When planning a wedding, selecting the photographer is one decision that should require the most research and scrutiny if you want to feel happily ever after about your pictures.
A lot of decisions surrounding the wedding are really pretty simple. Like I always say, Think long, think wrong. If you like buttercream icing, pick the buttercream icing and move on. But when dealing with wedding photography, you really need to look at each photographer’s finished product.
As with most vendors, the three components that should affect your decisions are taste, talent and service. First, there’s taste. Do you admire the photographer’s taste? Would you be comfortable with this person making aesthetic decisions on your wedding day? The photographer’s talent level comes next. When looking through their portfolio, did you see a picture that made your heart beat? Are their compositions pleasing? Do they look timeless? Third is service. What are they willing to provide? In this age of digital photography, your photographer may take 3,000 or more shots, then whittle them down to about 800 or so to show you. Is this person willing to sit down with you for several hours to help decide which photos will best tell the story of your wedding?
I often hear, So-and-so is very expensive…But in the wedding business, that‘s probably the most ironic statement one can make. I can tell you that it’s pretty much a level playing field for all professionals. If a photographer shows you great work, you’ll want to buy more of it, then it becomes expensive. But the basic cost of professional photographers is very close to being the same.
Most photographers will have suggestions, i.e. whiten your teeth, use bright lip color to make your lips look fuller, or wear a simple, classic hairstyle. But in my experience, any photographer who requires you to be ready for photos hours and hours before the wedding is a bad choice. There’s no need for you to be dressed in wedding attire for half the day and night, and there’s no need for you to have your bridal bouquet unnecessarily exposed to heat or cold hours in advance. You, your bridal party, your clothes and flowers should be fresh, crisp and bright when the photos are taken—never tired, worn out or wrinkled.
Finally, pick a photographer who is a team player. Ask other vendors if they have had a positive experience with this person. Tension between purveyors is felt by the family and is one thing that should not even cross their minds on this most special day.
When it comes to selecting a photographer—or any other vendor, for that matter—you should get a feel that they’re excited for you and enthusiastic about being at your service. I really do believe that my colleagues in the wedding business who are successful and enjoy what they do have something in common, and that’s how they feel about their clients: They are genuinely happy for them, and want them to have the best of the best. If you think about it, that’s a formula that works for just about anyone in any profession. LN