Call me biased, but facts are facts: The choice you make when you book your wedding photographer will make or break your wedding’s success. That is, of course, once you figure out who’s joining you on that trip down the aisle.
Sure, it’s important to choose the right venue, flowers, food, and music. If you’re clever, a talented and organized wedding planner will keep everything running smoothly so you can focus on enjoying your family and guests, instead of herding cats. But your photographer will be a huge part of your big day, and the images and products he produces will last far longer than your gorgeous wedding cake, bridal bouquets and the boxed leftovers from the catered buffet.
I’ve interviewed several Wilmington wedding planners on my local wedding vendors page.
With that in mind, here are a few things to consider while you’re bookmarking online portfolios and asking your friends for referrals.
When you’re interviewing your short list of wedding photographers, you obviously want to see examples of entire weddings and finished custom prints and albums to make sure they’re technically sound and consistent. You’ll want to make sure his packages and a la carte services match your budget, and that she can provide glowing references.
You might be so excited that your top choice is available on your date that you’re prepared to sign her contract and set down a deposit before you’ve had a chance to take a deep breath and ask, ”Is this someone with whom I’m comfortable? Will my bridesmaids be cool with him in the getting ready room?”
Think about it: Your photographer is going to be spending a lot of time with you, and it’s important that you “click”. You don’t want to feel awkward or uncomfortable during emotional photo opportunities should you opt for a “first look” before the ceremony or a few private moments during the transition between the vows and the reception. You should think of your photographer as a benevolent, unobtrusive acquaintance, not a domineering presence…or worse.
After all, there’s enough talk about awkward moments in hotel rooms these days. You don’t need that feeling when you’re getting into your bridal gown.
Are you or your partner camera-shy? Then a rapport is even more essential. Your photographer should feel like an ally, not an antagonist.
When your wedding photographer is professional and personable, you’ll be more relaxed and creative when he’s setting up posed portraits, and her attitude and approach can turn tedious group photos into an efficient, lighthearted highlight of the day.
Some wedding couples, when delegating their wedding planning duties, let parents, friends or their wedding consultant help book their photographer based on availability and online portfolios. I insist on meeting my brides and grooms because I know how important it is that they feel comfortable and confident not only in my work but in how well we get along. And I make it clear that regardless of who foots the bill, the bride and groom are my clients.
You’re not just looking for technical skill when you’re looking for a photographer. You want someone who understands the tone and style you’re trying to convey on your wedding day. You want someone with a solid portfolio including night shots if yours is a night wedding, action shots if there’s going to be a lot of dancing, and the talent and skills to capture unexpected moments that define photojournalism-style candids.
Is your venue an aesthetically important part of your day? Your wedding photographer’s portfolio should reflect his technical ability to set up dramatic remote lighting to capture architectural details, or landscape features and custom decor.
Do you want your final images to reflect a particular mood? Your photographer’s in-camera and post-production abilities can tailor color, tone, and lighting to match the look you’re after. His online portfolio might have caught your eye with a few images, but always be sure to see slideshows, albums or proof books from entire weddings to make sure he can consistently capture the style you’re after.
Custom print and album offerings
I always encourage my clients to include prints and albums in their wedding budget, rather than wait until after the wedding to save up for aftermarket photography products. You’ll be busy getting on with your new lives together, and as much as you know you want those prints and albums, you’ll have other expenses to consider once the wedding is over.
When you commit to purchasing your custom photography products from the outset, you’re not likely to put off the important step of selecting custom wall prints and albums. My digital files are remastered to match the profiles put forth by the best professional labs and album companies, so while you might save money with a “shoot n’ scoot” photographer who surrenders digital files right off the bat, your prints will always look the best when you purchase them through me.
So it’s important to find out that your prospective wedding photographer has a dedicated post-production studio, established relationships with their own quality vendors, and that they can provide samples for you to see in person before you sign the contract. Your wedding images will look their best when I can supervise their creation every step of the way.
Capture the whirlwind
Your wedding day’s going to be hectic. You might not have a chance to sit down and really enjoy that expensive catered dinner, much less remember what it tastes like years down the road. You’ll have plenty of snapshots to prove that yes, you really DID experience the day, and Cousin Josh really DID fall into the koi pond, but your professional photographer will tell the story of the day, capturing colors, details, key moments and subtleties that you and six dozen smartphones just won’t retain.
My goal is to work with my clients to tell their story in the artistic way they want to remember it. I preserve those memories in tangible, keepsake form through custom archival wall prints, albums, and digital slideshows you can enjoy and share every day, in their best light.
Your wedding is an investment of money, time, and a lifetime of expectations. You’re looking forward to celebrating with friends and family who will never be in the same place together again, and you’ll experience a tumult of emotions that will blur your own recollections of the day. Be sure you weigh your options carefully when you select your wedding photographer and package offerings.
I’ve put together a spectacular guide for brides and grooms looking for their perfect wedding photographer. You can get it for free right here.