Your wedding. One of the biggest moments of your life that will not be repeated. Something you want to remember the rest of your life – and your photos are the only tangible memories from your wedding day. Trust this special day to a professional who has been there, and trust that you won’t regret the money spent years down the road. You spend thousands of dollars on a dress that will be put in the back of a closet, possibly to never be seen again. You spend thousands of dollars on a venue, flowers, and the details for that day – and the only way you’ll be able to look back and see those things is through your photographs.
Trust your wedding day photos to someone who has taken the time to learn and understand not only how to properly use their equipment, but how to shoot in all situations, low lighting, and who has experience photographing weddings and will help coordinate so that your day goes by much more smoothly. Someone who has YOUR best interests at heart, and who has the ability to make sure your wedding is creatively documented for you to look back on and smile… not say, I wish we’d have hired a professional instead of letting Joe Bloe, or even Uncle Joe, photograph us. Trust me, I know this from experience. I hired a professional wedding photographer, and I am so grateful to have those memories.
I did NOT hire a professional videographer, and I wish I had. Can I go back and remake that day and reshoot it? Nope. Sure can’t. I trusted that moment to a family member, whom I love deeply and am grateful we got A video of that day… but the video was NOT what I wanted, especially 20 minutes of the floor while a guest talked randomly because he forgot to turn off the camera.
My point? Trying to stick to a budget? There are plenty of things to skimp on that won’t matter 10 years from now… but don’t skimp on your photography. The one thing that you will still have 10 years from now to remember your wedding day.
Some tips when searching for a wedding photographer:
1. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can pick up a nice camera these days and say “Look I can be a wedding photographer!” There is much more to it than the camera being used. Make sure you see a portfolio with a decent number of images from several weddings, proof that this photographer can do the job before you write them a check. Visit their website - focus on their photos, not necessarily the design of the website. Read the site for details, but remember the PROOF of what they can do is in the photographs. Yes, every new photographer needs a break to shoot their first wedding, but there are right and wrong ways to do this… the best way is as a second shooter, so the bride is still getting their day properly documented from the main photographer, but a new photographer has the opportunity to get their feet wet and fully understand the responsibility of capturing this event. A word to the wise – do not hire a “newbie” photographer as your main photographer on your big day. Too many people get sucked into this thinking they can save a buck, and most of the time, they regret it.
2. Compare several photographers to get an idea of quality, style, and prices that are out there available to you. Average price for a GOOD wedding photographer, in the ball park of $2000. Some are more. A few are less. We try to offer packages for a wide variety of budgets. Trust that what you are paying is for quality and expertise in addition to the physical product you will receive after the wedding.
3. Review and meet with your photographer before the big day. A photographer should have a good reviews or testimonials page with comments from their clients. This is another key sign of the photographer’s professionalism and ability. Schedule a consultation appointment so you can discuss pricing and details. Ask questions, make sure you will be getting what YOU need. Once you book a photographer, stay in communication with them until the big day.
4. Discuss wedding equipment used – although you may not be a photographer yourself and fully understand the equipment, the photographer should. Ask them questions about what type of equipment they use, such as what kind of speedlite they use – if they use the onboard flash, this should be a red flag. Ask them the speed of their lens – if they don’t understand this question or know the answer, this should be a red flag. Find out if they shoot in manual, or if they use P or auto (you want the photographer shooting in manual.) Also ask if they shoot in RAW (the answer should be yes, especially for weddings.) These things are key to shooting weddings due to the low light and shooting conditions that are generally involved. There’s a lot more to it, but this will give you a better idea if the photographer knows what they are doing.
5. Lastly, as with any major decision, sleep on it. After you’ve met with a few photographers, think it over, determine who you feel meets your needs. Call the photographer you choose back, and ask them to pencil you in tentatively until you can sign the contract and put down the deposit.
Back to the main point – trust your BIG DAY to a professional. Not only will you be getting a photographer who understands how to photograph a wedding, but the photographer usually comes in as a “coordinator” – as they understand the general flow of weddings, and they can make sure things go smoothly.