If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve probably heard this a few or twenty times already: After the wedding, when the flowers are gone and the last favor has been stuffed into your Aunt Jennie's purse, what's left are the photos.
With that said, finding the right photographer is important. It’s can also be overwhelming. There are over 100,000 wedding photographers in the U.S.
But, some of the most common “selling points” for photographers can actually be things to watch out for in disguise. Here are a few things that should not influence your choice — and what is a good way to pick a winning photographer.
1. “Our studio shoots 250+ weddings a year!”
Let me tell you, experience is a must. If your putting the job of documenting one of the most important day's they have to be experienced. You do not want a photographer shooting your wedding for practice. But remember, busier is not always better. If a company shoots 250+ weddings in a year, they’re probably hiring freelance photographers to fill their dates. While it's not an automatic deal breaker, you should get a feel for how the studio handle's their workload. Are they passionate or jaded? Are you just another bride in the long list of clients they service. If they’re hiring an associate, is it a talented colleague or just a random freelancer? As popular as this business model is, it's also the riskiest. You only get to have your wedding once and a wedding is not the type of service which should be handled in bulk. Your most likely not going to get the same service or experience on your wedding day as hiring a dedicated full time professional.
2. “Prices too good too pass up”
A friend of mine planned her wedding on a shoestring budget. She wore a $300 wedding gown in order to afford her first-choice photographer. The reasoning? The right photographer will make a less expensive dress look breathtaking. The wrong photographer will make a Vera Wang dress look tacky. Ask any friend who’s been burned. The price that was too good to pass up is worthless, if you hate your pictures. If a reputable photographer is running a discount (like 10 percent off for Friday weddings), then, jump on it! But don’t let a deep discount be a deciding factor. Professional wedding photographers invest in high-end gear and professional-grade printing. Think about this before you cut corners, where are they cutting corners. Canon and Nikon's flagship camera's cost upwards of 5000 each. Chances are anyone presenting an offer that looks too good to pass up is going to come back later and haunt you.
3. “Keep it in the family!”
You might have a sister or niece who just graduated from a photography program, or a cousin who does landscape photography or a friend who shoot families and portraits. They are offering their services for free. It might seem like a great idea, but you risk ruining that relationship if they screw up. Weddings are a lot of work with a lot of variables — so many that every wedding presents a new set of challenges for a professional photographer. Just because your friend takes beautiful photos outside, it doesn’t mean they knows how to light a reception venue. What do you do, if you don’t love the photos? I've seen that after a wedding, bride's tend to fall into two categories. They either love or hate their pictures. What if your situation turns into the later? You might hate your niece or cousin for a year after that. Bottom line: When you’re choosing a wedding photographer, hire a professional.
Remember, your photographer will probably spend more time by your side on your wedding day than your own mom — or even your newly betrothed. You've spent months, even years planning your wedding celebration. Don't leave one of the most important roles to anyone less than a full time professional. Remember this, inexperienced wedding photographers shoot weddings as events, and experienced one's understand that shooting a wedding means bringing the best out in people and shoot moment's and stories. No matter how much you love someone’s work, make sure your personalities click before you invite them along for one of the most important days of your life.