I can’t recall the number of times I’ve met someone who had recently gotten married and said to me “I wish I would have met you two months ago. My wedding photos are HORRIBLE”!
Automatically, my heart breaks and then I start throwing the questions at them. I’m curious why I keep hearing this and why people are having regrets about hiring their wedding photographer. Thus, a blog post forms.
Asking yourself these few questions could be the solution to preventing this post-wedding-photo trauma.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER?
This is the first step you should take in deciding your photographer. Viewing a portfolio is great and can narrow down some stand out photographers right away, but don’t forget - photographers show off their BEST work so look for some things when browsing portfolios.
1) Are there different camera angles. Can you tell this photographer likes to climb on rocks and lay on the ground to get the most amazing photo possible?
2) Are the expressions different or the same? Is there a range of looking at the camera, looking away, smiling, dramatic, etc. Maybe all the photos are of the couples looking into the lens, smiling, and that’s GREAT, if that’s what you’re looking for!
3) Check out the backgrounds. Are they the same and all in a forest? If you’re getting married downtown in the heart of the city, you might want a photographer whose portfolio displays a more urban feel.
Once you’ve fallen in love with a portfolio, take it one step further and ask the photographer to show you a full day of wedding images. This will give you a very good idea of the photographer’s skill level. Are the formal photos perfectly posed and lit, but the reception photos are all blurry and so dark you can hardly tell what’s going on? Photographers are faced with fast changing situations at weddings and circumstances don’t always allow us to capture the best images we could. Keep an open mind when viewing a full day wedding. If something looks funny or bad to you, ask about it. Why is this photo so dark? Why is this photo blurry? The photographer might have a great explanation for you! But as a whole, the full day should be professional and to your taste.
This is a HUGE step in knowing your photographer and your chance to make a change if you’re not happy with them. Your photographer is with you 90% of your wedding day so you better get along. Not only should their style of photography and personality suit you, but also that of your guests. You might be okay with your photographer bossing you around all day, but be careful that your guests won’t get offended. Sometimes photographers need to be a little firm to get the ball rolling and capture the images you’ve asked for, but this is your day, and you’re the boss, so there should be a balance of mutual respect between you, your photographer, AND your guests.
Going through with the engagement session is the perfect opportunity for you to see how your photographer communicates.
You get to know them as a human, and hopefully a friend, too. You’ll learn their shooting style and key words they’ll use to ask you to do things repeatedly (move this way, now look at each other, now move in for the kiss, etc). On the day of your wedding there should be no surprises and things will just flow naturally.
Not everyone is going to be chummy with their photographer and that’s absolutely okay! But, you should know enough about them to trust them with your wedding photos on, and after your wedding day. You might trust your Uncle Tom because he’s family and he loves you, but do you trust him as a PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Professionals are called so because they are experts in their field, and if you think you MIGHT be unhappy with hiring someone because they are inexpensive or offered to do it as a gift, well…you probably will be unhappy. Trust your gut!
Do some research and figure out what you’re style is. What do you like, what do you find attractive in a photograph? Maybe it’s the bright background and happy faces, or maybe it’s more moody, dark dramatic photos. Ask lots of questions and be confident in your photographer. There should be no surprises (other than good ones) on your day and upon photo delivery.
Your wedding day is important to you, and so should be the person who spends most of it by your side - yes, that’s me, your photographer!
- photos taken by the lovely Jeanette Sesay of JSP Photography