How to pick a wedding photographer

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By Lao K Photography

Choosing your wedding photographer is arguably the most important decision you make about your wedding.  I would even go as far as arguing that it is the only investment you pay for on your wedding day (apart from rings). As a couple you place incredible trust in him/her. You are giving them the job of capturing one of the biggest, happiest memories of your life. Documenting it in the way that brings back all of highlights of your day. All the details you spent months slaving over, the napkins you painstackingly matched and the flower girl sash you ended up importing from the middle of nowhere…..

Your photographs are the one thing you take away from from wedding day, they are celebrated from generation to generation. You don’t want someone good, you want someone amazing! So here are my tips for picking the photographer of your dreams!

Availability: 

  1.  Do they have your date available and if yes how long in advance do I need to book to secure my date?
  2.  How many hours do they normally photograph for?  Do the math and calculate the hours you need to be around for, and make sure they are there for all your big moments!

Relationship:

  1. An exclusive photographer usually asks to meet/ Skype the couple before booking. Don’t be offended if they do. It is their way of ensuring their chemistry and the style of the couple match up. A good photographers reputation is everything to them. They will want to exceed your expectations. They also understand the need to build a great relationship. It is the only way you make great art. No relationship? No way you will feel comfortable in front of them when it counts!
  2. Do you both love the photographer, do you get along with them?
  3. Is the photographer concernced about your needs or just eager to please? When you speak to the photographer ensure you determine whether they are listening to you. Not just ticking boxes towards another paycheque. If they don’t listen to what you want, prepare to be confused when  you see pictures.
  4. Are they easy to reach? I dare you to test your photographer, do they respond to messages quickly in the enquiry stage? If not forget it. They will be difficult to get a hold of before the wedding too. If it barks like a dog, it probably is. You get one wedding, not worth any risk.

Logistics & Timing:

  1. Are travel costs included in their price?
  2. Will they be staying the night before where you are staying? If so, will they expect you to pay or is that included in the price. I would suggest, if you are set on a photographer, make sure they do. Bridal mornings are often very early. Transport & traffic are historical enemies.
  3. How long after the wedding will I get my photographs? Some photographers take longer than others, so do ask to avoid an unexpected wait. I received my wedding photographs 3 days after our wedding. I’ve heard of some photographers taking up to 3 months to deliver. hmm…
  4. What is their back up plan if the worst happens. Do they have liability insurance? That way your covered in case little sally runs who barely got invited straight into the Canon.
  5. Will they be dressed appropriately? Most good photographers are as they should fit in! No point insisting on a black tie dress code with two people in t-shirts and jeans racing in between the pews.
  6. Some photographers shoot for a specific time period. Is there an extra charge for additional stay if they notice its needed or the day runs late. Ensure you ask to avoid a hefty additional charges.

The Package: 

  1. In what format will your photographs be delivered?
  2. If digital, are you free to use your photographs as wish? Who does the license belong to, them, you or joint? Yes there are licences for photographs!
  3. Is a printed album included in the charge or is it an additional charge?

Retouching:

  1. Do they charge extra for retouching(smoothing over) photographs?
  2. Do you want retouch at all? If not inform them.

 

Costing:

  1. How much is their deposit?
  2. When does it need to be paid by?
  3. Ask if there any any extra costs you need to know about.

Diagnose their photography style:

Why is this important? Pick a photographer who shoots your style of wedding and photography best.  Photographers will be annoyed with me because of course they want to do a variety of weddings. But let’s be honest, I’m not about to let you be an experiment on your wedding day. There are many photographers that are chameleons however, and if they are you will see them shoot all of the below styles. They are about as rare as a unicorn. If you find one, kudos!

Classic Wedding Photographer: A photographer who wants to capture the day simply. Minimal photoshopping. Posed shots. Will make use of the canvas you have given him. This photographer is great for a couple who aren’t too particular about the topic. Who just wants a few pictures to frame. Beware of this photographer if you are having a scaled back wedding or a beautifully minimalist wedding, but don’t want it to come across in pictures as simple. The more simple and let’s be honest, budget friendly your wedding is the better the photographer you will need. A different kind of photographer will draw out the beauty of simplicity better and the emotional details that make it extraordinary.

Contemporary/ Modern Wedding Photographer: They are all about heavy contrast, deep colours and contrast. Lovers of detail shots and candid moments.Expect unusual angles and photographs that symbolise greater meaning. Great for capturing opulence, weddings with vibrant culture and city weddings.

Whimsical Vintage Inspired Photography: This is the hardest to describe as it is a relatively new style. This photographer focuses on artistic and fanciful shots with the hint of an older time. This is a new style of photography made popular in the last year or so. Images are soft, have heaps of tone, emphasise pretty details, styled compositions and loving moments.

Documentary/ Journalistic Style Photography: This wedding album will view like a story, this photographer will not miss a moment. That will be their priority. This photographer is a little bit of a chameleon and can adjust the tone of the photograph for the moments sake. Your wedding style will hugely influence him/her. Candid shots will lead the way, they will rarely shoot a posed photograph unless asked to. Expect creative spins on classic ring shots, getting ready photographs and family captures.

Hope this helps!!

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