You just got engaged, yippee! What an exciting time! If you're anything like I was, in just a few short moments you are going to have a ton of thoughts race through
your pretty little mind. My brain blurted them all out at once in one long run on sentence something along the lines of "I am so happy, I can't believe I am this lucky. I have to call my mom!, Is this real? Wow this ring is shinnnnnyyy! I have to call my BFF! What month should we have the wedding, I think a summer wedding would be nice... Ohhh and where?? I need to start planning!" in about 30 minutes flat. Once you let that initial adrenaline burst simmer down and actually begin to think about planning, one of the first things you should start researching is a wedding photographer.
Now, before you hit your local Google search bar up to find the "best photographer in XX city" and click on the first hit, you'll want the inside scoop on important questions to ask your top candidates. You see, each photographer is different when it comes to their style of photography, their editing style, what they include in their pricing, and of course their personality (trust me, personality matters, you are going to spend almost the entire wedding day with them!). Here are a few key things to decide, and ask about when researching your perfect match for a wedding photographer!
1. What style of photography do you love? There are many! Figure this out first, because you hire a photographer based on their work, you don't hire a photographer and ask them to produce work similar to someone else. If you like the other person's style more, hire them! Its kind of like choosing a hair stylist.
SO, get to Pinterest, and start a board called "Wedding Photography I Love". Then start saving all of the pins that you love the style of, the colors of the edits, the posing, etc. Once you do this for a few days, see what the common theme of your favorites is! Look at editing style first! Do you like "light and airy", "dark and moody", "natural with a punch"? Do you like all the perfectly poised and posed photos, or do you prefer more of a "lifestyle" kind of photography? Or maybe a mix? Once you narrow these few things down, you can start your search for photographers with your ideal style in your area.
2. How many photographers do you want? Some people use one photographer to capture their entire day, and it can be done! A lot of photographers shoot the majority of their weddings solo. I generally do! If they have experience with this, they probably have it down to a science! The best rule of thumb is to ask to see a full wedding gallery that they shot solo, and see if you feel like they covered everything you would be expecting on your own wedding day! If there are a few moments you feel are missing, think about the timing of those moments and if you think it could have been limited by there only being one photographer and one camera. Understand that one person is just that, and they cannot be in two places at once. SO, if you really want two views of part of the day at the same time, or want to speed up the overall time needed for the photo process, you may need to consider choosing a photographer who has the option for a second photographer. Most professional photographers have a small roster of a select few "second shooters" who they are comfortable working with, just ask. Of course, two photographers will cost you a bit more, so keep that in mind!
3. How many hours of coverage do you need, and how many final edited photographs do you expect to receive, and how do you want to receive them and get your photos printed? Do you want the entire day photographed? Just the main events? Somewhere in between? Ceremony only? Consider these things when deciding how many hours to hire a photographer for. The most popular packages in my experience allow for 6 or 8 hours of coverage, and return approximately 200 or 300 final edited images, respectively. Averaging 30-40 quality images per hour. This is fairly standard. Most photographers deliver their photos either on a USB drive, or through an online downloadable gallery. Do you have a preference? If so, make sure to discuss this with your top candidates! It is also important to ask if you'll receive the printing rights (which allow you to create prints through whatever platform you choose: such as, Shutterfly, Snapfish, home printer, local print shop, etc.) or if you have to buy prints from them directly (which can get expensive!).
4. Do you want an engagement session? Do you have a separate budget for that, or do you want a wedding package that includes the engagement session? A lot of photographers include an engagement session complimentary when you book your wedding with them as a way to get to know you and become comfortable with you before the big day. I do! If they don't include an engagement session and that is something you're wanting, you'll want to inquire about their pricing for that also.
5. What kind of experience do you want your photographer to provide? If you want to learn about a photographer's personality, check out their biography or about me section on their website, and see if you think you'll hit it off! A lot of photographers are also happy to meet to discuss their services, and this can be a great way to see if their personality is a good match for your big day. I am always happy to meet with any potential clients to discuss my services and chat! Think you may be interested in my services? Let's grab coffee, or donuts, or both!
If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there. I hope this is helpful!
Best Wishes and Congrats!
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