I look at HUNDREDS of wedding images per day ... some that make me drool and some that make me ... well, let's just say they aren't going to be seen on Style Unveiled anytime soon... So it got me thinking that I should pass on some of my wisdom to the SU readers ... because I honestly believe that the 2nd most important decision you make for your wedding day is which wedding photographer you choose. And if it wasn't obvious, the 1st is the person you choose to marry ;) So here are some questions you should be asking YOURSELF before you start meeting with photographers ... these are all things that can be done online from the comfort of your own home :)
10 Questions to Ask YOURSELF Before you Hire a Wedding Photographer
What feeling do you get when you first go into their website and blog? Do you feel comfortable? Does their branding appeal to you? Do you get a sense that they 'know what they are doing' so to speak? It may sound crazy, but if you get an 'iffy' feeling when you first go into their website, this means something! So ask yourself what that feeling is ... is it the first image you see? Is it turning you off? Typically a photographer will choose their strongest image to represent them on their website or blog ... and if you don't like that image, you probably won't mesh well with that type of photographer.
Does it look like the photographer has been published in wedding magazines and on wedding blogs? If you are a bride who has been LOVING to browse wedding blogs and flip through wedding magazines, you are probably *hoping* your wedding will be featured, too! It's an honor to have your wedding published, but editors are extremely picky about what they choose ... especially when it comes to photography. If you are looking at a wedding photographer's website you'll want to look to see if they have a press or published page ... and then look and see where they have been published before. If they haven't been published, or it doesn't look like they have, be sure and ask them if they have and if they can share those links or magazine articles with you. If they say they haven't been published, be sure and ask them why.
Does it seem that the photographer you are looking at online takes photos of a very specific wedding type? There are many niche photographers out there. Some specialize in certain venues (such as estates, vineyards, ballrooms, etc) while others like to specialize on a certain style (rustic, elegant, etc). These photographers want to brand themselves for these types of weddings, which is a GOOD thing!!! Just make sure if you are looking at a niche photographer, that their specialty or passion matches your own. For instance, you wouldn't hire a photographer who is known best for their glowy and romantic outdoor images to photograph your candle lit, indoor ballroom wedding ;)
Do you see 'detail only' shots as well as 'bride and groom' portraits? It's important that the photographer you choose takes detail shots of your wedding. Why? It goes back to #2 ... getting your wedding published. If your photographer isn't excited about snapping detail shots or doesn't take many detail photos of your wedding, getting it published will be quite a challenge. Plus, you worked so hard to get those details exactly how you wanted them ... you'll want memories and keepsakes of them! ** please note, if you are concerned that you aren't seeing many detail shots on the website or blog of the photographer you are interested in, it doesn't mean they don't take them ... just email them and ask them to send you some examples of how they shoot details!
Do they make women look beautiful? I don't know about you, but on my wedding day it took a whole team to get me looking my very best and I want my wedding photos to reflect that. Your photographer should not only make you look beautiful, but should be experienced in what angles to direct the camera from to show you in your best light. As you are looking through the website pages of the photographer you are considering, take that into account.
How long have they been photographing weddings? Keep in mind that a wedding photographer is much different than a portrait, landscape, or fashion photographer ... and while it's great if they have a background in fashion or portraits, having experience as a wedding photographer is KEY! A wedding is a day with many ups, downs, and surprises. You want to make sure your photographer is adept in handling anything thrown their way. A good photographer will have an 'about us' page that shares that type of information ... find it, and read it carefully!
What do their albums look like? Your wedding album is going to quickly become your most treasured item after the wedding. You'll bring it to lunch with your friends, dinners with your family, and I'm sure your co-workers will take a peek as well. This album should be BEAUTIFUL and the layout of the photos should be given a lot of thought by the team designing it. If you aren't impressed by the albums you are shown, you won't be impressed by yours either. If the photographer you are considering doesn't share their album design online, you can typically email them for a few examples of their work. Are you considering hiring a photographer that doesn't offer their own albums? This is a red flag in my opinion and you should probably consider the reasons as to why they don't and talk to them about it to see if you are comfortable moving forward.
Do they offer engagement photo sessions? An engagement photo session is incredibly important because it gives you an opportunity to practice for the big show. Sure, you'll get amazing photos for your wall and for gifts to family members, but above all else you will become comfortable in front of the camera together and your photographer will learn all about your little camera quirks (yes, even you have them) and what brings out your natural smile.
What do you get when you Google them online? Don't be afraid to Google or use another search engine to find out a bit more... For instance, if I Google 'Two Birds Photography' on Google and click through to page 3, I will find the Style Unveiled tag for ALL of their features on this site! This would give a bride HUGE insight to their work, and plenty of great reviews of clients they have worked with. You will also find Yelp pages by Googling them and this will give the good and sometimes the not so good...
While you are looking at the images of the brides and grooms on their website and blog, does it bring out emotion in you? This is important. If you don't feel a connection with the people in the images, that means something ... and that something isn't good. Your wedding day is an emotional day and you want to be sure that the photographer you choose will be able to capture that emotion digitally or on film. If the images on their website and blog don't show emotion, why would your wedding photographs be any different?
Photographer: Alante Photography
Photographer: Concept Photography
Photographer: Two Birds Photography
Photographer: Sebastian Ho Photography
Photographer: Jose Villa