In the ever-growing, always-changing photography industry, it can be extremely difficult to pick the perfect photographer. Honestly, it shouldn’t be that easy of a decision. There are hundreds of photographers – just in Columbus – and most of us are really good! I’m assuming that at least some of you reading this post are currently in the process of looking for a photographer or will be at some point in the future. And I’m sure you’re kind of stumped by the whole thing. HOW are you supposed to pick just one when there are dozens and dozens of photographers that you like and you can’t just pick one? Here’s how …
1. What style are you looking for?
If you haven’t done a lot of research on photography styles and you’re not really sure what you’re looking for – Google it! I say that with love, my friends. The one thing I always hear complaints about is someone picking the cheapest photographer they could find and then hating their photos because the cheap photographer ended up not matching the style the couple had envisioned for their big day.
Let me help you just a little bit. Currently, we’re at a point in the wedding industry where bright, light and airy is the desired style. And part of me secretly hopes that, since you’re here reading MY blog post, that you are actually not looking for that style. There is nothing really wrong with that style – it’s just not what I want to give my clients. When bright and airy is done correctly, it’s beautiful – clean, refreshing, even fine art-esque. However, I’ve seen many times where people just don’t look natural. Where’s the contrast? Where’s the beautiful light-created shadows? Where’s the pop of color?
As an artist, I value color. I value contrast and light-created shadows. I’m not scared to offer something that’s not “on-trend.” I want my couples to look like themselves in their wedding photos. Contrast is beautiful and it truly highlights a person’s natural beauty.
Everyone has their preferences and picking a photographer for their photography style is crucial to falling in love with your wedding photos. When considering a photographer, hop on their website. Look at their gallery and their blog posts. The photos you see there are exactly like the ones they will give you. If you like the photos on their website and you can envision yourself in those photos – that’s a good sign that they’re the photographer for you.
2. Would you be friends with your photographer?
This is super important. You will be spending your entire wedding day with your photographer. Why would you want to spend it with someone that you don’t even like? Better yet, when you like your photographer – as a friend – there’s a good chance that you’ll trust them completely. You’ll trust them to pose you, you’ll feel 100% taken care of, and most importantly, you’ll value the experience even more.
When you’re almost 100% certain that you want to book a photographer, set up an in-person meeting with them. Regardless of what wedding magazines and websites will tell you, you absolutely do not need to meet with 5-10 wedding professionals in person to make your final decision. You should have a pretty decent idea of who you want to book before you even send out that initial email, guys.
I’ll tell you this – 90% of the info you receive from photographers (or any other wedding professional) is already on their website: pricing, a portfolio, blog posts, testimonials, etc. The only reason you should need/want to meet in-person with a photographer is if you are already dead set on booking them or if you’re on the fence between two photographers and decide to meet with your top choice in person to seal the deal.
If you’re really just not sure and don’t have a top choice photographer, schedule phone calls (or Skype/FaceTime dates) to ask your potential photographers questions. Also, please do not feel like you need to ask wedding vendors every single question on the “questions for vendors sheet” you found on Pinterest. Be personal with us – ask us questions based off of you and your experiences planning your wedding and whatever comes to mind after you explore our websites/social medias/portfolios. What are the things that are important to YOU? Because that’s what we want to talk about.
3. What’s the best value?
No, not who’s the cheapest. Not who’s the least expensive. Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life. This is a huge event that you’re probably spending a decent amount of money on. Photography is one of the only lasting memories you’ll have from your wedding. When the day’s over, you may not remember everything but those photographs will preserve those memories forever. Now, I’m not saying to completely throw your budget out the window. What I’m suggesting is going through a selection process.
- Follow the first two steps above – go on Google and search for local wedding photographers. Ask your recently married friends who they worked with. Hop on WeddingWire and The Knot if you need to. Pick 5 or so photographers and visit their website. Does their style match your wedding style and vision? Check. Now find their information/pricing page.
- I can pretty much guarantee that every single photographer you’ve picked will have at least a starting price point on their website. Is that number something you’re comfortable with? Great, keep them on the list. At this point, I’d hope you have your list down to your top 3 choices. Next step is to email them, set up a time to chat usually via phone call or FaceTime. Okay, great – you love them and they’re available! Now, it’s time to figure out the best value they can give you.
- How many hours of coverage do they offer? Are engagement photos included in their collections? Do they offer an album or prints? What else can they do for you? Are they involved in a networking group or willing to send you recommendations for other vendors (cakes, flowers, planners, etc)? What resources can they offer you to help finish your wedding planning?
Long story, short. Yes, budget is important. However, it’s much more important that you love the experience and that you love your photos! Don’t pick a photographer because they’re cheap – pick them because of what else they can offer you besides hourly coverage. Pick a photographer that fits your overall vision.
All of this being said, if you’re reading this post because you already want to be a #stephparkerbride (or groom!) or because you found the link on social media and were curious – I sincerely hope that this post has helped give you a bit of guidance in this extremely stressful – yet joyous – moment in your life. I also hope that because you’re here, you’ll explore my website more, grow to love my work and send me that email asking to meet up for wine or coffee to discuss your wedding! Good luck! 🙂