Today we have a great article from Steve Steinhardt, one of our favorite, go-to photographers on finding the perfect wedding photographer. We hope you enjoy!
When you break it down, wedding photography is a collection of mementos that paint the story of your wedding. And while it can be endlessly gratifying to relive these moments after returning from your honeymoon, the photos you receive even more importantly keep a historical record of your promise for generations. Coming from someone who does this for a living, I will be the first to let you in on a little secret; wedding photography is a painstaking career. It requires knowledge in every discipline of photography including landscapes, still life, portraiture, and journalism to successfully capture a multi-faceted, fast faced event such as a wedding. And in addition to being a master of the art wedding photography, you must also have a strong business sense and great customer service. That being said, there are a few areas that should be carefully considered when seeking out the perfect photographer for you and your event.
The best time to start the hunt for your photog is after you’ve booked your date and venue. To make sure you have the opportunity to snag your favorite photographer, start the search about a year out. Unsure of where to start? Ask for referrals from your planner, friends, and family. Do a little scouting through your favorite wedding blogs and seek out photos you are drawn to from real weddings in magazines. Any photographers who make your short list should have a well edited online portfolio, and it never hurts to look for photographers who have a good amount of press and publication under their belt. This shows they are staying relevant in the industry.
A GOOD FIT
When searching for a wedding photographer, there is nothing more important than finding art and style you resonate with on a personal level. A photographers style is their trademark, and this can be described through their sense of timing, framing, lens and camera choices, color, composition, and posing. Whether it’s edgy colors and non traditional posing, classic black and white journalism, or light and airy with a romantic sensibility, go with your gut on this one. What feels most like you and your wedding? What do you want to see hanging on your walls?
Just like in any other aspect of your planning, communication is key when choosing a wedding photographer. Your chosen photographer should be able to easily answer any questions you might have in regards to their approach, work flow, delivery time frame, pricing, and availability. A quick response to emails and phone calls marks a business person who is on point, organized, and respectful of their clients time.
IN PERSON MEETING
This is one point I cant stress enough. If you can meet with your photographer in person and see a wedding album, you absolutely should. And if you cant meet in person, ask to set up a Skype meeting and for a link to a gallery of a full wedding. Not only is an up close and personal meeting the very best way to see if your personalities will mesh and get all your questions answered, but it the best way to view samples of your photographer’s work. While a website will serve up their style at a glance, portfolios rarely show everything. By browsing a full wedding, you will know exactly what to expect of your own wedding images.
The quickest way to age your wedding photos is to follow the trends. Sure, the first time you see a photo of a couple with a cute prop it might really inspire you and set off your creativity, but try and think how this effect will wear off every subsequent time you see a variation of that same photo. It will feel less special and certainly less creative. Which then brings me back to what wedding photography really is; a collection of images that tell the story of your day to be enjoyed over the ages. Keep it classic and you will never have regrets.
When you the find the perfect wedding photographer, don’t hesitate to book. Just like with other vendors and services, your photographer most likely has a few other inquiries for your date or has a set limit on the number of weddings they will take on a year. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of missing out on the perfect fit.