Lately I have heard some nightmare stories from brides who have hired photographers that maybe weren’t as experienced, maybe didn’t care as much, maybe just aren’t cut out to be wedding photographers, and a myriad of other things. And it got me thinking a lot…do you have to hire a wedding photographer who as has much experience as someone like me…not necessarily. There are oodles of newer photographers who have sought out training and gained valuable experience from more seasoned photographers and do a great job. But should you look for some certain characteristics when looking at wedding photographers, or really any vendors you are wanting to hire.
So I am hoping that maybe if I share some of the things I have learned along the way it might help brides out there everywhere…so today, I want to share with you three questions that I think you should ask any wedding photographer you are considering…
QUESTION #1 – HOW MANY WEDDINGS DO YOU SHOOT EACH MONTH? HOW MANY HAVE YOU SHOT IN YOUR CAREER?
You want to hire a wedding photographer, who has the time to give you the attention you deserve. But also has the past experience to be able to provide you with amazing wedding photography of your day. This is your wedding, its a really big deal. Its a once in a lifetime experience. And your photography is one of the most important parts. So do you want to be one of ten brides in a month (that’s 120 a year)? One of five (60 in a year)? One of two (24 a year)? There are very experienced photographers who limit the number of weddings that they take each month so they can give their couples a lot of time and attention. There are others who are shooting multiple brides a week and doing hundreds of weddings a year. Do you want a photographer who can be available to you for questions and advice? Do you want a photographer who can be part of the planning and help you bring your ideas to life? Is that something that is important to you? The number of weddings they take also affects how long you have to wait for your images, so take that into consideration as well. You should also ask any wedding photographers you interview how many weddings they have shot before. Do you want a wedding photographer who has shot for years and has oodles of experience? Or do you want an up-and-coming photographer with not as many weddings under their belt but lots of enthusiasm? There are truly advantages and disadvantages to both side, and many times budget can be a factor in this, but think about this and what is important to you as you are interviewing.
QUESTION #2 – DO YOU HAVE TESTIMONIALS THAT I CAN READ? PAST BRIDES THAT I CAN CONTACT?
There is no better way to truly get a feel for a wedding photographer than by talking with their past brides. You should be checking references and getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of anyone you are looking at. Some photographers are more strong in the artistic element and weaker in the organizational and business element. And some are the exact opposite. You can see their work and should have a feel for the images from their online portfolio, but there is so much more to wedding photography that just what you see on their blog, and so much more that goes on behind the scenes, and nothing should give you a better idea for who will be a good fit for you in the long run than by talking to their past brides. You can also check out most wedding photographers on sites like Wedding Wire to see reviews too.
QUESTION #3 – CAN I SEE SOME OF YOUR FULL WEDDNG GALLERIES?
Blog posts are beautiful, Instagram shows the best of the best…but your wedding isn’t just a handful of a few beautiful images. It is a complete representation of your entire wedding experience and your entire wedding day. So I can’t suggest enough to ask to see full galleries. This will give you a better idea of what your wedding photographer can provide. You can see the family formals, their reception lighting abilities, and so much more. If you are having an indoor reception, you should be able to see their experience with indoor receptions. If you are having a mid-day wedding, you want to see how they handle a mid-day wedding and the lighting that comes along with it. If details are important to you, look at their detail shots. By looking over all their work, you will be able to get a good idea for exactly what you are going to end up with.
By taking the time to ask these three questions, and ask them of anyone you are chatting with, you will be able to highly increase the chances of finding a great wedding photographer who will be able to provide you with exactly what you are wanting. Wedding photography, in my opinion, is one of the most important decisions you will make with your wedding. When all is said and done, nothing lasts past the wedding day except your love and your photography. So you should put as much thought into it as you did on who to marry! The decision will last forever…so take the time to do your research!