I’m consistently getting emails from brides who tell me they are getting married on a certain date and want to know my prices. That’s it…nothing else asked. I’m taken back because to me, it’s not as easy as just giving you a price for pictures. There are so many more things that get factored in to you receiving the most magical portraits you could imagine. It’s really, really hard to compare one photographer to another and base all your decisions solely on one factor…price.
You know many times in passing conversation, I hear the horror stories from brides who more often than not, tell me the complications they had with their photographer or how much they disliked their wedding pictures. They didn’t like the lighting, the setup, the posing, the style, the photographer missed certain shots they REALLY wanted, and the list goes on. It’s so sad to hear these stories as each of those things are typically preventable. That’s exactly why I wanted to write this blog post about 5 Tips for Selecting Your Wedding Photographer. These are the things to think about when you’re inquiring information to choose who you’d like to work with on the biggest day of your life! It’s so much more than just asking for a price and availability. And while this list doesn’t encompass everything, it does cover some of the major things that should be addressed during your selection process.
Tip 1: Photography Style
Everyone has their personal style and look. No one wedding is the same and that goes for wedding photographers as well. You really have to select a photographer with the right style and look that matches what you’re going for. Is your wedding very soft and romantic or are you going with a very bold and glamorous look? With whatever your style is, you’ll want to select a photographer who can portray that same look you’re going for with your wedding style into your photos.
Tip 2: Personality
This one is HUGE! You want to go with a photographer that compliments your personality. You definitely don’t want to be clashing with your photographer throughout the process. To me, your photographer should be an extended friend. You should share laughs together, have fun, and enjoy each other’s company. Most wedding packages consist of 8 hours, then you have the engagement session as well for about an hour, and all the communication in between. With all this time being spent together, you definitely want to choose a wedding photographer that you truly enjoy spending time with.
Tip 3: Communication
When I’m selecting vendors or contractors for any event or project, communication is always one of my top deciding factors. If a photographer isn’t getting back to you timely, that should be a red flag for how the entire process will go for you. For me, I want to be in touch with my wedding clients. It’s important to have those open lines of communication so that we can make sure your day goes flawless. I work with my clients for the entire process of their wedding. We coordinate the best location and clothing that compliments their style for their engagement session. We create a wedding timeline so we can make sure to select just the right locations for the bridal portraits and incorporate that into our timeline. We collaborate on a shot list to include all the important shots of your wedding day and also to add in the other important shots to our list that I might not be aware was important to you. This ensures we don’t miss a thing on your day! Communication is always key and a definite guide to success for your wedding pictures.
Tip 4: Package Prices
Many times I hear clients say they are price shopping for wedding photographers. While I completely understand that, you also have to take into account what is included in the packages the photographer is offering. Does the price only include them taking the pictures? Do you pay extra for the digital files? Does the package include a canvas? Does the photographer simply hand over a disc of images and that’s the end of the process? You really have to break down the packages and see what’s best for your needs.
For me, I’m personally a print and product based photographer. My clients receive their high resolution digital files with a print release of the images from their day on a custom USB flash drive. They also receive a stunning canvas gallery wraps, online gallery to share with friends/family, the option to purchase gorgeous prints, products and albums! I don’t want to simply hand over a disc of images and expect my clients to try to find the best quality prints and products. That’s my job…that’s what I study and learn every single day so I can provide my clients that service of producing the most incredible prints and products and albums they’ve ever seen! As a business, I am able to work with and source the best print labs in the country to work with to offer my clients the most amazing items! I want them to have that to remember their day by, and it’s important for me to provide that to my clients. So when you’re comparing packages and pricing, just remember to really look at what you’re getting for service, quality, and then cost.
Tip 5: Engagement Session
In my packages, I include a complimentary engagement session, and it’s so important for your photographer to offer this to you. To me, it’s like a dry-run or rehearsal for the big day! This is our hour to be together, get to know each other, and figure out the right poses for you as a couple. Some couples are more into the candid shots, while others are more snugly and romantic, and others just like the straightforward posing. My style is a combination of all of these. I like to have a mix in the images so you have a wide variety of all of these moments.
During the engagement session, we get to know each other in what you like and don’t like so that on your wedding day you know exactly what to expect. This also allows you to become comfortable in front of me and my camera. We get to understand each other and what you really want to capture out of your day. This also gives you a chance to figure out my language…you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about…well, sometimes when I’m in the middle of shooting and try to explain how to pose or to move your hand like this or shift your body, my thought process is much faster than I can speak and it comes out weird! So we get to understand exactly what in the world I’m asking of you to do to get those beautiful shots! 🙂
So that’s it…to me, these are some of the most important things to look for when searching for the perfect wedding photographer for you. I know this isn’t everything to look out for, but it’s a good start in the right direction on choosing a photographer that you will be happy with. I want for everyone to have the most amazing pictures to treasure from their gorgeous wedding day. And keep in mind, photographs are the one thing from your wedding day that you will keep forever and pass down through generations, so make sure to select someone that can provide those memories for you. Happy Wedding Planning!
PS…If you’d like to share your tips or suggestions, feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
Amanda Oakes Photography is a Quad Cities wedding photographer who also specializes in engagement, newborn, family and children photography, and maternity photography. This includes photography services in the Moline, IL, Rock Island, IL, Davenport, IA, Bettendorf, IA, Muscatine, IA and the greater Quad Cities area.