Your engagement is an exciting time, but it also can be filled with a lot of to-do lists. One of the items at the top of your list may be finding a photographer for your engagement session and day-of photos. As you start sorting through a list of photographers in your area, keep the following items in mind:
1. Define your style.
Every photographer has their own signature style and strengths. As you’re browsing through a photographer’s portfolio, make a note of what the common threads in their photographs are. Are the pictures light and airy? Do they have a sense of drama?
Then, ask yourself what styles you are drawn to. Is it the classic, formal, posed portraits? Or are you into the more modern, journalistic feel? Make sure your tastes align with those of your potential photographer’s expertise.
2. Go beyond a pro’s highlight reel.
The photos on a pro’s website are – more often than not – the best of the best. Don’t just click through a few photos and call it a day! Pour over their social feeds and check out full galleries of weddings. From there, you’ll get a sense of how they photograph a full event – not just the portraits of the bride and groom but also the shots of your families and the party at the reception.
Take note of a complete wedding collection. How do they portray some of the “musts” on your shot list, such as, for example, the photo of the bride and her father walking down the aisle? Also, focus on the expression of the people in the photos. Do they look happy and comfortable or overwhelmed and uneasy? If it’s the latter, it could be a case of the photographer’s and couple’s personalities not gelling well.
3. Ask the right questions.
Once you have your style defined and some potential photographers on your list, time to ask some questions! Here are a few to have on quick before you choose your wedding photographer:
- How many weddings have you shot, and how many weddings do you shoot in a year?
- What exactly is included in your package? Does it include an engagement session? Does it include products, like an album or prints?
- How many total hours are included in your package?
- Will you be my actual photographer on the day of? Do you use an associate, or a second shooter?
- What’s your preferred shooting style: sticking to a shot list or keeping it loose?
- What happens post-wedding? How long is your turnaround time?
4. Don’t forget to read the contract!
Every photographer will have their own contract drawn up, and, most of the time, it stipulates that the photographer owns the images of your big day. What does that mean? Your photographer can use your images on their website, blog, in ads, in publications, et cetera, in order to promote their business.
And, often, it also means that you have to give credit when you are posting your photos on social media. Sometimes, that can even mean that you are not allowed to purchase an album or prints from another lab.
What’s next? Check out our tips for how to work best with your wedding photographer on the day of!