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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Congratulations on the engagement! If you’re reading this I assume you are just starting your wedding planning and next up is arguably the most important decision – choosing a wedding photographer!

Most people have eaten out and have a general idea of what type of food they like, but most people have never hired a wedding photographer and do not know where to start! Hopefully this blog post will help make life a little easier and help clarify some common misconceptions.

Like food there are several different styles of wedding Photographers. And when it comes to being a wedding photographers there are little barriers to entry and one can be inundated with so many different websites it can be quite intimidating.

There are a bunch, but most common editing and stylistic choices for wedding photographers can be broken down into 3 types – bright and airy, dark and moody, and creative photojournalism.

Some things to consider on a scale of 1-5 :

Details
Moments
Formal Portraits
Creative Portraits
Glamour

Do I want to look glamorous 

While there are always portions of the day for photojournalism, many wedding photographers focus on authentic moments and true photojournalism in that they don’t pose moments or have contrived ideas. There are other photographers who will pose you throughout the day to get specific photos, going for more portraits 

For creative wedding photojournalists such as myself, we strive to capture a wedding day authentically but also in a more unique unexpected way.

Bright and airy photographers prefer romantic poses and gorgeous backgrounds. The website of this style is full Ofi bright sunlit images that help romanticize the relationship between the couple.

Dark and moody photographers prefer an edit choice that brings more attention to the connection between the two

No matter what style you prefer, the biggest suggestion I can give you is to look at a full gallery, and not just the hero images on IG or on a website. Anyone can make a half court shot in basketball, but the difference between a professional wedding photographer versus an amateur with a camera is consistency.

Unfortunately, I have personally seen and heard more horror stories than I care to think of couples disappointed with their photographer because the end result wasn’t what they expected.

When you view the full gallery, pay attention to how the images make you feel. Do they speak to you and give you an idea of the couple, the guests, and the wedding day? Do the images elicit an emotional response from you? Do they capture the emotions of the day well?

I always say that no matter how large and how long a wedding day is, there are beautiful moments to capture throughout. It is the photographer’s job to capture them, and hopefully capture them well!

If family formals are important are the groups well lit and composed? Are there dark shadows on the face or closed eyes in the photos?

Weddings take place in the day and night so make sure the images taken during the dark indoors are just as good as the bright outdoors. There are a lot of natural light photographers who much prefer natural / ambient light, but knowing how to use flash is just as important to wedding photography as knowing how to properly expose an image. Natural light is hands down the best light, but many evening situations require additional lighting where the venue just doesn’t cut it. Shooting only natural light is like a chef only knowing how to use a stove but not an oven :O

Viewing an entire gallery will allow you to gauge whether or not a photographer is fully capable of shooting in any situation. And if you’re throwing the most important party for yourself, you better hope the photographer you hire knows photography and is fully capable of producing in any situation, day Or night.

Many photographers prefer natural light, and I couldn’t agree more that it is the best light. Because of this many photographer portfolios only show natural light images on their portfolios. While they certainly are outstanding images, unfortunately your wedding day isn’t only sunshine and outdoors. This being said, make sure you view evening photos as well to gauge how your photographer can handle less than perfect situations. He of the best quotes I’ve read says, “Anyonencan take a photo in ideal conditions. But what happens when the light is bad – that’s why you hire a professional photographer.

Ultimately, choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions regards to wedding vendors. Although biased as a photographer myself, the photos of your wedding day are the one thing that will stand the test of timeline will be passed on from generation to generation. Generally, I would recommend choosing the venue first (they book up faster than any other vendor) and then the photog. Hopefully, you find a photographer and style that best fits how you want to remember your wedding day.

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