Your wedding photographer can quite literally make or break your future memories of your wedding day. After everything is said and done, the only tangible thing you’ll have to look back on are the pictures. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the details are or how much time you put into choosing the perfect flowers, if your photographer fails to capture it all, well then you won’t be able to look back at how beautiful it was.
Before we get into the specifics of finding the right photographer, we have one big BONUS Quick tip: When looking at a photographer’s work – make sure you see pictures from *REAL* weddings. “Styled shoots” are extremely popular and are just what they sound like, photo shoots that have been styled to look like beautiful, extravagant weddings. The problem with these styled photos being shown as a photographer’s wedding work is that they are nothing like a real wedding. Everything in a styled shoot is controlled – the models (they’re not real brides and grooms), the timing, the lighting, the details, the location, etc. – with zero actual wedding day timeline or activities to get in the way. This does NOT give you a realistic idea of what a photographer’s work looks like on a real wedding day and can be extremely misleading. We cannot stress this enough – make sure you see REAL WEDDING PICTURES!
Okay now here are the top 5 tips for finding the perfect wedding photographer:
1. SHOOTING STYLE
Does the photographer shoot images that relay the feeling that you want? This involves posing, lighting, perspective, etc. Do you like the way the photographer captures images? Find out what style you like by searching for your favorite wedding pictures then find a photographer who shoots in that style. Do you like big dramatic set up shots or would you prefer more natural, candid images? Do you like more wide angle pictures that show an entire scene or do you prefer close ups? It’s okay to like a mix of these things – just make sure you find a photographer who consistently shoots a style that matches your preference.
2. EDITING STYLE
Editing style refers to the way the photographer edits the images for the final look. There are always different trends out there and popular styles to choose from. Do you like overly filtered images or do you prefer a clean classic look? Are you into the light and airy trend, the dark and moody trend, or are you somewhere in between? Most photographers spend years developing a unique editing style. Make sure you investigate the style of the images you look at while researching a photographer and make sure it is what you envision for your own wedding images. You can find more information on editing style here!
3. REVIEWS FROM REAL COUPLES
The best way to find out what it’s like to work with a photographer is to hear straight from other couples. Read as many real reviews as you can – some photographers have their reviews on their website, some are on the Knot, some on the WeddingWire or even Google or Facebook. You may find that reading other couples’ reviews answers questions for you or makes you think about things you hadn’t even realized were important.
4. THE DETAILS
Once you’ve found a photographer whose style you love, check out what they offer and make sure they can meet your needs. Some things that could be important to you are number of photographers (do you want a team as opposed to an individual?), option for hours (would you prefer all day coverage to an hourly charge?), budget (how much can you realistically spend and do their offerings fall within that amount?), products offered (do you need an album or engagement photos?), etc. Come up with a list of everything you need and then compare what they offer. Once you’ve narrowed down a photographer whose style you love and who offers everything you need, make sure they are available for your date!
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle! You’ve probably already gotten a good idea of personality as you researched the photographer’s website, but obviously reaching out to them and asking questions is the best way to find out more about their personality. You will spend literally ALL day with your photographer – if your personalities don’t mesh well, you may be signing up for a miserable experience. It is so important for your photographer to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. If your photographer annoys you or makes you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it WILL show in the pictures, and who wants that? Ultimately, you must TRUST your photographer to take care of you on your wedding day and deliver the images you’ve dreamed of, so make sure you find someone you can trust!
One last Bonus Quick Tip: LOOK EARLY! Most photographers book out a year+ in advance and photography is usually the next booked service after a wedding venue. In order to avoid your dream photographer being booked by another couple, start your search as soon as possible and book as soon as you know you’re ready, especially if your wedding day falls on a popular date. You have no idea how common it is for a photographer to have multiple couples reach out at the same time for the same wedding date and it’s always heartbreaking to break the news to the couple who misses out.
Are you currently planning your own wedding? You can find more information on Cleveland Weddings here!