Your photographs will be your most treasured wedding keepsake. You’ll immediately want to share them when your photographer gives them to you, and you’ll look back at them 50 years from now, reminiscing about your vows, the kiss, and the first dance.
Choosing the right photographer to capture those poignant moments is an important decision, and it’s crucial to find a pro who understands your vision for your wedding day and can document it with style. But you’ll also want someone you trust and feel comfortable with since he or she will be by your side the entire wedding day.
Wedding photography is much more than just having a friendly camera or taking many pictures to cover your bases. The first thing we hear from all of our assistants trying to become professionals is, “Wedding photography is harder than I thought it would be.” Our answer, “Of course it is!” The goal of this article is to help prevent you from hiring the wrong photographer, or even worse, “Uncle Joe.” Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
Finding the perfect wedding photographer to capture your big day on camera is essential. Though taking stunning pictures should be their mission, a wedding photographer’s job goes far beyond holding the camera. They should know how to get all the right angles, photograph all the right people and be a blast to work with!
To help you find the right person to entrust with this task, follow our guide to selecting the perfect wedding photographer.
How to Find a Wedding Photographer?
Where to Start
Before you begin searching, make sure you have a few details of your wedding finalized. You should have the date, wedding venue and budget nailed down before you even start scoping out portfolios. This will help later down the line when you start looking at pricing info and check a wedding photographer’s availability.
Know Your Style
You should know the kind of look that you want for your photos. Different wedding photographers use different photography styles, so try to get a feel for what you’re into (it’ll make the narrowing down process much easier). Do you like a higher contrast? Is light and airy your thing? Keep a Pinterest board running to get a feel for the styles you like.
Do Your Research
You’ll want to kick off your hunt with a bit of research. We have a vendor search that’ll lead you to a ton of portfolios and reviews for wedding photographers. Wedding expos, Instagram and good old fashioned word of mouth are also great research tools.
Want to know what went on behind the photos? Start reading reviews. Even though you love a particular photographer’s images, they could be a nightmare to work with. Note how the reviewers talk about their experience and whether they felt encouraged and confident while being shot. You want to feel at ease on your wedding day, not stressed – your wedding photographer has a significant role to play in that.
Follow Them on Social Media.
Social media is your best friend when hunting for a photographer. It’ll give you a sneak peek of their portfolio and will help you get into shots you’d like at your wedding. Follow a few of your favourites and check in every now again to see how active they are.
Consider Whether You Love Their Work.
Do you love what you see? No, not just like, I mean love. If you can’t help but imagine borrowing poses and styles from their existing portfolio, there’s a chance that this wedding photographer might be the one.
Get in Touch
After you have narrowed it down to a handful of wedding photographers, it’s time to reach out and get the details on their availability and pricing. Getting in touch with someone you don’t know is always awkward. But don’t sweat it, this is their livelihood, and they’ll be stoked to hear from a potential new client.
Schedule a Meet and Greet
So, you think you’ve found “the one”? Well then, it’s time to set up a meeting. You can only learn so much about someone talking screen-to-screen, so this meeting will be your chance to get a feel for their personality. Your photographer should be easy (and fun) to work with, or having them around may put a damper on your wedding day. You’ll be spending a good chunk of time with them, so enjoying their company is critical.
Tip: If your wedding photographer is based somewhere far away – this is typical if you’re hosting a destination wedding – opt to use Facetime or Skype.
See Their Full Range of Work.
You can get a good taste of what a wedding photographer can do by lurking their Instagram and flipping through their portfolio, but remember, that’s their highlight reel – the best of the best. You’ll want to see a wedding album that they’ve shot from front to back to see how they handle a variety of shots (and to see if they have any weak spots that you’re not 100% comfortable with). Look for photos of decor, guests, food and everything in between.
Read and Sign the Contract.
Congratulations! You’re at the end of the road. Before you start unscrewing that pen cap, remember to read your future photographers contract carefully (give it a few reads to make sure you don’t miss anything). You’ll want to understand how much you’ll pay for their service and exactly what that service includes. Does the package price include engagement photos? How long will he or she be at your wedding? How long will it take for your images to get to you? Are there any additional costs for travel or equipment? You should know all of this before signing on that dotted line.
Soft-Skills That Your Wedding Photographer Needs to Possess
You need to pay attention to these areas during your meetings and conversations with professional photographers because they are not things that you can determine by asking a question.
Strong Reviews: How Was the Experience of Past Clients?
When a business has numerous reviews, they are more likely to be established and deliver a great product than a company with just a few thoughts. It is common for clients to rave about their final product and their experience with the company as well.
Expertise – Being a Technical and Creative Wedding Photographer
A professional wedding photographer should not only be well versed in the technical side of the trade but he or she must also be artistic and creative. Those are two opposite personality traits. How many people do you know are very technologically savvy and artistically creative at the same time?
Being Technical and Creative
Having a great camera and technical skills will allow your wedding photographer to capture exposed, well-lit images regardless of the lighting situation and time constraints. On the other hand, having excellent creative skills will allow your photographer to approach each shot with a unique viewpoint and artistic vision, ensuring that the pictures are not just photos but also beautiful images.
Personality – Being Personable and Charismatic
Just as important (if not more important) as their technical knowledge and creativity are the wedding photographers interpersonal skills. How well do they interact with their clients and those at the wedding? Are they outgoing, personable, charismatic, professional, and honest?
Not including engagement shoots, bridal shoots, etc. You will be spending a whole day with your photographer on the most important day of your life. A wedding photographer with a personality that matches your own is essential to your wedding’s overall experience.
Photography Style: Do You Like Their Style of Wedding Photography?
While researching photographers, you’ll come to notice the many styles of wedding photography. At the same time, you’ll begin to see what styles you do and do not like. You will get a better idea of the photographer’s artistic style from looking at their blog or website rather than a few images on their Instagram. Taking the extra time to research your top choices’ complete portfolios will be worth it in the end.
Assistants – Having More Than One Wedding Photographer
We often are asked the question, “why do I need more than one wedding photographer?”
If you were to look at a wedding written up as a movie script, you would see a primary storyline surrounded by smaller side stories that are happening at the exact moment. For example, during a wedding ceremony, the main story is, of course, the bride and groom. However, there may be multiple side stories occurring at the exact moment. For instance, mom or dad wiping the tear from their eyes or the flower girl sitting in the corner, picking petals from a rose in her hands.
No matter how good a photographer is, he or she cannot be at all places simultaneously; so, to compensate, we use multiple wedding photographers, each with a different focus. For example, our lead photographer focuses strictly on the bride and groom. Our second wedding photographer would focus on reaction shots from the family, guests, etc. Our third (when needed) would focus on creative imagery by constantly surveying and moving around the scene to find unique angles and compositions of our subjects.
Having multiple photographers enables our team to broaden the coverage and creative eyes at the event. While we recommend two photographers regardless of your wedding’s size, we tell clients that it is almost required if you have 100-200 people at the wedding. For clients with huge weddings, i.e. 200+, we recommend three photographers.
Quality – Quality Over Quantity
When seeking a photographer, it’s best not to get caught up in the number of products each photographer is promising. Stay focused on the actual quality of the work provided. We realize that some people are working within a budget. Think to yourself that you can always purchase an album or additional prints later (even 5-10 years later), but you can’t change the quality of the photographs taken at the wedding after the wedding day. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
We strive to tell clients if you need to cut from your package to make it more affordable and start with the products. Cut the prints from the box, remove the album, but don’t go with a cheaper photographer because they are willing to give you all the products you want upfront. If you can, always keep at least two photographers in your package.
Cultural Wedding Experience: How Familiar Are the Photographers With Cultural Wedding Traditions?
From the South Asian Baraat to the Chinese Tea Ceremony, cultural weddings include an abundance of exciting traditions. Documenting a cultural wedding requires additional time and attention to detail when compared to Westernized weddings. Your creative team must have that experience and understanding of your traditional wedding ceremonies.
Once you get past technique, creativity, and personality, the next thing you should be looking for is experience. Is the wedding photographer a professional photographer, or is this their “weekend gig”? How many weddings has this photographer shot?
While experience is essential, some of the best and most hardworking wedding photographers we have met are experienced photographers but relatively new as wedding photographers. In situations where you love the photographer’s style but are concerned with them not having enough experience, ask to look at their entire collection of images from each event they have shot.
To help you out further, when we hire applicants for assistants and associate photographer positions, we base their level of experience off of how many weddings they have shot as the lead photographer. (i.e. not under another professional photographer’s guidance or direction).
- 1-5 Weddings – Inexperienced
- 6-10 Weddings – Amateur (Qualified as an assistant photographer)
- 10-20 Weddings – Knowledgeable
- 21-30 Weddings – Experienced
- 31+ Weddings – Professional (Qualified as an associate photographer)
Book Your Venue First.
It’s a brilliant idea to hire your photographer after you’ve secured your venue. Aim to book his or her services about nine months before the wedding (or a year, if your photographer is in high demand).
Hit up Your Social Network for Recommendations.
Ask your recently married friends whose wedding photos you loved and solicit recommendations from your wedding planner or your reception site manager.
Figure Out the Style of Photography You Like.
Do your homework and spend some time getting a sense of the style of photography you like. Maybe it’s bright with lots of saturated colours, or perhaps you prefer a more vintage look with more washed-out tones and a dreamy, nostalgic feel. Once you’ve found a handful of photographers whose aesthetic jives with yours, email each person and inquire about if they’re available on your wedding date and their photography rates. If the ones you’re interested in are available on your date and if their fees are within your budget, then you can schedule initial meetings.
Interview the Photographers.
Most photographers will email you a link to their portfolio of images before your first meeting. Be sure the collection includes recent weddings he or she has shot from start to finish, not just a “best of” highlight reel from dozens of different weddings. This is a more accurate way to gauge the photographer’s work. Also, ask if the photographer has shot at your venue and if so, request to see those photos.
During the meeting, find out who exactly will shoot on your wedding day. Some larger studios employ several photographers, and even with single-person operations, it’s not unusual for the photographer to have an assistant handle shots of the groom getting ready. At the same time, he focuses on the bride and bridesmaids. In all cases, request to see the photographer’s work (or photographers) who will be handling your wedding.
Discuss the Fee.
Some photographers’ fees include everything, including albums, prints, and high-resolution images (saved on a disc or thumb drive); others have a flat or hourly rate, then charge you à la carte for any pictures or albums you want. Many photographers offer a price list that details several different packages they offer at various price points. Make sure that you understand what’s included. Ask how long the photographer will spend with you (seven to nine hours is ideal) and whether there will be a second shooter, as you’ll get more detailed shots this way.
Also, inquire about when you can expect to receive everything, from a sneak peek of images (some photographers can give you a handful within a few days) to prints (usually up to three months) to your album (up to a year).
Go With Your Gut.
Once you’ve evaluated each photographer’s work and fees and narrowed down the options, it’s time to make your decision. Don’t forget that you’ll be spending the entire wedding day with this person, so you want to make sure you feel entirely comfortable with the photographer. Do you and your fiancé genuinely like this person? Do you feel like the three of you click?
Schedule a Test Run.
An engagement photoshoot is always a good idea—it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know your photographer and begin to feel comfortable having your photo taken, especially if you or your groom are camera-shy. Looking for a Wedding Photo Location? Look no further. Brighton Savoy has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo locations to help you choose.