1. Request a full day wedding gallery
Many photographers will have a gallery or portfolio of their best work. Though this is nice, this won’t give you a feel for what you will receive from start to finish. Make sure and request from potential photographers a sample gallery of a recent wedding or two from start to finish.
This review will give you the most accurate way to gauge a photographer skill and style. It will also give you a good indication of the number of and types of images you can expect from the photographer for your wedding day.
Also, ask if the photographer has shot at your venue and if so, request to see those photos.
During the meeting, find out who exactly will shoot on your wedding day. It is not uncommon for photographers to have assistants, second shooters or even third shooters who will be taking photos on your wedding day. Often a second shooter may cover groom getting ready while the main photographer focuses on the bride. A full gallery view is important, as it will give you an indication of how the final gallery will come together inclusive of all photographers on that day.
In all cases, request to see the work of the photographer (or photographers) who will be handling your wedding. Just bear in mind, often second and third photographers are not as experienced and often do not edit the final image for client delivery.
2. Know your style
Everyone has an expectation of how they want their images to look. The best way to ensue this is to find a photographer whose work aligns with your vision. Key to this is making sure the photographers work is consistent across multiple clients. Not all photographers are created equal and many specialize in one style or another.
Yes, it is all wedding photography but some photographers have a more natural un-posed style (like me) and others have a more posed editorial style. Assuming that a photographer can seamlessly capture both styles may not result in the best images or work that meet your expectations. It also may force the photographer to do work in a style they do not prefer to do. This is never a good recipe for expectation to be met and exceeded.
3. Know and discuss your budget
Know how much you want to spend. This is typically a range from the most you would like to spend and below. Many photographers may have stated packages but are open to working with clients with specific budgets. Overall, it never hurts to have the conversation with a photographer to ensure you’re both aligned from a budget perspective.
Some photographers’ fees include everything including albums, prints, and high-resolution images; others have a flat or hourly rate, then charge you à la carte for any pictures or albums you want. Make sure that you understand what’s included. Ask how long the photographer will spend with you (seven to nine hours is ideal) and whether there will be a second shooter, as you’ll get more detail shots this way.
After this evaluation inclusive of the photographers work, style and price point it’s time to make a decision. Anytime it is a close call between 2 or more photographers, I always recommend that clients go with their gut. Don’t forget that you’ll be spending the entire wedding day with this person, so you want to make sure you feel completely comfortable with the photographer.
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