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How to choose the right Wedding Photographer!

February 8, 2019

So the time has come. The wedding date is set, your dream venue is picked, and now you are on the hunt for a photographer. It is around this point when you start to realize how much stuff is. What your budget is. And sometimes, where you can save some money. You are not alone! This is normal! Take a deep breath… WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS.

As the old saying going. Cheap isn't Good and Good isn't Cheap. And if there were ever an industry to apply that statement to, its Wedding Photography.

During your search in the endless sea of vendors you find a photographer you like. Great! Now what? You read their bio on Instagram… It says something like ” Lover of light, Capturing your memories, Natural light photographer”. You read this and think PERFECT! I NEED MOMENTS CAPTURED! I am glad they love light because I don’t want dark photos! You continue to scroll through their feed. Every photo was taking during sunset, when the lighting is perfect. You like them. You are convinced you found the ONE. You contact them and they send you back pricing. They are even cheaper than the other photographers you found… Holy Moly! Even though you like the other photographers photos more you think, How can I pass this up? Its soo cheap! What a good deal! I can save some money here!

This is where a lot of couples stop and say “take my money”. But we need to reel you back in to see the bigger picture. To make sure you ask the right questions. To ensure you don’t make a huge mistake. We don’t want you to waste money. Its time for a Wedducation << See what I did there! haha

We have been in the wedding industry for a while and we have seen it time and time again. Post after post. Email after email. A bride hires a cheap photographer or maybe a family friend for their wedding and we hear:

“My wedding photos are blurry”

“My photographer lost my photos”

“My photographer never showed up to the wedding”

“It’s been months since our wedding and I haven’t received my photos. I can’t even get ahold of them”

Or even the calls and emails we get saying “My wedding is this weekend and my photographer is sick and can’t make it”

The two BIGGEST REGRETS we hear from newlywed couples

1. wish we had hired a Professional Photographer

2. I wish we had a I Wedding Film

Think we are kidding? Ask around!

Can you imagine. Waking up on your wedding day. Getting coffee with your girls. You’re all smiles! Your day has come. Make up is about to start. You glance over at your stunning dress and think “Wow, I can’t wait to have these photos for our living room” and the it happens. The phone rings or you get a text. It’s your Photographer saying they can’t make it. IF you are lucky you get that call. Some don’t call. They don’t text. They just don’t show up. And what happens next? You frantically call the other photographer you talked to. The one that was a little more money. The one you really wanted but you were trying to save some money. And you pray they can leave their house right now to make it to you.

Now, For the people in the back. I’m not saying you can’t find a good photographer for a reasonable price. My point is there will always be someone willing to do something cheaper. But cheap might not be the best way to go on ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DAYS OF YOUR LIFE. It’s normal to look for a photographer that fits in your price point. And it’s difficult to stretch your budget for the ones that are a little more. The key is to not underestimate the importance of your wedding photos when making your budget to begin with. A lot of photographers offer payment plans to help with the cost. Be sure to ask if the company you find has something like this. It helps big time when you can spread the cost over 3 or 4 payments!

THE DIFFERENCE

You know that “natural light” photographer you hired? Well they may have left out some important information. Most of them are “natural light” because the don’t know how or are not good at shooting in mixed lighting scenarios. But wait? Isn’t a wedding a mixed light scenario? Well yes! Yes, it is! Here’s why!

You get ready in a hotel or a bridal suite. Well, No natural light in there. There is nice warm light coming from those lamps next to the bed. There is a LED that the make-up artist brought in the corner casting a blueish white tint. Then you have the sun beating down through the one window or sliding door. A seasoned photographer will know exactly how to handle the situation while a less experienced one may get flustered and leave you with all of your getting ready photos in Black & White because they couldn’t get the colors right.

It’s almost that time. THE TIME. Ceremony time. The reason for this whole party. His reaction seeing you come down the aisle, Your Vows, Your Rings, Your “I DO”, and THE LAST FIRST KISS YOU WILL HAVE…. But here’s the thing. The make-up ran a little late. Your dad got stuck in traffic and just pulled up. Guests are still being seated. So, we will be starting a little behind schedule (not uncommon). We adapt and overcome. A good wedding planner ( a good planner is worth their weight in gold, but we will talk about that in another blog) fixes the timeline to account for the 30 minutes we lost. We can move the whole day around! It’s not a big deal. There is just one event we can’t reschedule. THE SUNSET..

So, what happens? Ceremony runs into darkness, family photos are at night, your intimate photos during cocktail hour have gone from “golden hour sunset” to “lit by the moon”. Your “natural light” photographer has no natural light. The lover of light in them must now find a way to shoot in the dark. This was a train wreck they were not prepared for. They panic and you end up with dark or noisy photos that you hate. It’s now that you realize NONE of the photos on their Instagram were at night. Or with a flash. While your Seasoned Photographer, the one that was a little bit more money, is cool as a cucumber. They knew it could happen and came prepared for it. They have lights, stands, and flashes. They continue on, unfazed, and honestly kinda excited because now they control the light.

Let’s talk Equipment!

You mean to tell me the camera uncle John bought at Walmart isn’t professional?

Well, it may be a very nice camera. And I’m not about to go down the “gear makes a difference” road. A good photographer can take a good photo with a cheap camera. But a professional photographer wouldn’t. Because it’s about having the right tools for the job. And extra tools in case they break.

That Professional Photographer. The one that was more money. Not only do they have a nice expensive pro camera, but they probably have at least two. Those flashes they have set up on stands, well if aunt Nicole gets drunk and knocks one over, Guess what? They have extras. Stuff like this happens. Gear can break. Is it your fault if the photographer drops their camera in the water? No…But if they don’t have a backup. Guess who has to suffer and gets no more photos of their wedding. You do.

WHAT TO ASK

I’m sure you’re probably thinking, I don’t want this to happen on my wedding day! So how can I avoid it?

As much as I would love to say ” well just hire us” LOL! There are so many great photographers out there. All with different styles! Find a style that fits your best and go from there. Here are some tips!

Make sure you vibe. Your photographer is a big part of your day. Finding someone you vibe with is important. (same goes for a videographer if you have one)

Trust… You need a photographer you trust. THIS IS HUGE. You need to trust they are professional and can handle anything the day brings. You need to trust wherever they are standing is best for the shot. And if they tell you a pose isn’t working or they want to move you because of the light, Guess what? You need to trust them! Photography is a creative business. You are hiring them for their style and creativity. Don’t be a helicopter bride.

Ask for a some complete recent wedding galleries (not just the handful of photos online) . They should be able to send you two or three recent wedding galleries to look over.

Make sure you see their work in different lighting. (some night photos, some indoor photos, etc.)

VERY IMPORTANT. Are they insured? Having business insurance is a must. Most venues won’t let you shoot there without it.

Gear. While knowing what brand camera they shoot with shouldn’t matter to you. Knowing if they have back up gear does. Always make sure they have back up equipment.

Ask them what happens if they can’t make it. Should they become ill, what happens? Your professional photographers will have this in their contract.

Always, Always, Always make sure you have a written contract.

So when it comes to selecting your wedding photographer, there are a lot of things to consider. Make sure you vibe. When you have a genuine connection with your photographer, they’ll be able to do a better job capturing your emotion. Years from now, your photos will be all you have to relive these moments, and you’ll thank yourself for investing in them.

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