If you are reading this post you are probably in the market for a wedding photographer. First off, congratulations on your pending nuptials, you are in the right place! Finding the perfect photographer for your wedding comes down to a lot of things. Maybe things that you didn’t have to focus on before you started planning your wedding. A wedding photographer is an investment for a couple and arguably the most impactful investment you will make for your wedding. Together with your photographer, you and your fiance will be creating lasting images which will become your first family heirlooms. It may be that this is the first time that you and your fiance have ever worked with a professional photographer. What should you even know before you hire a photographer to share one of the most important days of your life? Here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction as you start your search:
1. Wedding Style
Start your wedding photographer search by first trying to identify the vision you have for your wedding. To do this, think about the type of wedding you hope to have, low key and informal? Or are you looking for a blacktie affair with a six piece band? What is you and your fiance’s day to day style? Are you laid back and bohemian types? Or more formal and reserved? Will your parents or future inlaws want to have a million formal portraits with you and your extended family or do you and your fiance just want beautiful images documenting the day? What kind of venue do you think you want for your wedding? Will your reception be outside and during the day or in the evening, indoors and therefore need a lot of flash photography? What time of year will your wedding be? Will it be a cozy winter wonderland in the snow or a late spring blooming bash? Look for a photographer who’s portfolio matches what you envision for your wedding and your own personal style. If you want very posed, dramatic, glossy magazine looking images with contrasting colors and the photographers you are looking at use natural light and specialize in impromptu moments, chances are you are not a match. If a lot of your wedding will be indoors or outdoors make sure that your photographer has examples of work in a similar set up.
2. Personality of Wedding Photographer
Okay, so you’ve found a few photographers whose portfolios and approach match you and your fiance’s style, now what? The next thing to do is to reach out and set up an appointment to meet the photographers on your list. The only way to know if your personalities align is by having a chat. Ask questions about their process, timelines and what you can expect when working with them. Wedding photographers are also a wealth of information so they might help you to focus on details you might not have thought of. A face to face or Zoom meeting is an important step to get to know the person who will document one of the most important days of your life. If you prefer a professional who blends into the background then a person with an over the top personality might not be the right fit. Or if it’s a priority to have a connection with your photographer and you interview one who is more reserved than you would like maybe it’s not a good match. An even better next step, if it’s in your budget, would be to set up an engagement session. If you have the time and budget to do an engagement session you should not only to have great pictures of you as a couple but so that when your wedding arrives you will already be comfortable with your wedding photographer and know a little of what to expect from a professional photographer’s session.
3. Wedding Budget
Of course whether or not a photographer is within a couple’s budget is usually the first consideration. A photographer’s fee is a hefty part of a wedding budget and if the price of their starting package already exceeds what you have budgeted for a photographer, you may have to either rethink your budget or look for another photographer. It does sometimes make a difference to meet with a photographer and describe your needs, as not all prices posted on a website are necessarily set in stone. If your wedding is small, close to where your photographer lives or during an off-season or weekday they may give you a price break. You may want to also think about wedding albums and prints and take that price into consideration when putting together your budget. The other thing to consider is the length of time you will need a photographer for and how close your reception is to where you will exchange your vows. If you want first look images (when the bride and groom see each other for the first time) and formal portraits before the wedding or getting ready pictures. How large your wedding will be also depends on whether you will need one photographer or two and how many hours. An average time for a wedding photographer is 8 hours which typically covers getting ready, first look, formal portraits, ceremony and reception.
4. Wedding Photographer Packages
Aside from the photographer’s fee, the packages that wedding photographers offer is something else for couples to consider. There are many similarities in packages from photographer to photographer in which case if the fee is relatively the same, personality and style will ultimately be what helps make your decision (other than availability). But some photographers’ packages vary greatly. Do you already know that you only want digital images or would you prefer that the photographer take care of printing and designing your wedding album? Will you have access to all of your images or only a selection? Will you be given “printing rights” to your images? Some photographers hold printing rights so that you will have to print the images through them exclusively. Make sure that you understand what is being offered within the package fee and that is what you and your fiance are comfortable with.
5. Referrals from Past Clients
Another good way to get to know a photographer is through other couples or wedding vendors such as the venue of your reception, whether it be through a direct recommendation or a review. Maybe the photographer has already worked at the venue and you love the images that they took from a past wedding. Ask friends who recently have been married if they recommend their photographer. If during your search you find the images of a photographer whose work you like, take a look at the reviews from past clients that they have worked with. Take a look at the adjectives the reviewers use to describe their experience. Does their experience sound like what you would hope to have for your own?
Okay you’ve got it, you know what you want in a photographer, you understand your budget, your style, the personality you’d like to have on your wedding day, now what? If you find your style and budget match Stefano Secchia Photography, send us a message and set up an appointment with Stefano. We’d love to hear from you and look forward to learning more about your wedding.