We’ve heard it over and over- after the cake is cut, the last dance is over, and those cute favors you made have been stuffed into Aunt Betty’s special-occasion handbag, all that’s left are the photos of your wedding.
On a serious note, though, you put SO much work into planning the perfect wedding and you’ll probably be a little too distracted on the day-of (you know, becoming a bride) to notice them coming together. Your pictures are going to be such a special reminder to you of not only the vows you made and the family you shared them with, but also of the work that went into preparing and the small moments that happened throughout the day. Choosing a wedding photographer is a pretty big deal!
You can find all kinds of lists and tips for “how to choose a wedding photographer,” but I am going to offer you something a bit different. Here are a list of things that shouldn’t influence your choice.
1. “I can hire this ONE company for my DJ, my photos, my video…etc.”
While you can’t argue with the convenience factor of a one-stop-wedding-shop, you have to ask if a company that offers a little bit of everything is actually offering the best quality of any of those things. You can compare it to a general practitioner versus a specialist, or a superstore versus a specialty boutique. You may save some cash, but there’s a very good chance that you’ll lose on quality and experience. Stick with whatever that company is known for first and foremost, and hire a photographer that specializes in wedding photography.
2. “My family member is a photographer and wants to take our photos.”
So your cousin’s boyfriend is in art school? Your sister’s best friend bought a “really nice” camera and wants to build her portfolio? They want to shoot your wedding for FREE!!! “Oh, that’s PERFECT!!!!!” is what you may be thinking about this seemingly serendipitous opportunity. What you (and that amateur photographer) may not know is that weddings have a lot of challenging variables, and if a photographer isn’t prepared, the results could be disastrous. (Your sister’s BFF’s really nice new camera may not be quite nice enough to handle the lighting inside a dark venue). What happens if you don’t end up loving the photos? You’re risking awkward family gatherings if something goes awry. The take-away here is that when you’re choosing a wedding photographer, choose a wedding photographer.
3. “She’s the cheapest photographer I talked to.”
I understand the importance of making budgets and sticking to them- trust me, I do. That said, think about this- the right photographer can make a DIY budget wedding look like it should be on the cover of a magazine. The wrong photographer can make a Vera Wang gown look shabby. Ask anyone who has been burned trying to save a buck: it’s not such a great deal if you hate your photos. Reputable wedding photographers pay taxes, carry insurance, and invest a lot of money in to high-end gear, products, and training. They’re also spending a lot more time working to serve you than just the hours they are with you at your wedding. We all know the old adage “you get what you pay for,” so before cut corners with a dirt-cheap photographer, ask yourself where they are cutting corners.
4. “My venue provides a photographer as part of a package.”
My husband and I eloped, and when we were planning it, the wedding coordinator at the chapel mentioned their photography package options. She said “we have standard locations and poses we do, it comes with…..” I stopped listening. I didn’t want “standard,” and I didn’t want posed. I wanted my wedding pictures to be OURS, and capture our uniqueness. If your venue has an in-house photographer, ask to see a lot of samples to make sure they are capturing each love story in it’s own individual light and not getting comfortable with locations and poses.
5. “Her portfolio is SO SO GOOD!”
Okay, okay. This is actually a really good reason to book a wedding photographer. It can’t be your only reason, though, and here’s why. While her photos may be the prettiest you’ve ever seen (and are EXACTLY what you envision for your wedding), your photographer is going to be with you all day long on one of the most important days of your life- you should probably like to be around her! You really, really want to chat with a photographer to make sure your personalities mesh well before you sign a contract. After spending such an important day together, don’t be surprised if a great-fit wedding photographer becomes a great friend!
I hope you find these tips helpful! Always remember to have fun in the process and listen to your instincts!