Congratulations on your recent engagement. I'm sure if you're looking at photographers, you have actually begun to recognize planning the perfect wedding feels like a full-time task and the alternatives can be a bit frustrating. This little system on selecting the ideal wedding photographer for your wedding is sure-fire. If you follow it precisely, you'll understand precisely what you're going to get from your wedding photos. It applies to all budget levels, so take a minute to read it and you'll be an action ahead in a minimum of one aspect of your planning.
This might appear obvious, but proficiency needs to be your top criteria in choosing a wedding photographer. Whatever else is secondary. They can be the nicest individual worldwide, however if the pictures aren't great, who cares? You're not trying to find a pal, you're searching for great images of your wedding. Gauging competency is sometimes difficult. The work all of us placed on our websites and in our sample albums is our finest work. And, regrettably, that can in some cases be deceiving.
Envision if you could go to someone else's wedding, in your pajamas, and stroll around and look at the work of your prospective suppliers. You could see what the flowers look like after 5 hours, taste the food and cake and see the dj or band as they engage the crowd - all without being seen. You have that choice with your photographer. You just require to know how to ask.
Start your search by collecting names from buddies, household and suppliers and by searching websites of regional wedding photographers. Spend a long time on sites, read evaluations and picture yourself in the images you see. Narrow your search to your 3-5 favorites.
Contact the photographers by e-mail and make one simple demand: If you have my date offered, please show me 2-3 complete weddings from the previous year, preferably from the time of day of your wedding. A complete wedding is the gallery they provide to the customers, not just a selection of images in an album or on a website. There need to be numerous photos in a complete gallery. Why email, why not merely call them? By nature, photographers have fantastic individuals skills and as a result, numerous photographers are great salesmen. They will want to satisfy you prior to they show you the galleries. They'll state things like, "I'm happy to reveal you that, no problem, however let's meet and make certain we're suitable before we get to that part." That equates into, "Come let me sell you on my services and we might never even need to get to the pesky full wedding thing." Adhere to your guns. Do not skip the preliminary research. 2-3 complete weddings will provide you a great general picture of their style, protection and skills.
Move on if the photographer doesn't want to show you full galleries. They could extremely well be hiding something and who wishes to take that risk? Don't succumb to the privacy reaction (" I'm very considerate of my customer's privacy, so I can't reveal you that.") When they don't want to have to show their full weddings, I've seen that response given to newbies in forums to use. You're not asking for particular wedding events, just 2-3 of the photographer's option. They should be willing to show you full weddings if they show weddings on their website.
After checking out a number of complete wedding galleries of images (do not worry, you can move quickly, what you're searching for will appear as Hampton Roads Wedding Photographer you go), narrow down your list to 2 or 3 photographers. Phone or email your limited prospects and set up visits. Take note of how quickly they respond. Ask an additional question in a different email and continue to monitor response time. This is not to waste their time (don't send out a long list of concerns), but to determine whether they'll get back to you on a timely basis. Among the biggest complaints couples have of the vendors after their wedding is un-returned calls or emails. Don't expect minutes - good photographers are busy people - but you should hear back within the day, unless you are emailing on the weekend, when they might be shooting or taking a precious off day. A Monday morning response is more than acceptable if it's a weekend.
At the actual meeting, you can start to differentiate by personality and compatibility. Because at this point, you should only be meeting with people who are very talented, shoot the style of photos you like and respond to you in a timely manner. Now, simply pick the person you like the best, who offers albums and packages you like and who fits within your budget.
Many photographers are better sale's people than they are shooters. Do your homework and image research, as described above, so you won't become a victim of a weak photographer's personal charms. Digital photography brought a lot of photographers into the business who were lured by the relatively large sums wedding photographers appear to make compared to other types of photography (although it costs a lot more to shoot a wedding). The skills and equipment needed to manage a wedding photography business are very different from a standard portrait or landscape photographer. Another reason to see full weddings is to make sure you are looking at actual weddings they've shot and not just pretty pictures of models.
When doing your research, there are keywords to look out for. If a photographer calls themselves a "natural light photographer" make sure you see weddings where they've shot in dark places, particularly if your wedding is at night. Weddings require photographers to be able to handle all kinds of lighting situations and really good natural light photographers have lighting equipment on hand (and the skill to use it) when the need arises. If you want group family photographs and portraits make sure a photographer who refers to themselves as a "photojournalist" knows how to shoot them and is willing to do so. A true "PJ" photographer shoots everything as it happens and doesn't set up any shots. If they're really good (and you'll know because you'll have seen 2-3 full wedding galleries), that's great, if they're not, you'll just get a bunch of snap shots.
Once you are at the meeting (after following the process above to determine who to meet), ask questions about what's important to you. Photographers have very different ways of working and don't assume because your friend's photographer allowed them to post their images on Facebook that all photographers will. Read the contracts they give you carefully. If you have questions, call and get the answers before you sign. It's not fair to a photographer to disagree later when all of the information was in front of you in black and white.
As I said above, this system of searching for a wedding photographer will work at every budget level. Everyone starts somewhere and if your budget won't accommodate someone with a lot of experience, you'll have all the tools to judge the people in your price range if you follow the above steps. There are bargains to be had, but you really need to pay close attention to the work they produce to make sure your bargain doesn't turn into bad wedding photos. Follow this system to the letter and you can rest assured you'll know exactly what you're getting from your wedding photographer.
Documentary wedding photography demands a different skill set from traditional wedding photography so you have to make sure that your photographer has the correct photographic background and can show you full weddings to back this up. There are not many wedding photojournalists who don't shoot at least some formal photographs and traditional wedding photographers will shoot informal pictures. Experience, personal service and professionalism are what ensure a consistent standard of photography from wedding to wedding, and the consistency and ability to deal with the different shooting conditions that present themselves throughout a wedding day. Digital photography brought a lot of photographers into the business who were lured by the relatively large sums wedding photographers appear to make compared to other types of photography (although it costs a lot more to shoot a wedding). If a photographer calls themselves a "natural light photographer" make sure you see weddings where they've shot in dark places, particularly if your wedding is at night.