Hiring a great wedding photographer can be a tough task for any couple. Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event that cannot be repeated, and because we want the best for every couple out there planning their wedding, here are some tips we have gathered to help you pick the right photographer for your wedding memories.
1. Love their photographs. If the wedding images your prospective photographer takes appeal to you on an emotional level, that is a great sign you will be happy with your final pictures. You should select a few photographers who make your heart beat a little faster, whose images showcase couples in a way you would like to be photographed, and whose photographic style suits your taste and wedding.
2. Check out their reputation. Do your homework on any prospective wedding photographer by taking a hard look at their online reviews, both from past couples and other vendors in the area of your wedding. In this day and age, as consumers we are able to access information about the businesses in which we place our trust. Internet review sites like Wedding Wire, Yelp, and Google Places are an excellent way to research your vendor and see what other couple’s are saying about their experience. Check out Looking Glass Photography HERE!
3. Meet with them and make sure you like their personality. This is going to be the person who is with you a large portion of your day- getting dressed, saying your vows, sorting out family photos, photographing your first dance. You need to make sure you like being around them! Brides, make sure you can stand to have this person tucked into close quarters with you and your bridesmaids, running around in bathrobes and curlers. Groom, make sure this person puts you at ease and can hang with the boys without making anyone uncomfortable. The wedding day will be tons of fun but also a little stressful, and your photographer should be a highlight of the day, not a weird lurker or annoying distraction. Choose a wedding photographer who you feel comfortable with and can relax around, and most of all, someone who makes you smile!
4. Ask about their business standards. Any serious wedding photographer asking for your trust should be able to provide a business license and liability insurance, as well as indemnity insurance. As camera’s become more affordable the wedding industry is rife with weekend warriors toting SLR’s and handing out a business card. Anyone can get a website up and running and call themselves a business. But your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event, and you want to be sure whoever you schedule to photograph it isn’t going to up and decide to move to Australia a week before your wedding. Asking to see a license and insurance will help you weed out those less than committed to their business and ensure you hire an commited professional. Not to mention, may venues require vendors to carry insurance. The last thing you need is to have your photographer turned away the day of your wedding when they can’t provide insurance information! Even if your photographer is new to the industry, they should have these basics covered before they ever hand out a card.
5. Ask to see a full wedding set from beginning to end. A photographer should be happy to show you examples of full weddings they have recently shot. Beware of photographers who only post their best photographs in order to hide a lack of consistency. Look for someone who can demonstrate great shots from the Getting Ready portion of the wedding day through the Reception. Photographing a wedding is uniquely challenging in that it asks photographers to be extremely skilled at a variety of lighting conditions. Low light, high contrast, movement, creative lighting, and flattering light- we have to know and excel at all of it! Check for clarity, focus, flattering lighting, detail, and posing. Beware of anyone adding an excessive amount of post-editing or vignettes. Make sure people look like they are having fun! Many photographers never master all of these necessary aspects. Look closely at their weddings and make sure you like what they have done from saying hello to waving goodbye.
6. Consider your style and beware of fads that time-stamp your images. Take a look at a variety of photographic styles and choose a photographer who best suits your taste and long-term desires for your images. If you 100% know that in 20 years, you are still going to be an indie-emo hot polka dot pink couple who loves creative composition with vintage cross-processing, then by all means, choose one of the amazing contemporary photographers out there who will rock your shots. Think about it in the long term. If in 25 years you show off your wedding album to your child on their wedding day, what do you want to see? Bright colors, 1970’s era fade, traditional posing, jumping in their air- fads come and go so be sure to choose someone whose style you can live with, long term.
7. Make sure they can take an incredible bridal portrait. Face it Bride, you have spent a TON of time planning, choosing your gorgeous dress, working on your hair and skin- and you want to look your BEST on your wedding day. But what good is that if it isn’t captured in your photographs, your central way of remembering and showing off your wedding! Many amazing photographers cannot pose women of different shapes and sizes. Make sure your photographer shows examples of a variety of REAL brides on their website. We don’t all look like models, and even if you do, you need you photographer to place you in a way that shows off your beauty and your glow. The worst thing in the world is for your photographer to NOT take your bridal portraits. Wedding photographers need to be inspired and love photographing brides, period.
8. Look for a wedding photographer that posts images of REAL weddings on their portfolio. Yes, we all wish our wedding would look just like a wedding inspiration shoot from “Your Trendy Popular Wedding Blog.” Wedding blogs and inspiration sessions are a lovely way to garner ideas for your event. But an experienced wedding photographer should be able to handle a REAL event, with time constraints, lighting challenges, non-model bride and groom, family dynamics, etc. They need to be able to photograph your wedding beautifully as it happens, without being able to press a STOP button. Make sure they show proof of being able to do that by looking at real-life weddings they have photographed. Their blog or website should consist of at least 95% REAL WEDDING portfolio.
9. Get a contract. This might seem like common sense, but we want to list it here just in case! Get a signed contract from your photographer that clearly states the job description for which you are hiring them, as well as the time and date of your wedding. A great photographer should have a back-up plan in case of illness or accident that is clearly stated on their contract. They should have a well-explained cancelation policy, liability policy, image usage, and image turnover. The contract should cover when you will RECEIVE YOUR IMAGES and how those images will be delivered. The job of your photographer does not end when the wedding is over! You will be anxiously waiting for your professional photographs to arrive, and it is important to have a clear and non-negotiable understanding of when that will be. Read your contract carefully and keep a copy for your records.
10. Choose a wedding photographer who is organized and prepared. What many couples don’t realize is how important the timing is for your event. Many couples underestimate how long it will take for them to be ready and have photos taken in the earlier part of their day. As it’s likely the first wedding you have ever planned (or perhaps not!), your photographer should be great resource for you. Any prepared and organized photographer will ask for a timeline of your event from your wedding planner, or help you create one if you are working without a planner. They should be able to guide you by letting you know how long they will take to photograph each portion of your event and how much time you should allot on your schedule. Photographers should be able to work quickly without rushing or resorting to rudeness. They should confer with you about your desires for your photography and create a schedule you are happy with. They should also ask for a detailed family shots list, including any must have photos throughout the rest of the event. At Looking Glass Photography our couples are calm and know the plan. Our family portions of the day are quick and painless because we are well organized! Any photographer with experience of more than a few weddings should have implemented an organizational strategy for their couples.
11. We know! We went over a number. But last than not least, chose a photographer who cares. The busiest photographer or the best artist may not be the most invested in their couples. You are looking for a well-rounded business that demonstrates consistent quality and exceptional customer service. Don’t underestimate customer service when you hire. Just because wedding photographers are artists doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be held to personality and business standards. Chose someone who you feel is fully invested and committed to you. It’s your wedding day, and it’s an honor to be a part of it.
Of course, you could save yourself all the trouble and just hire Us! You can find our prices right up at the top under INVESTMENT! We also love destination weddings and would love to travel to yours! Looking Glass Photography is a professional photography studio located on the California Central Coast, in the heart of San Luis Obispo. We adore ALL weddings but we especially love vintage inspired, rustic, DIY, garden, vineyard, and private estate weddings! We would love to hear from you and hope you enjoy this article.