Everything you need to know about how to choose the best wedding photographer for your wedding.
Okay, so you have booked your date and your dream venue, now you’re trying to decide on your wedding photographer but this is proving harder than you had imagined right?. No worries, I’m here to help you!.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen to elope to the Cliffs of Moher, if you’re having a destination wedding in Italy, a small intimate ceremony or a big festive wedding with all your friends and family. One thing is for sure it is definitely a day that you want to have immortalized. The best way to do that is with amazing wedding photography. As much as I want top tell you that a wedding is just like in the movies. Where everything is perfect and everyone knows exactly what to do and loves the camera. The truth is that it’s a bit more complex than that. I have come to the conclusion that weddings are the ultimate perfect chaos, more often than not people are uncomfortable in front of the camera and look very awkward and stiff even though they’re having a ball.
On top of all the wedding chaos the worst thing is to have a lousy wedding photographer.
As a wedding photographer myself I have heard so many stories in the morning preparation of a friend or family member who had their wedding completely ruined because of a lousy wedding photographer. There are many characteristics that are common with a lousy photographer, some are inexperienced, while others have decades of experience and have lost their fire. Many don’t know how to handle things, they are unprepared and a lot of times very impartial.
Many photographers forget or simply don’t care much that they’re not just the wedding photographer. As a wedding photographer I have many responsibilities both prior to, during and after the wedding. Helping the bride and groom draft a timeline that will make the most out of their time is a must have skill. One example of a lousy photographer is showing up on the day of the wedding without having prepared the couple for what to expect and when something doesn’t work according to plan he/she sits back and thinks to themselves I’m just the photographer that’s not my problem.
I have from my very first wedding decided that I would anticipate anything that could potentially lead to a problem.
I talk to my couples and help them during the various stages of wedding planning. When I see a situation that could lead to a problem if I have the power to fix it I will, the bride/groom never needs to know. One example that comes to mind is, during one of my recent weddings the maid of honour went to change the bride’s dress to another hanger when she pulled on the dress and there was a little tear on the sleeve.
I could see she was panicking, instead of sitting there and thinking, “this is not my problem, I’m just the photographer” like Mr lousy would think. So, I quickly grabbed my s.o.s kit in my bag, pulled a needle and white thread and stitched the tear up. I told the MOH not to worry and there was no need to tell the bride as it was fixed. Needless to say the MOH was over the moon and thanked me 100’s of times, I will photograph her wedding next year and her secret is safe with me.
Enough chit chat, here are the tips on everything you need to know about how to choose the best wedding photographer for your wedding.
FINDING THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHER;
Of course, since I’m a wedding photographer I want to say that is me. But truth be told, I’m not the wedding photographer for every couple, finding the perfect photographer means finding the right photographer for YOU and that is where you should begin. Although your best friend loved her wedding photographer, that alone should’t make you decide to book such photographer, it’s a good start but the perfect/right photographer for you is more than a recommendation.
Style should be the major influencer when choosing the right wedding photographer for you. Maybe you’re thinking you don’t know what style you like, I don’t blame you, there are so many. But forget for one minute all the terminology; documentary, fine art, creative, the list goes on, what photos are you drawn to more?. Is it the perfectly posed perfect looking photos or the more natural in the moment shots?. Ask yourself these questions and once you have your answer look for photographers whose work resembles these characteristics.
Before you decide and book your photographer take the time to really look into his/her work, not only their portfolio but look through full weddings. This will give you the best representation of how they photograph every part of the day.
Arrange to meet your photographer in person or through Skype video or lastly a phone call.
Don’t just do it over e-mail (everyone can sound 💯 through e-mail), but another very important aspect you have to consider is the photographer’s personality. Is he/she genuinely interested in your wedding plans? does he/she ask you questions and shows excitement in the prospect of being your wedding photographer?. This is something that is overlooked by so many couples and then on the day of their wedding they find out the photographer is impartial and that can create such an awkward atmosphere which will show on your photographs.
From the very start myself and Danilo talked to ourselves and we came to the conclusion that we want to be remembered by our bride and grooms, not only because of the beautiful wedding photos we captured and the emotional candids but also by the impact we had on them as a person.
Only book your wedding photographer when you’re 100% happy and confident with your decision.
Ps: All the beautiful images you will see here were taken by us.
FIND THE PERFECT VENUE,
I know I said you have probably already booked your venue which is more than likely the perfect venue for you. Finding the perfect venue, however, is about a lot more than just a beautiful place. It is all about finding your own style. Your venue will impact on your wedding photography so decide what kind of atmosphere you would like to create because that “vibe” will translate into your wedding photos. Just as important as knowing what is good for you is identifying what doesn’t fit. If you would like an outside ceremony look for venues that have this facility but also that there’s a place just as beautiful for plan B (we are in Ireland after all). Unless you’re happy to have your ceremony in the rain, we dig that too.
DEFINE WHAT YOU LIKE, AND WHAT YOU DON’T,
As I mentioned, know what you love is just as important as what you don’t. This is very important, so please don’t assume that the photographer will know, be crystal clear about your expectations for your wedding. It is YOUR day and it should be nothing sort of perfect for YOU. Do you like more candid shots over the traditional look?, tell your photographer that.
Are you artistic and would love to have unique couple portraits, tell your photographer (we love to get creative). Instead of sending your photographer 100’s of Pinterest grabs of what you like. Look through his/her work and save any photos that you love. Then, write down what you like/don’t like about each of them. Don’t just write because it’s beautiful, what do you love about it?, is it the pose?, the light? the angles? the emotion… If you can’t find photos that you like from the photographer, well then maybe that’s a sign.
CONECT THE DOTS,
What I mean by this is, let your photographer know who is your MUA, your hairdresser, wedding planner, dj etc. We are happy to say we are all one big happy family. What we do is, we send you a questionnaire and in that you can add the contact information of all your suppliers. We like to say hey to them a few weeks before the wedding.
This breaks the ice, if we’re working together for the first time. Plus it makes the whole day run a lot smoother. We also chat to each one and communicate certain things with the supplier. It’s nice to talk to the MUA and see when/where she plans to do your touch up’s. That way we can prepare for it or suggest a better time/place to have it done for better photos. We’re all about communication!
MAKE A TIMELINE,
Okay, so maybe this is important when you have already chosen the perfect photographer for you. But sharing your wedding timeline with your photographer is very important. We like to draft one for our couple’s to give them an idea of an ideal timeline. We have done this many times when this could be your first time. So, instead of drafting a timeline only to be told by your photographer it doesn’t work, we like to save you time.
I will go over the time of each part of the day and draft a suitable timeline for you. Of course it’s not set on stone, it’s just a helpful guideline. Your wedding planner will also advise you on this. Once again, I think this plays back to not having an impartial photographer who couldn’t care less if by your schedule you’ll only have 5 mins of the cocktail hour when your could have more.
THE IMPORTANT THINGS,
I send all our couples a PDF with (Tips for the bride and groom). But I think this is important to mention here as well. Let your photographer know about all the DIY stuff you have taken months to create. Anything that was your mother’s or grandmother, anything and everything that is important to you. Tell me so that I can take a photo of it.
A GOOD PHOTO vs A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER,
It’s easy to be swayed by the perfect couple posed and lit beautifully in a stunning location. But many factors play into a beautiful photograph, it can be done intentionally or unintentionally, look for consistency. A good photo will stand out to you but a good photographer will have many photos stand out. So much so that they blend together.
If you are not a photographer it can be hard to decide on what makes a good location for photos. If you live in Ireland and is lucky enough to get married din a beautiful sunny day. You could be thinking you’ve hot the jackpot. Although sunny is way better than rain, it’s important to understand that harsh sunlight can be very hard to work with. It can make people squint and sweat both not very appealing. If you want that beautiful wedding photography, it is important to trust your photographer when he/she looks for shade.
If you take photos in full sun, like I said, you’ll have squinty eyes and a washed out look. The best way to go is to have the sun behind you. If you can time it right, you will get your best wedding photography outside just before sunset. The hour before sunset and a bit after is what we call the (Golden Hour), it’s not just a random name. A good photographer will guide you with many tips to ensure you have the most beautiful photos possible.
There’s a lot more I could talk to you about, but I feel I have covered the basics. If you follow these guidelines and your heart you will most definitely book the best wedding photographer for you. Here’s to hoping that is me 🍻.