Planning a wedding is a big project. It’s so big that some people’s full-time job is to manage it for you. So when you’re planning your big day, how can you make things a little easier? Let’s start with wedding photographers. Choosing one can be overwhelming – there are a lot of them. So, how can you narrow things down and pick the one that’s right for you? Here are 3 tips for choosing a wedding photographer to help you out.
1. Look for someone with many years of experience in photography.
On the surface, it may seem like taking pictures is all about pushing a button. In reality, there are a lot of factors that impact the look of a shot. Weddings are particularly challenging projects because things move and change all day long.
For example, photos at the altar during the ceremony may require a lens that can work in very low light. But when the ceremony ends, the bride and groom move outside into the sunshine to be greeted by their guests. This means your photographer needs to be prepared for a totally different situation that may call for entirely different tools. Do they have the experience they need to see these things coming? Do they know how to work quickly and solve unexpected problems?
Your photographer needs to have a deep understanding of how their camera sees the world so that you can depend on them to capture the pictures you want. Much of this can only be learned through experience.
Okay, you’ve narrowed down your list by years spent on the job. But you still have a lot to choose from.
2. Look for proof that your photographer aims to improve their skills.
Experience in the industry is not enough. Have you ever known someone who reached a level of proficiency, only to then start coasting? They could do a job for years and never get any better at it. This happens in all industries, and photography is no exception. So how will you know if your photographer has grown complacent?
Look for credentials. Does your photographer attend continuing education classes? Are they a member of a professional organization, like the Professional Photographers of America (PPA)? Do they have certification behind their name? For example, are they a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP)? What books do they read? Do they teach other photographers? Do they practice new techniques during their slow times? How well do they understand advanced lighting and posing techniques? Have they attended professional conferences?
Some of these answers may be available on their website. Other answers may come from asking questions directly during your consultation. If you find evidence that a photographer is always seeking to better themselves, you know you’re onto something good. A great photographer will always be hungry for more. They will always see the potential for improvement, and strive to make it a reality. Don’t settle for anything less.
At this point, you might have it narrowed down quite nicely, so it’s time to make that final choice. This brings me to my third tip.
3. Look for someone you like.
This one is simple, but not always easy. Schedule a consultation with your potential photographer. Sit down together and have a conversation. Take plenty of time. Ask questions and tell them your story.
If a consultation isn’t enough to decide on, then schedule an engagement portrait session. Find out what the photographer is like while they’re behind the camera. Do they help you feel at ease? Is it fun to work with them?
Your wedding is obviously an important day. You need your photographer to suit you well because they will be hanging around you and your guests all day long. Make sure you feel comfortable around them – and it’s even better if you’re looking forward to seeing them again!
Trust your gut reaction.
If wedding photography is important to you, then choosing the right professional really matters. I would love to talk to you about your upcoming wedding to see if we might be a good fit. I’ve been a professional photographer for over 2 decades, I’m PPA certified, and I attend annual conferences. I’m often found reading about various lighting techniques, and you can find me in my garage working to perfect those techniques during my spare time. I’m confident that I can capture the memories you want, and create artwork you’ll be proud to display. Let’s talk!