Some brides love the detail photos of the coffee dripping into the pot, or the creative ones of their wedding shoes on their mother's vintage type-writer. Think about what matters to you and what you'd like to see when you look through your wedding album years later.
1.) ALWAYS meet your photographer in person first
When possible have your engagement photos taken from the photographer prior to your wedding and before you have paid in full—in fact I would aim to see the photos before even putting down a deposit on a photographer.
This tells you a few things about the person you're working with:
A. Their actual skill level (anyone can create an online portfolio with images off the internet and I do know people who have been scammed by fake photographers)
B. How fast their turn around time is ie how quickly they get your photos to you
C. Their editing style
I had a friend who book a photographer that she had done a glamour shoot with. Those images of her were lovely, she had no reservations about booking this photographer, but they did not get engagement photos done. When it came to the wedding photos, they took more than 3 months to get and they were horrible! They were edited so strangely, there were very few of them and there were hardly an candid photos of the actual ceremony.
2.) You don't have to book the first photographer you meet
You probably didn't marry the first person you dated and same goes for professionals. You are under no obligation to book with someone just because you set up a consultation.
Don't fall for marketing gimmicks trying to rush you to put down a deposit so that you don't lose your spot. Yes, good photographers book up quickly. But there are SO MANY photographers out there. You will find one you like without too much trouble.
3.) Ask lots of questions
Take a list and don't worry about how it comes off. I would much rather know what my client actually wants then not leave them fully satisfied.
- When you will get the photos back and what format they will be delivered in?
- How many photos you should expect to get?
- If you will get a sneak peak of the photos?
- If you can print images yourself or only order them through the photographer?
- If they will pick portrait locations or if you can/should?
4.) Look for What is NOT in the Photos
Some photos are easy to capture, like the first kiss other moments are harder to catch like the tear in your grandmother's eye as you say your vows. Pay attention to what the photographer is catching and what they might be missing.
5.) Know Your Photography Style
The two main categories are classic and photojournalism
Classic - gives you posed shots of family and bridal party, bride and groom and each separately. You probably get 2-3 posed photos of the bridesmaids and the bride in their little satin robes getting ready and a few of the bride having her blush applied.
These photographers tend to have more of a glamour magazine approach to weddings. Things will look pretty. They will probably take less photos and be slower to set them up making sure that everything is just right for each shot. They will probably take your bouquet and your rings and set up a nice photo of each of them.
Photojournalism - documents your day. A true photojournalist will just take exactly what is happening, they will not do any posed images or set up shots, they will capture the events and that is all.
Typically wedding photographers fall somewhere along this spectrum. Most brides want something that falls somewhere in the middle. Know what your own preferences are, so that you can look for what you like or don't in each photographers portfolio.
My own taste leans more towards the photojournalism style and my favourite photos of my wedding are of candid moments caught between my guests. We did have posed photos of my husband and I though and I have one of them that I framed for the wall.
6.) Make a list of ESSENTIAL shots
One of my former roommates has been married for more than five years and she still talks about how upset she is that she never got a photo of just she and her mother on her wedding day. That was the ONE photo she really, really wanted and in the bustle of the day she forgot and so did the photographer. I don't have a photo of my mom and I alone either, but I have never given it a second thought.
I recommend that couples give their photographer an essential hit list prior to the wedding with must have photos on it so that you get everyone in there.
Michelle J. Falk
Shares stories from behind the scenes and tips to improve your photo sessions.