Over the years, I’ve attended many weddings, met a lot of people, visited many locations. I figure I’m in a good position to offer advice on hiring a wedding photographer but I won’t try to come off too critical!
Are you and your photographer a good personality match?
You’re going to spend 6-10 hours with this person on the day of your wedding. Just like any working relationship, you need to get along. If you have similar interests, humor, and visual sense, this goes a long way. Wedding photography is a difference service from coordinating or catering in that you will have to continue working with your photographer after the big day as we work on editing the photos and designing albums.
A lot of my clients include personal touches in their decor or dresses. Does your photographer favor a more traditional approach or does he or she catch onto the subtle personal stories?
Wedding photography is a creative service, but it is also a relationship where we both have to make an effort. Without being too whiny, I’ll present to you two potential situations that can sour the mood of a wedding day.
If a couple or their coordinator wants to manage a photographer the entire wedding day, they risk curbing the photographer’s freedom and desire to be creative. While you can talk about what types of photos you enjoy during your hiring phase, if you can’t find yourself trusting them to do what they specialize in, you’re bound to hit more bumps on the road.
Do they get you?
I let my clients know I have a no pressure approach. We’re all different and so are our needs. What may be great for one couple is not for another. A great example is an engagement session. You might want one to get over any camera shyness or to get to know your photographer better (while also doing a hair and makeup trial).
Even though I offer this service, I find that a lot of my clients pass on this, however, or they go for something different. Getting to know you and your style will help me keep on delivering the best service and photos.
Some companies specialize in volume sales and delivering similar locations/photos/looks to the majority. If this appeals to you, I strongly recommend you contact them instead.
Is their work consistent?
Photography is a craft that isn’t immune to trends (Instagram, anyone?). As artists, we go through growing phases and try new things. However, an important day without do-overs isn’t a lab for blatant experimentation.
I personally try to strike a balance between risk and reward. Ability to take a few risks comes from the experience of dozens of weddings a year. We get the rhythm down of what to expect, where the emotions are, when we have more free time to try things out. Sometimes you sense the right opportunity and you try something daring and you reap the rewards! Because it ties in with the rest of my experience, it usually matches the rest of my work and feels like an extension of my creative self.
Speak or meet with more vendors!
You’ll get a better understanding of what options are available out there in terms of style and approach. Two photographers with similar aesthetics could turn out to do things very differently. Also, you’re less likely to deal with the “grass is greener on the other side” feeling if you know you’ve done your duty in shopping around.