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Posted March 27, 2013 by Spotlight Bride in Featured
 
 

Choosing the Right Photographer

Bride and photographer
Bride and photographer

Picture of a woman photographer making a photo

We Will Start with the “Three R’s” of Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer…
Research: Today’s bride typically begins her initial search for wedding vendors, especially photographers, online.  In most cases there will be plenty of options to choose from in your local area…so how will you decide which photographer is best for you? You will start by doing research online of various photographer’s portfolios of your local area.

Review: Most likely you as the bride-to-be will get it narrowed down to a few choices, and while in many cases it’s important to choose the right photographer based on their work quality, thoroughly review each photographer’s portfolios for the following elements: Storytelling (from beginning to end), Emotion (Connection between you and the bridesmaids, your family, your guests and of course your spouse), Details (the dress, the accessories, the rings, the flowers, the decor and venue set up), Beauty (did the photographer make the bride look beautiful by capturing her in the best light and angles? Did they properly utilize shadows and highlights to create dimension?) and Spontaneous and Endearing Moments (did the photographer capture a moment among the bridal party or guests that the bride might otherwise have missed and be surprised to see her her wedding photography collection?)…and finally Design (Does the editing style and album layout make the bridal couple look natural and timeless?).

During the review process, there is an important question you should ask yourself: What is my personal style and taste? & How much do I want this style emphasized in the photographs?  For example, if you are getting married in New York City, you may not opt to choose a photographer whose portfolio is comprised mostly in the niche area of vintage or country-style weddings. Either be sure your photographer can shoot in various niches and provide continuity, or identify a photographer whose niche focuses on your preferred style.

Request: Once you have thoroughly reviewed the portfolios for these elements and narrowed your options down further, it’s time to request rate information, additional samples of work and even an in-person meeting when feasible. Meeting the prospective photographer is important because you want to ensure that in addition to loving their work quality and style, that you also mesh personality-wise.  In most cases, you will not find that a good quality photographer, with good work samples, will treat you poorly…but it is important that they see and understand that you are a unique couple, and they should treat you and approach your wedding that way so that your style and personalities emerge through the captured images.

Noticed we have not focused too much on budget at this point. This is not to say that we think it’s a good idea for a bride to blow off her wedding budget, but when it comes to photography, you should think seriously about how important your wedding collection will be to you. Keep in mind that these photos and any videography will be what you have left as the most important mementos of your special day.  It may be that you want to forego the extra dessert table to have more for your photography budget if that’s what’s more important to you.

We further recommend that you do not bypass the engagement session.  This is an important opportunity for you and the photographer to see how well you work together, and for you to get used to being in front of the camera. Learning to take cues during the engagement session ahead of time will help keep the process flowing smoothly on the wedding day.  In many instances, photographers will offer a complimentary engagement session if you book their wedding package with them, so take the opportunity during the engagement session to work with the photographer and enjoy the experience of incorporating other locations as backdrops that you may not have time to include on the wedding day.

The final aspect we want to address is the “big box” photography studio vs. the independent artist.  There is nothing wrong with contracting with a larger studio that sends multiple photographers out each weekend to various weddings.  You must keep in mind however that when you visit the studio and see their large gallery wraps on the wall, and the stunning album options, that the images they are showcasing are the best images from a smaller selection of their best photographers.  This does not necessarily mean that your photographer will be the one that captured any of the images on their studio wall, and you could very well end up with a newer photographer in training that has less experience without even knowing it. If you choose to go with a larger studio, make sure that you know in advance which photographer will be shooting your wedding, and request to see image samples from that photographer.  The other thing to keep in mind with the larger studio is that the photographer will likely drop off your files to someone else at the studio who will do the graphic design work, and different designers and photo editors have different styles.

We would actually recommend researching the independent wedding photographers in your area when searching for your wedding photographer.  Many independent photographers tend to be more invested in their work and the complete process of not only capturing all the important moments of your day, but also maintaining a consistent editing style for the particular images that will make up your wedding collection (album).  Don’t shy away from the independent artists simply because they may not be associated with a larger studio.  Often times these photographers will be able to offer all the same aspects of the larger studios (second shooter, photography assistant, albums and wall art).  Your independent photographer will approach your wedding day with a more vested interest and sense of personal creativity, and they also tend to go above and beyond for clients to ensure that they have captured all the necessary images, and to ensure the bridal couple has an array of beautiful and creative portraits to choose from.  However, be aware that because independent photographers to tend to manage the complete process from initial e-mails and phone contacts, to shooting the wedding, editing the images, and then providing you the final product, these photographers may charge more for their services and packages.  But if you find a really good photographer whose work you love, it could very well be worth every penny!

In your search of independent photographers, be sure to compare styles between photographers to see which photographer may match you best, and be open minded to photographers whose portfolios vary and have creative aspects such as incorporating landscapes and architecture as well as timeless and sophisticated portrait compositions.


Spotlight Bride

 
Spotlight Bride


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