Wedding planning is a stressful affair, and one of the heaviest pressures on brides-to-be is finding the best professional wedding photographer to capture the memories of their biggest day. To locate the right photographer, it’s essential to nail down a specific budget and wedding photography style.
Set a Wedding Planning Budget
Weddings are expensive, and hiring the right professional wedding photographer is a significant part of the budget. Wedding photographer prices vary depending on location, but in general a package covering wedding party portraits, the ceremony, and the reception costs between $1,000 and $3,000.
Identify the Desired Style of Wedding Photos
Before starting the search for a wedding photographer, begin by thinking about the style of wedding photos desired. Wedding photography used to be much more traditional than it is now. The bride and groom were conventionally posed side by side, smiling at the camera for every portrait.
But today’s wedding photographers have a lot more artistic leeway in how they compose their photos and pose their subjects. It’s imperative to find a professional wedding photographer who shares the bride and groom’s artistic vision, or the wedding photos are sure to disappoint.
To identify an ideal wedding style, consider preferences about:
- Use of props in wedding photos
- Candid/action shots
- Black and white versus color photos
- Digitally altered photos
- Serious poses
- Unconventional composition or posing
- Indoor versus outdoor photos
Just remember that the style of wedding photos should compliment the personalities of the bride and groom. Their wedding photos should reflect who they are, what they value, and how they define their relationship.
Finding Area Wedding Photographers
The best way to find a professional wedding photographer is by referral. If possible, obtain recommendations from recently married friends, independent online reviews, or local wedding planning conventions.
Most professionals specialize in a certain wedding photography technique. Some are partial to using black and white film, while others like digitally enhancing photos or using unconventional color arrangements or poses for dramatic effect.
Many photographers are currently embracing a more photojournalistic wedding style, which tells the story of the entire wedding day through pictures.
Evaluating Wedding Photography Galleries
The most effective way to get to know a photographer is to browse through samples of his or her work. Any good professional wedding photographer will have a fully functional website featuring a photo gallery.
Looking at samples of a professional photographer’s work will help brides and grooms decide on someone with promising vision, plus it will include pricing information.
Meeting with a Wedding Photographer
When meeting with a potential photographer, it’s tempting to jump in with questions right away. But it’s better to ask an open-ended question like “What’s your philosophy about wedding photography?” or “What has been your favorite wedding to photograph, and why?” Hearing what he has to say about his own style is usually more illuminating than his answers to more specific questions.
During the meeting evaluate not only a photographer’s professional style but also his or her personality. Finding a photographer who “clicks” is essential. Believe it or not, a positive relationship between the wedding party and the photographer results in better pictures.
Choosing a professional wedding photographer is no easy task. Long after the memories of the ceremony and reception have faded, the wedding photos will remain. Working within a wedding photographer budget, brides and grooms should identify their unique style and find a photographer who shares their vision.