A month ago, during my Kerri Lynne Business Refresh, our vendors were blessed to team up with Syracuse.com for a video series they’re doing on choosing wedding vendors! They interviewed us before the course and asked us to tell them advice that brides might not know. If you haven’t seen the article and video, it’s all here!!
This interview really got me thinking, because I’ve wanted to do another post like this for awhile now for brides looking for their photographer! I have learned so much about what’s important with wedding photography, both from the perspective of a photographer and a bride…so I hope this advice helps you!
Feel free to share it with a friend! My best advice for choosing your wedding photographer:
1. Look at their body of WORK (portfolio) to assess their lighting and editing style!
What may or may not surprise you is, only looking at a photographers Instagram profile is not enough to make an informed decision! Many photographers showcase moments that are emotional and in broad daylight. But what makes a photographer valuable is how they handle ALL lighting situations. From bright light to dark reception rooms. If you haven’t seen the way a photographer handles night, check out their blog or ask them to see a full wedding gallery!
You’ll want to look at detail shots, lighting, how they capture emotion, their editing style – which is often MORE than people display on Instagram.
When my sister in law was engaged, I looked with her at out of state photographers and noticed on the blog posts that certain photographers didn’t use a macro lens to shoot ring shots, edited with a style that may not be “timeless,” and their reception lighting could use some work. I know it helped her when I examined their body of work and pointed out those things!
I know it’s strange to think this, but editing style is important when choosing a photographer, because editing is like the artist’s signature. You can’t separate the art from the artist. If someone has a dark and moody style and beautiful emotional shots, you need to like both the emotional shots and the dark and moody edit! Same with an editing style like mine, which is bright and colorful – you should hire me because you love both my posing/emotion and editing style! Trust me, photographers really dislike when our images are re-edited and credited to us, because it’s just not fully our work. So love the photographer’s editing style as much as the images!!
2. Assess what kind of EXPERIENCE they will give you as a bride.
You may not know this now, but you’re not just looking for wedding photographs, you’re looking for a wedding experience.
Your experience with your photographer encompasses a lot of different areas. First and most importantly, how will they TREAT you as a client? Will they encourage you and help you as you learn to be behind their camera? How professional and seamless is their booking, contract and invoicing process? How soon will they return your photographs, and do they give teasers? Will they give you guidance before your engagement session? Will they help you plan your wedding timeline? What is their relationship like with other wedding vendors?
When I first became a wedding photographer, I had no clue that my job was SO much more than taking photographs. My job was to be an encourager. And often, a wedding coordinator. In the absence (AND presence) of a wedding coordinator, brides, grooms, bridal parties and parents all looked to me to make sure they were on time and where they needed to be. Your wedding photographer should know how to use time to execute the product you are investing in.
3. Can they help you SOLVE problems and handle tough situations?
Lastly, and SO importantly, as I touched on in my Syracuse.com interview, wedding days are NOT as they appear on Instagram. They are not light and airy all day, and some days aren’t at all! The sun goes down on every wedding and wedding photographers MUST know how to handle the dark, and a variety of reception rooms, barns, etc! But there are so many other weather issues that can happen too! Rain is a huge one! A photographer should know how to handle rain, umbrellas and cameras and still be able to execute photographs that make you happy! Wind is another huge one, and hardly thought of. But it’s super hard to handle and photographers must know how to work around it or have a plan B. Snow and cold is another one, especially in upstate New York! Photographers must be QUICK on their feet, know how to pose and direct and make you feel comfortable in a short period of time.
When I hired my wedding photographer, I thought I was hiring someone who would be able to take amazing outdoor photos in beautiful sunlight, and our ceremony would be on a hill overlooking a valley. Our wedding day rained 100% of the day (it was a Nor’easter!) and when our wedding photographer arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief because I was CONFIDENT that she could handle even a tough situation and I wouldn’t have to worry! Ultimately, this is why you hire a professional wedding photographer. Because you want to trust them completely with a day that you don’t know how all the variables will come together. A professional will – and will help you not to relax and stay calm no matter what.
4. Do you think you would LIKE this photographer as a person?!
I know this sounds simple, but it’s actually so profound! Your wedding photographer is the one vendor with you, at your side, for your entire wedding day. Every tear, laugh, timeline issue- they are there for it. It’s important that you have the right person at your side who will not just be a wedding photographer, but a friend. Who will treat you like someone they value, and want to help and support each step of the way.
When I was interviewing wedding vendors (not photographers, but the principle is the same!) there were some vendors I LOVED their product but at the end of the day, when I met with them I didn’t jive with their personality rather have confidence that they would take care of me. So I didn’t choose them, and it was sad! There were others I LOVED their personality, but I didn’t have full confidence in their work by the way they answered questions I asked. I didn’t hire them either. It was the people that I loved BOTH their work and personality that I knew were right for me. It is a gut decision, and don’t be afraid to go with it!
I am also including a LIST of questions to ask a potential wedding photographer when you meet them! Because I recently helped a cousin of mine, and realized this was too important not to share!