bride looks out the windowIt seems that most everyone these days has a fancy camera and is offering to shoot weddings with it. But, there is something to be said with, “you get what you pay for.” So it’s important to know what to look for, and what to avoid, when deciding on a wedding photographer. Obviously we think we are the best at all of these tips at D Studios, but even if you aren’t looking at us for your special day, here is some advice to help you in decided who to hire when choosing a wedding photographer, by someone who knows the business.

Professionalism

The wedding photographer will most likely be around the bride and groom more than any other person on the wedding day. Which is why it is important that the photographer have a personality that you can spend an entire day with. My advice is to look for someone who comes across as professional, courteous, and blends in properly with the guests. If the photographer is disorganized or has a bad attitude, they should probably be avoided. Try to find someone you can see yourself spending the day with.

I’ve seen photographers who will show up in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans, and that works for them as it is who they are and how they want to present themselves. Others will show up in black slacks and a black shirt, in an attempt to blend in as best as possible. If you want a photographer in a suit or specific wardrobe, be sure to clarify it in advance.

sample photo book
Sample Album

Albums

If buying the optional book or album, check the quality ahead of time. Will people be able to flip through it years later? Will it hold together? Does the photographer do a good job of using the album to tell a story of the wedding day? These are all things one should consider before making a purchase.

There is nothing wrong with the photographer limiting what is in the initial package and charging more for extras like a full resolution disk or additional prints. Just make sure to ask questions, understand the order, and that everything is documented in the contract.

Sample Work

Photographers are only going to show people their best work. Since most photographers do online galleries, ask to get a link to a couple of other client galleries. Look through and see what the overall portfolio looks like. This has an additional benefit of setting your expectations as well. Realistically, not all photographs taken will look like they belong on the cover of a bride magazine.

Style

Most photographers to do a combination of “candid” and “formal” pictures. Are the formal shots posed in a way that you will be happy with? Do the candids look natural and memorable? The style of the photographer should match the mood of what you imagine for your wedding memories.

Thanks to Photoshop and ever-changing technology, will the pictures be cool-looking now, but dated later? Think glam shots from the 80’s. Or perhaps the current trend of over-sharpening peoples eyes.

Price

It’s important to set a realistic budget for a photographer. Once that budget has been set, make sure to understand what is being provided by the photographer for that price, including the cost of any extras. Examples of extras include: extra time, additional prints or disks/flash drive, albums, and more.

Photographers don’t just charge for a product, they charge for time, and that needs to be taken into consideration by you when hiring a professional. Processing pictures and creating albums are all time put in after the wedding day.

References

Popular wedding sites will often tell people to get references but, for the most part, I don’t see the value in them. Photographers aren’t going to provide a reference to someone who is dissatisfied with their service. There is no way to verify who the person providing the reference is and how true it is, so why bother wasting time?

Number of pictures

Choosing a Wedding PhotographerWith digital technology the number of photographs taken at a wedding are too numerous to use. What is really important is the quality of the photographs received. A photographer can take a thousand images at a wedding, but if only 10 of them are any good, it’s kind of a waste.

No Experience

Try to avoid finding someone who just bought a digital camera and is looking to make a little money on the side. Yes, this will cut down on the overall budget of the wedding, but the quality of the product and quality of the service will most likely reflect as such. Everyone has to start somewhere and gain experience. But for photographers this can be done via classes and as an assistant for other photographers. It doesn’t have to be at your wedding.

There is a lot of stress on a wedding day for everyone involved and it is important to have someone taking the pictures who has worked with other photographers and knows how to deal with situations as they arise. By having an experienced photographer, there is one less thing for the bride and groom to worry about.

To Summarize

When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, there is a reason a professional photographer’s album looks better than one an average person might create using an at-home template. There is also a reason a professional’s picture looks better than an amateur with a newly purchased digital camera. Even so, it is important to balance quality with cost of service because, at the end of the day, the cake will be eaten, the flowers will wilt, and the memories will fade, but the photographs will last a lifetime.

bride and groom give kisses

Note: This article was originally published on my personal blog at milodenison.com