5 tips on how to choose the right wedding photographer

Black Avenue Productions share their five simple tips on how to choose a photographer that’s right for you.

You might think choosing a photographer for your wedding day is pretty straightforward.
I mean, it’s just pointing and clicking right? How hard can it be?
Everyone is a photographer these days… And that’s kind of the problem.

It’s no secret that the photography sector has evolved at such a rate in recent years that what used to be hard-to-access high quality photography is now more accessible to more people than ever before.
New user-friendly equipment, editing software and how-to guides online mean that today,
everyone claims to be a pro, everyone owns a nice SLR camera and everyone brags about their photography skills.

Showing-off your latest photos from your holidays has become the new vanity competition amongst friends.
Today we strive more than ever before to make our holiday, wedding or social pics look like we have a professional photographer permanently attached to us.

So when it comes to your wedding day, what should you be looking for in a photographer?
What is there to consider other then just pointing and clicking?
We feel that if good quality wedding photos mean a lot to you, then there is actually a lot to consider.
When there is a lot at stake, personal preferences and many variables and things that can go wrong,
there is always a lot to consider.
Here are five simple tips to get you started…

  1. Be an early bird – start researching early:

Why add to the stress of planning a wedding and leave things to the last minute?
Choosing a wedding photographer can be something you start really early, casually looking online,
speaking to friends and family and researching online are all things you can start early without needing to worry about prices and time frames straight away.

Your first priority is to make a decision on what kind of photos you want.
Styles, posing ideas, unique shots, locations, etc…
This is all up to you, not the photographer.
The simplest options is to jump online and look at what others have done and start making a list of what styles interest you most.
As a soon-to-be bride, you’re probably doing this already for many aspects of your wedding.
Put those internet-surfing skills to good use and decide early on what it is YOU want out of your wedding photos.

  1. Know what you want – decide what style of photography is going to suit your wedding:

There’s more to photos then most people think.
Especially when it comes to deciding styles, location ideas and those personal ‘must-have’ shots that you want.
Most wedding photography styles include:

  • Traditional/Classic : a portrait or still photo where couple are posed for a photo without any movement,
    looking straight into the camera and smile – say cheese.
    Pros: Predictable, you can spend time on posing and make sure you look the best, best to use it during bridal portrait session.
    Cons: Could be un-natural and could look fake if couples are camera shy
  • Photojournalism / Candid – story telling, documentary photos of the wedding as happened.
    (With no involvement, direction or control from the photographer).
    The photographer captures a moment as it happened without planning it. Usually with natural light.
    Pros: Natural, raw emotions, realistic, low stress, real memories.
    Cons: Un-predictable, you may not look the best in every photo.
Black Avenue Productions behind the scene Melbourne graffiti location
Black Avenue Productions behind the scene

Do some research, look at other other people’s photos, and make a list of the ideas you really like.
This way you are calling the shots and, whilst you should be open to the photographer also having a few cool ideas of their own, you own the overall approach to what the photos should look like.

Don’t be afraid to save a few ideas you see online to show photographers and use this to explain your ideas and preferences.
Once you have an idea on styles, locations, budgets and must-haves, etc…
You’re ready to search for a photographer that will suit your needs.

  1. Expand your search – don’t just settle on friends and family:

Using friends that have some photography skills can sometimes work out well but,
there’s no harm in considering all your options.
We’ve heard of horror stories of friendships breaking-up over disagreements in how photos turned out,
so consider the implications before saying ‘yes’ to a friendly offer that seems attractive because it’s cheaper.

Remember: the internet is your friend. It’s true!

The focus of your search should be on prices and styles but also on a photographer’s online presence and overall capabilities.
Checkout their website, blog and social media as well as their portfolio.
Read online reviews, testimonials and checkout what from their portfolio really speaks to you and what you’re specifically looking for.

Create a short list.
Not just a list of names, but also include what specific questions you may want to ask one or all of the photographers on your short list.
This will aid you in the next step.

  1. Prepare for short listing – what to say when interviewing photographers:

When it comes to interviewing photographers we personally prefer face-to-face meetings in person but,
this is not always possible, so do what is convenient for you.
Just ensure it’s you interviewing them and not the other way around.

If you don’t connect with a photographer or feel they are more interested in selling you a service then learning about who YOU are, then don’t be afraid to make the call and say ‘no thanks’.

The answers to some of your questions may be obvious from looking at their website, but feel free to ask them again anyway.

‘Tell me about how you got into photography’ may get you a really inspiring answer that speaks to you personally…
or, it may get you an unimpressive marketing reply that bores you to death.

The aim is not to get them to list their experience in detail, but to find out what makes them tick,
what kind of personality they have and if you feel you could work with them for the outcome you want.

Ask about their…

  • Style/approach (how personable is the photographer?)
  • Experience, qualifications and equipment
  • Number of assistants/staff
  • Plans for the day, time frames, event brief
  • Discuss any special requests or unique opportunities, etc.
  • Prices and packages
  • Postproduction – time frames, editing styles, do they colour correct
  • Method for receiving finished photos/products

Some people prefer to discuss prices and packages on the phone or by email and then meet in person for the nitty gritty details, which is often a good idea.
Either way, making the final choice, we believe, is based on more then just what’s the best value from your short list.

  1. Go with your gut – choose what feels right for you:

Experience and ‘best value’ may count for a lot, but so does personality and approach.
Just because a photographer is experienced doesn’t mean your going to get along with them positively.
Just because their photo packages are good value, doesn’t mean their post-production skills and experience is the level of quality or style you’re looking for. Remember to consider all aspects.

You need to consider everything.
Understand what you’re willing to compromise on (if you have to) and what is a must-have.

In the end, we say, go with you’re gut and nine times out of ten, you won’t be disappointed.

2 thoughts on “5 tips on how to choose the right wedding photographer”

  • Thank you for your insight into choosing the right wedding photographer. I especially appreciate your comments about ensuring you are interviewing them; they aren’t interviewing you. Your article has greatly helped me prepare for future discussions with wedding photographers.

  • I like your point about not to get settle on friends and family. Doing your own research on finding best photographer maybe lengthy process but you’ll know what type of photographers are available.
    Your article is really helpful, thanks for sharing this!

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