It’s not uncommon when talking to potential wedding clients to hear some version of “I just want to be sure I get a photographer who understands what I am looking for”, “How do I know I will like the images?”, “What are you like to work with?”, etc…
All of these questions really are getting at “How do I know I have the right wedding photographer for me?”
This is a very important question, and one that far too many couples fail to ask or answer. Some couples seem to view hiring a wedding photographer as strictly a price negotiation. Who can give me the lowest price. And if you are tightly constrained on budget it can be a critical consideration. But even if cost is your most important factor, it should not be the only thing you consider. With a little work you can find a wedding photographer who is right for you at just about any price point. Here in northeast Ohio you can find photographers who do excellent work at prices ranging from about $1000 up to $10,000 or more. But they might not be the right photographer for you.
Some other couples only seem concerned with hiring the most well-known, or popular wedding photographer. Perhaps believing that in order for them to be popular they must be good. There is probably some truth to that, though I have seen some very well-known wedding photographers who’s work is not very good. Those photographers just happen to be really good at marketing and promoting themselves. But even if they are well-known and do really good work they still may not be the right wedding photographer for you.
So you are probably thinking why not about now. Well the reason why not is there are some factors that should be very important to you in picking a wedding photographer that you may not be thinking about.
Here are some of the things I think you should consider in hiring your wedding photographer. We will start with the two factors mentioned above and discuss how they actually could just as likely be reasons why you would not want a particular photographer and then move into what you may want to look for.
Okay, so I got married once (and I plan on it only being once) and like many people I was on a shoestring budget. So my fiancé and I started looking for photographers we could afford. We basically booked the first person we found who we could afford. Big mistake.
The images we received were mostly horrible. There were a few good ones but by and large the images were very poor. Since he had set images he was going to shoot, and he did not really care what we wanted from our wedding photography you would thing they would have at least turned out great, but no such luck. To make matters worse, the guy was kind of a jerk.
BTW – This is one of the primary reasons I got into wedding photography, to help others avoid the same kind of experience we had.
Price is always a factor. Just don’t let it be the only factor. The right photographer can make you look fabulous. The wrong photographer will make you look like you are wearing a burlap sack. It’s not a good deal if you hate your photos.
Popularity, otherwise known as “they shoot a lot of weddings so they must be good:
So like I said before this is at least partially true, but you have to be careful with this one. Experience is important. Unless you are getting the images for free you probably don’t want to hire someone who has never shot a wedding. But if someone is really busy, say 50-100 weddings or more per year they are either shooting multiple weddings each weekend, or they have associate photographers who shoot some of the weddings for them. Neither of these is necessarily bad, but you do need to consider it. If they are working alone will they have the time to properly do all the work, or will they rush though it delivering you a sub-standard product? If they hire associate photographers will the images look like the ones you were shown? And will you have the opportunity to meet the person who will actually be shooting your wedding beforehand? If not, how will you know that your personalities will not clash? Make sure you know who will be holding the camera on your wedding day, and that they're committed to treating you like a VIP no matter how many other clients they have.
The other negative side of some “popular” wedding photographers is that they have their style and an idea of the images they want to produce. This does not always match the images you want for your wedding. You need to ensure the photographer will capture the images you want, not just the ones they want.
Sidebar – Okay, so the first wedding I ever shot was for someone who hired me to shoot her wedding. I was up front with her and told her that I had never photographed a wedding before, but when we meet to discuss her wedding we clicked and she also saw enough of my other work to feel comfortable that I was right for her wedding.
So price and experience (but not necessarily popularity) are factors to consider. What else?
Doing this will also give you a feel for the style of images the photographer typically shoots. It’s great when a photographer is willing to shoot what you have in mind but if it is radically different from what they normally shoot they may have difficulty adjusting. Or worse they may approach it half-hearted and not really put in their best.
Brides, you will probably spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anyone else, including your mother and your husband. So no matter how much you love someone's work, if your personalities do not click you do not want him or her along for one of the most important days of your life
For example, you might want a photojournalistic style for most of your wedding, but you also want some of the classic posed shots (because that is what mom and dad will want to see). You would want to look for photographers who tend to combine both in their style.
What you should care about is do they have backup equipment. If the photographer only has one camera, and it fails during your wedding, you are not going to be very happy. Ask them what kind of backup equipment they have.
Out of all of these, finding a photographer with a compatible personality is probably the most critical. So how do you do that?
Meet them. Or even better find a way to have them do some work for you. To make this easier for you I am going to offer all of you a deal. Between now and 2/28/2014 I will provide a no obligation, no session fee engagement session to the first 25 couples who request it. This will give you the chance to see how well our personalities match without investing anything other than some time.
Just contact kent at jkcphoto.net and let me know you are interested. Thanks.