When you think of photography as part of the modern art, it is important to realize that everything is based on personal tastes and subjective opinions. A wedding photograph either grabs your attention momentarily, communicates strong emotions to the viewer, or it simply passes over your head without leaving any emotional or aesthetic imprint. This time I decided to write an article on how to choose a wedding photographer who will be best for you. Despite other wedding specialties (e.g. musicians, florists, confectioners, etc.), you can’t see, touch or get the feel of your wedding photos before the day comes. There is no way you can be sure to know what exactly you’ll get until the wedding day has already passed. You can’t know what photos to expect from your bid day. So, keeping in mind the importance of beautiful shots and their value for the family history, you need to be meticulously careful when picking a wedding photographer, taking into account his/her professional background, style and compatibility with your own tastes and wedding style.
First of all, you need to decide what style of wedding photographs you like the most. Having understood this, you’ll have a general idea of what kind of wedding photographer you should look for.
Here are some of the main styles you’ll encounter in wedding photography:
Instead of a series of posed shots, documentary photographer seeks to capture the bright and unpredictable moments of the wedding day. In pure photojournalism you would not see people looking right into the lens of the camera: shooting is done only to capture the most interesting moments of the reality, thus the camera always tells a unique story. Don’t forget that bright and emotional moments require corresponding grounds, an appropriate atmosphere where events can be unfolded in a natural way.
If you prefer classic portraits and a more balanced lifestyle then it’s preferable for you to choose a classic portrait photographer: traditional and simple couple shots on a beautiful background. This is a more predictable and guaranteed option for the majority of couples. Of course, in this case too a creative approach must be taken.
It is very difficult to give a neat description of this style because perceptions of creative wedding photography are very mixed and blurry. An important component of fine-art photography is the presence of a designer who will take care of such things as candle arrangements and designing other special props on the set of the wedding photo shoot. Many photographers working in this style use film cameras or they give photos that retro film effect by editing in post-production. So then, gentle contrast, film photography effect and a unique atmosphere in each photo perfectly describe the essence of Fine Art.
As the name suggests it, this one is a fusion of posed and documentary styles. Sometimes it’s best not to go to extremes. Each couple wants to have both classic portraits and also unexpected, lively and in-the-moment photos from the day. In a word, this option is a golden mean, which is also my personal favorite one. In this case the photographer gives little hints and directions to the couple but meanwhile does not prevent them from enjoying their wedding fairy tale in the way that they want. As a result, the couple tries to follow the photographer’s instructions but by no means at the cost of having the times of their lives in the way that they wish.
Start searching for a photographer via words of mouth (friends, family, etc.) or via the internet. Carefully research a potential photographer’s website, his/her blog, the portfolio and consider for a minute how much what you see corresponds to your tastes. Even the website design and the writing style can tell you a lot about the photographer, his/her personality and creative potential. Visit his/her social media accounts. Try to find reviews from previous clients. All these will help you have a better understanding of the person behind the lenses, and, obviously, the more the similarities with your own tastes and personality, the easier it will be to cooperate.
This is a big decision and it’s difficult to do it at a distance. I definitely advise that you meet with the photographer in person. If you like his/her portfolio and you look for a professional in that price range, then call him/her and arrange a meeting. Even if the photographer is already booked on your wedding day, he/she may still offer you another professional to meet your needs. Meeting in person will help you get to know each other a little better. Be ready to talk about your wedding and your expectations as much as possible. We are photographers, not telepaths (unfortunately) after all, and each couple obviously requires individual approach and working style.
It is not recommended to make a decision based on only the best shots that are shown in the portfolio. You can’t get a full insight of what you’ll get as a result. Look through at least one or two full-wedding photo sets (from morning till the cake ceremony) in order to have a clearer understanding and a more objective look at the the photographer’s work.
You do not want to underrate such an important factor as your mutual understanding and communication with the photographer. After all, you have to spend a whole day together and be in touch before and after the wedding. Try to find mutual grounds with the photographer. It’s not a secret that working with a person who shares your ideas and worldviews is much easier. Appreciate his/her personal style, manners, interest in your ceremony details, and ability to speak his/her mind in a clear way. All these little details will help you reach good results and find your best photographer.
Step 6. Discuss the Terms of Agreement
You, as a customer, have to have a clear understanding of the terms concerning working hours/duration and your cooperation with the photographer. But aside from requests, you, as a client, also have a few responsibilities. For example, you have to put time and effort into your photo session. The camera does not lie, and if the professional advises you to do your morning photo shoot at a hotel, or to choose a park for it, it is best to follow his advice for the best results because some specific shots may require special conditions.
Not surprisingly, the wedding photographer you’ve chosen has definitely been at lots of weddings and should have certain experience and professional outlook that you’ve already put your trust in by booking him. So, all that remains for you to do on the wedding day is to relax and enjoy your time to the fullest!
Thanks for your time and attention. I hope this was helpful. See you soon!