Being a photographer myself I understand the difficulty that every bride goes through. There is large number of photographers everywhere! You go through the stages of looking at a large variety of websites, portfolios, and prices. You might have also heard about the horror stories of other brides regretting the photographer they chose. So who should you pick? Let me give you my top 8 tips in picking the photographer that is right for you :)
Tip #1 Do they have a website/portfolio
Every photographer's portfolio should be published for everyone to see. They should have a clean website that displays their work. A photographer that has a good website shows the effort they put into their career. If they don't have anything to show I would not recommend booking them. Also make sure they can show you full galleries from previous brides. They should have a good range of photos both indoor and outdoor. They should be able to show you candids, details, and environment shots too. Some photographers only display what they want you to see. It's best to know what specialties are so you know what you are getting.
Tip #2 DO NOT use a family member
Weddings can be expensive as we all know. Everyone wants to cut the costs down where they can and that's completely understandable. You might be thinking... oh they are just pictures. I can just have a family/friend to do it. Please don't!
After all is said and done, the pictures are the only thing you will have to look back on for memories. Family and friends are not professionals and don't put in the same effort and quality that would get from a professional. You have no idea how many brides I have spoken to that regret not hiring someone. Even if you have family/friends that are professional wedding photographers... odds are they won't be 100% committed to the job because they want to enjoy their time with you at your wedding. Just make sure you have a photographer that is completely sure of their job and is completely committed.
Tip #3 Do they show pricing/packages?
I'm not really sure why, but photographers like to hide their pricing on their websites a lot of the time. Personally this is a HUGE waste of time for both the photographer and their clients. The photographer should be completely transparent with their packages so that you know exactly what you are getting. Hidden prices present an opportunity for them to change their rates and charge you more. Also you will have to message multiple photographers about prices, negotiate, and set up multiple meetings. Save your time and look for photographers that display their prices from the get go.
Tip #4 Do they have a team?
I think this is one of the most important subjects. Lets say you found the most amazing photographer. You pay their deposit and get everything going. For some reason later down the road they cancel on you 2 months before because something came up. What are you going to do now with such little time left?
Every Photographer should have a backup plan in case they can't make it to your wedding for ANY reason. They should also have the option to provide a second photographer so you have two angles to work with. Having a photography team like JM Weddings helps to ensure that no matter what happens, you will still get professional pictures :)
Tip #5 Do they have a contract?
DO NOT BOOK ANYONE WITHOUT A CONTRACT! I cannot stress this enough. Sure they might have great prices, good work, and other things, but they must have a contract. If you do not have a contract to protect you there is an even greater chance that:
-They will take your money
-They wont show up
-They wont give you your images
-They won't guarantee you all the services they said they would
Tip #6 Do they have good reviews?
This is the best way to gain insight about your photographer before you even talk to them. What are other brides saying about them? Look for red flags that might concern you. However, don't take every review to heart. If they have 30 good reviews and one EXTREMELY bad one. Odds are someone is creating a false review. I've heard many stories of bridezillas trying to take down a whole business because a photographer only missed one moment. Make sure the reviews are legit!
Tip #7 Are they willing to meet you in person?
A photographer that is willing to travel out of their way to meet with you shows A LOT! You get to learn more about the photographer too. A lot of nonverbal communication is lost when you talk on the phone. They should be able to walk you through every step of their process and style. They should also be professional and give you comfort in their ability to capture what you want.
Tip #8 Are they a good fit for your wedding party?
Let's be honest. Your photographer is basically a part of your wedding party. They are with you every step of the day. So you should at the very least like them as a person right? Beyond being a great photographer they should be genuine, fun, and have a great personality. The best photography can come from the amazing charisma of the photographer. And of course, a boring photographer will get the opposite result. So make sure you enjoy their presence and that they will only make your day even better :)
I hope these tips will help you in choosing the best wedding photographer that is right for you! If you are interested in our services check out my teams website at jmweddingsllc.com. :)