memory. You will always regret it if your wedding photographer is unable to capture those priceless moments and you will never be able to get those moments again. Hence, it’s necessary to hire a well-skilled wedding photographer, but also give him or her the necessary little details about your wedding.
Probably the biggest wedding regret that we see whether it’s from friends talking about it or people on online forums is that they went too cheap on their wedding photographers.
What typically happens here:
1. Client: “Does anyone know any great wedding photographers! We’re getting married and we’re super excited!”
2. Client: “Oh my God. These photographers are so expensive. Does anyone know any reasonably priced photographers? I don’t want to spend 3-7k!!!!”
3. Client: “Thank goodness! Finally found a great photographer! They’re super cheap too! #IamBlessed!”
4. Client: “Just had the wedding of my dreams! So blessed. Can’t wait to share photos on facebook and instagram!!!!!!”
5. Client: Wedding photos back. UGHHHH. I look so so so bad. He looks even worse… I hope my guest took some photos of us…? I can’t believe I paid for these photos!”
6. Client: “I really regret hiring someone who was cheap!”
This happens all the time. The photos weren’t very good or the photos were not what the couple wanted them to be or the worst their photographer just went missing. I will just say that you get what you pay for most of the time. It is absolutely worth seeing if you can reallocate funds in your budget or seeing where you can save money in order to get the photographer that you really want. I know it can be tough for many couples to find expert wedding photographers on their budget. This checklist will help you to hire your wedding photographer and what things you should keep in mind while selecting your photographer.
Another great tip is that try to use the same photographer for your engagement session and your wedding if you can. The engagement session is not only about taking portrait photos. The engagement session is way more than just getting photos it is also very much about connecting with your wedding day photographer. It is a great opportunity to get to know each other so that you feel a lot more comfortable.
On your wedding day when your amazing shows up you feel more like a friend and there not somebody, you’re just meeting or working with for the first time. In addition, you already know from the engagement session that your wedding photos will turn out to be something beautiful. I do notice a huge difference in the way that we interact together with brides and grooms. It takes us much shorter to get comfortable and relaxed in front of my camera. Oftentimes we’ll make sure to schedule couples’ engagement sessions when you back in town for a catering tasting or a venue walkthrough.
View online portfolios of photographers you are hiring
If you are looking for professional photographers, probably the most important step is to look at their REAL wedding photography portfolio on their website, Instagram or Facebook. Ask to see multiple full galleries. This is where you will be able to really see the difference between fake and real photographers! The “real” is the most important word here because not all weddings are real. Review their best work from previous clients. Be very careful, a handful of great images can be very misleading. I will explain why. There is a growing trend of photographers where they are using workshops and styled shoots to boost their wedding portfolio. If you’re not familiar with the idea of a stylized photo shoot, a stylized photo session is when photographers pay a fee to take photos at a setup that looks like a real wedding. So theoretically photographers who never ever shot a wedding can have a wedding portfolio. Florists, cake designers, dress companies, and jewelers are also involved for a fee to put together a decadent photo session, usually a mock wedding or elopement, to create portfolio images. Ordinarily stylized photoshoots are ripe with gorgeous details that wedding publications eat up to display to their audiences for magazine publishing. The difference is that at a styled shoot and everything is fake. So make sure your wedding photographer has real wedding shooting experience. He or she has never posed a bride, never took family photos, and no idea how to light a dark reception area. In a real wedding, at your wedding ceremony and reception, the reception tables will not, I repeat, NOT consist of perfectly tailored hydrangeas, mason jars, antique shabby chic furniture, and chalkboard signs that look like they walked off a cover of Martha Stewart Living. The reception will be dark and the lighting situation will be far from ideal. If you hire “styled shoots photographer” you will be disappointed by the results for sure. You may receive 5% of the photos perfectly laid out details some great angles and 95% garbage. Shooting a wedding is more complex than taking photos of a model who was posed for the photographer. Furthermore, some weddings, like Indian weddings, need a lot of background knowledge to shoot. I am an Indian wedding photographer. There are so many ceremonies and pujas at Indian or Pakistani weddings so it can be difficult to capture the most important moments. Indian wedding photographers know those culturally important moments which may not seem to be important for an average non-Indian wedding photographer.
Also, Instagram feeds and websites can be very deceiving. Anyone can take a handful of decent photos at a styled shoot and curate them for a stunning Instagram feed. You want to know what a gallery from a real wedding looks like? You want to hire a photographer who delivers a completely consistent, cohesive gallery for the entire wedding day for a proven track record going back for over 10-15 years. The only way to tell how good your photographer really is is by looking at full wedding galleries.
Differentiate between photographers
Photographers specialize in different photography subject areas like architecture, fashion, wildlife, products, photojournalism, wedding photography, portrait photographers, etc. Here you have to pick out the appropriate photographer who is an expert in wedding shoots. Wedding photographers specialize in engagement photography, wedding photography and/or portrait photography.
Gather best recommendations by family members
Finding the best Miami wedding photographer is easy if you have family members who got married recently. When it comes to the recommendation, you are pretty sure that the photographer is a specialist because your friends or relatives have recommended you to him. It is good to ask the couples who are newly married, as they can surely suggest to you the best wedding photographers. By asking them you will get to know about the photographer’s work and work ethic without even meeting him/her personally.
Emphasize quality rather than quantity
Have a few hundred amazing photos rather than 4-5 thousand mediocre ones.
Beware of heavy editing
Photographers use photoshop and lightroom to enhance the quality of your wedding photos. Sometimes too much editing is detrimental. Make sure that you communicate with your photographer if you don’t want to have a lot of heavily edited photos.
Shortlist photographers to compare the costs
Select 4 to 5 photographers and get an estimate of their price with their package and expertise. Shortlisting can help you to choose the right photographer with an appropriate photography cost. Pieces of equipment, time, photographer’s experience level, traveling costs, these things can not be neglected while hiring a photographer. It’s better to ask them before because you don’t have to pay the excess charges later.
Sign a legal agreement for future evidence
Agreement always helps us as evidence in unfortunate circumstances. The legal agreement should consider the working hours of a photographer, number of images, number of people in the photography team, delivery time, payment procedures, and other requirements. Whatever you discuss with your photographer, make sure to note it instantly, and don’t forget to sign it.
Make sure you follow all these tips mentioned above. Hire a well-trained and experienced photographer who can manage everything from start to end. Keep in mind, the photographer you are hiring should have expertise and types of equipment to bring the best out of your wedding day.