Choosing the people who will surround you for your big day can be overwhelming. Here are 5 Things you need to know to choose a photographer perfect for you!
1. What style is your favorite?
Every photographer has a different way of editing and coloring their images. Most photographers do some basic lighting and color adjustments, but you can also use editing software to create a unique look. Styles range in popularity from (my personal favorite) Bright and Clean, a lightly processed look with natural skin tones, golden light and vibrant colors; Light and Airy, a film inspired look with creamy skin tones and pastel colors; and a Low-Contrast / Moody look with muted, earthy colors, and orange, sun-kissed skin tones. Additionally, some photographers shoot the majority of a wedding using only Natural Light and add a camera Flash after dark and for the Reception. Others choose to shoot with flash and off camera lighting the entire day.
2. Make sure you Like your photographer.
Not only do you have to like the images your photographer takes, but you have to like your photographer’s personality as well. While all of your vendors are important, you will spend your entire wedding day with your photographer. When you meet with a photographer, make sure you’re meeting with the person who will shoot your wedding.
Beware of wedding photography mills, where you talk to a sales person, view their best sample images, and then get stuck with a minimum-wage photographer with minimal experience to match. Ask to see an online gallery of a full wedding and read reviews.
3. Why is wedding photography so expensive?
Wedding photography seems like easy money — work for one day and rake in the cash, right? But most full-time wedding photographers carry over $15,000 worth of wedding gear and often work 60-hour weeks. It can take 2-3 hours to edit every one hour of coverage. Add insurance, taxes, software, advertising, albums, repairs, shipping, and studio expenses, and many photographers end up making less than minimum wage for the first few years of their career.
4. Beware of “shoot and burn” photography.
“Shoot and burn” is slang for photographing a wedding and burning it straight to CD without editing and color correcting. It’s usually super cheap — for a reason. Bad lighting isn’t corrected, distracting background elements aren’t removed, and zits remain proudly on display. These photos lack color correction and styling.
Take a look at the difference editing makes in the images below. These photos were taken about 20 minutes after sunset and were captured with a Canon 5D3. As you can see in the images, there is more to wedding photography than showing up with a fancy camera and shooting in Auto Mode. The camera performs excellent in low light when the photographer has the knowledge to set the best manual settings for the lighting situation.
- Camera set to Auto Mode / Amateur Photographer
- Manual Mode / Pro Photographer
- Edited from Manual Mode Shot
5. Tread cautiously when hiring friends, family or Amateur Photographers.
Always make sure to include a professional photographer in your wedding budget. After the flowers wilt and the decorations come down your photos will be the only thing you have left to remind you of your wedding. Professionals will make sure to capture every last detail, guest and moment. And a Pro won’t put the camera down until the day is done. A friend or Amateur Photographer will ultimately miss shots due to time spent mingling with guests or simply because they lack wedding experience and knowledge of when certain events are happening. I have had couples come back to me, after their wedding, and ask me to fix or re-edit their friends photos. Unfortunately, if a photo isn’t composed and exposed correctly to begin with it cannot be edited to look as sharp and clear as Manual Mode shots.