How to Choose a Wedding Photographer? 5 steps to find a perfect fit for you!
Choosing a skilled and reliable photographer is essential to ensure that you have beautiful, high-quality images to look back when years pass and you want to relive that special day that happened so fast (oh, believe me, it will happen faster than you can imagine!).
A good photographer will be able to capture the emotions, details, and candid moments of your wedding in a way that reflects your personal style and vision. In the end, everyone is different so are you. We all have different visual tastes and what is beautiful for one person is not for another. That is why it is so important to choose right.
A good wedding photographer will also be able to handle any unexpected challenges that may arise on the wedding day, such as weather or scheduling changes (we live these situations very often and know how to act when they happen).
1. Determine which style of wedding photography you like
There are several different styles of wedding photography to differentiate, and it's important to consider which one will best suit your personal taste and needs. Here are a few of the most common styles:
- Photojournalistic: Photojournalistic wedding photography focuses on capturing candid, spontaneous moments as they happen. This style is more natural and less posed, with the photographer working in the background to document the events of the day. It is perfect if you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera and want to focus on the day.
- Traditional: Traditional wedding photography involves posed, formal shots of the wedding party, family, and other key moments. These photographs are typically taken with the photographer directing the subjects and often include traditional wedding poses.
- Artistic: Artistic wedding photography combines elements of traditional and photojournalistic styles, with the photographer using creative compositions and techniques to create visually striking images.
When deciding on a style, it's essential to consider your personal preferences and the overall tone and feel you want for your wedding photographs. It can also be helpful to look at the portfolios of different photographers to get a sense of their style and see what types of images they are most skilled at capturing.
In my opinion, a good photographer is able to feel the couple's needs and create a personalized mix based on the character of the couple. I have met plenty of couples telling me they hate posing for pictures just to realize at their wedding that they actually enjoy it when led by me in a subtle way. Nevertheless, if the photographer's portfolio is highly traditional don't expect him to nail artistic pictures, that's why it is important to go through all the galleries you can on the photographer's website.
2. Set a budget
You may like the style of Jose Villa but maybe his 10.000€ per wedding is out of your price range. That's why setting a budget for wedding photography is important to ensure that you have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on this aspect of your wedding. The prices may vary depending on the experience and reputation of the photographer and the type of coverage you choose but the general rule of thumb is to dedicate about 10-15% of your wedding budget to a photographer. Think about one thing: the only thing you have got left after months of planning your wedding are going to be your memories and wedding pictures. Spending that amount of money on a photographer you have to be sure you have chosen well!
When setting your budget, it's also important to consider any additional costs that may be involved, such as travel expenses for the photographer, album design, and printing fees or extras such as drones or a second photographer. Communicating your budget to your photographer can also help them tailor their package options to meet your needs and budget constraints.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you to ensure that you get the best value for your money and beautiful, memorable images of your special day that you will always love to come back to.
Want some extra tips straight from the wedding photographer?
Please remember the majority of wedding photographers are freelancers, not big companies, and you can negotiate the prices in some situations.
- Book off-season: Wedding photography prices tend to be lower during the off-peak season, which is typically considered to be November to March (colder months in the northern hemisphere basically). You can get some great offers if you are getting married off-season (it is more difficult for us to book winter months so we are way more flexible)
- Compare the styles of the photographers who give you quotes: look closely at the differences in the portfolios of the budget photographers and the premium photographers to understand the differences in the level of their work.
- Consider shorter coverage: it is definitely more popular in other countries than in Spain but you may want only a ceremony and cocktail coverage and skip the preparations and the party.
- Opt for digital images: Many photographers offer both digital images and prints as part of their packages. Opting for digital images only can save you money on printing costs.
- Negotiate package add-ons: If there are specific items or services that you don't need, such as an engagement photo shoot or album, consider negotiating to have them removed from the package to save money.
- Ask about discounts: Don't be afraid to ask your photographer if they offer any discounts for booking early, paying in full, or other factors. Many photographers are willing to offer discounts to secure a booking.
3. Consider the photographer's personality
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a wedding photographer is whether you feel comfortable and can easily communicate with them. Remember that your photographer will be present for many intimate and emotional moments on your wedding day, and you want to be sure that you feel comfortable and at ease around him at all times!
A good photographer will make you feel relaxed and confident in front of the camera and will be able to guide you in a natural and unobtrusive way. He will also be able to put you at ease during any pre-wedding photo sessions, such as engagement shoots. Sometimes it makes a difference between being nervous or having great fun at your wedding.
Effective communication is also crucial in ensuring that your photographer understands your vision and style, and is able to capture the types of images you want. Be sure to discuss your specific needs and preferences with your photographer, and make sure that you feel heard and understood.
This is the main reason why I do not recommend wedding photography companies. You may pay less but you will not get to know a photographer since you will be talking to the administration about all the details. Have in mind your photographer is the person who is going to be next to you during the whole wedding! You do not want to risk having someone you feel uncomfortable with.
Have a coffee or a video call with your wedding photographer
Meeting with potential photographers in person is a great way to get a sense of their personality and approach, and to determine whether you feel comfortable and compatible with them. In-person meetings can also provide an opportunity to ask questions, discuss your specific needs and preferences, and review their portfolios.
Pay attention to how you feel around the photographer and how well you connect with them. Do you feel comfortable and at ease in his presence? Trust your intuition with this one.
Overall, the importance of finding a photographer who you feel comfortable with and can easily communicate with cannot be overstated. By taking the time to get to know your photographer and establish a good working relationship, you can ensure that your wedding photographs turn out beautifully and reflect your personal style and vision.
4. Read the reviews
Reading reviews and asking for references from previous clients can be extremely valuable in helping you choose a wedding photographer. Reviews and references can provide insight into a photographer's level of professionalism, quality of work, and overall client satisfaction.
But I do not mean the reviews from a photographer's website only. Look for sources the photographer cannot control such as:
- Google reviews: Reading these reviews can give you a sense of what other couples have experienced with the photographer. If you cannot find any reviews besides the photographer's website, that might be suspicious!
- Social media: Many photographers have an active presence on social media, where they may post photos from past weddings. Just check who they tagged in the post, very often it is a couple who hired him so sending a DM is not a bad idea!
- Personal references: If you know anyone who has recently gotten married, ask them for recommendations and references for their photographer. Personal recommendations can be especially valuable as they come from people you know and trust.
By taking the time to do your research, you can feel more confident in your decision and choose a photographer who will help create beautiful, lasting memories of your special day.
5. Review the contract:
As it is important to thoroughly review any contract before signing, it also is in this case. Ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of your agreement. A contract is a legally binding document and it is essential to read and understand it carefully before committing to the photographer's services.
Here are a few key things to look for when reviewing a wedding photographer's contract:
- Coverage: The contract should specify the length of coverage and the specific events that the photographer will be present for. Be sure to check that the contract covers the entire duration of your wedding (if this is what you agreed on) and all of the events you want to be photographed.
- Package details: The contract should clearly outline what is included in the package you have chosen, such as the number of images, prints, and albums. Be sure to check that the package meets your needs and that you understand what is and is not included.
- Payment terms: The contract should specify the payment schedule and any deposits or fees required. Usually, 30% of the total sum is the reservation fee. Be sure to understand when payments are due and what happens if you need to cancel or reschedule. Also, it might be good to mention what happens in case of pandemics or natural disasters. We all lived through 2020 so you know what I mean.
- Copyright and usage: The contract should specify who owns the rights to the images and how they can be used. Be sure to understand your rights to the images and any restrictions on their use.
Overall, it is essential to thoroughly review the contract before signing with a wedding photographer to ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of your agreement. By taking the time to review the contract carefully, you can protect your rights and ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is and is not included in your photographer's services.
In conclusion, choosing a wedding photographer is a very important decision that requires careful consideration and research. There are several factors to consider, including style, budget, personality, and reviews. By taking the time to do your research and carefully review your options, you can find a photographer who will capture beautiful, high-quality images of your special day that reflect your personal style and vision. Be sure to communicate your needs and preferences clearly and review the contract thoroughly before signing to ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable experience with your photographer.
If you consider me to be your wedding photographer you can contact me here.