Choosing the right wedding photographer | Moncton Wedding Photographer

‘Tis the season for engagements and it’s usually followed by what I refer to as the ‘wedding planning stampede’. Seriously, move aside or you will get trampled by other couples furiously trying to lock down their date, venue and photographer before news of their engagement goes viral. It’s a little intense, but kind of makes sense given that these 3 vendors book supercrazyearly. When it comes to choosing a photographer, there are many things to consider- some that you might not even think of. So, I thought I’d share some insight to help you pick someone you’ll be thrilled about.

1. Hire a professional

If photographs from your wedding are important to you, make sure you choose a photographer that will give you the kind of experience and photos that you have your heart set on. Hiring a pro may seem like an obvious tip, but you wouldn’t believe how many people like to moonlight as wedding photographers.

best photographer for your wedding

Don’t gamble on a friend or family member

I get it: the budget is tight and your aunt/neighbor/bestie loves photography and wants to help out. Even if they have what they consider to be ‘professional camera’ and the best intentions, you will probably be disappointed with the results. It’s not an easy job. It’s very physically intense and incredibly stressful to capture a wedding. Not to mention that good photos are usually the result of good planning, client education and photographer preparation. Did your friend help you carve out enough time for photos so that you don’t feel rushed? Do they have the experience needed to coach you both so that you look your best and most natural selves on camera? Will you have the benefit of a contract? Do they have a contingency plan if they get sick? Have they scouted the locations and talked to the priest/venue to inquire about photography rules? Would they know to anticipate key moments in the day like ‘the kiss’? Are they going to make multiple back-ups of your precious photos?

Didn’t think so.

Not all photographers shoot weddings.

Some photographers do wear several hats, like me. In addition to shooting weddings, I also do a fair amount of boudoir and lifestyle photography. That’s not the case for every photog- some choose to specialize instead. Commercial or newborn photographers, for instance, might  not enjoy weddings assignments or feel comfortable taking them on no matter how talented they are at their chosen photo-field.

2.  What’s your style?

What was right for someone else’s wedding might not be for yours. After all, your best friend may have hired a terrific photographer, but if you and your fiancé don’t have the same tastes (and budget!) as this couple, you’ll naturally have very different idea about what makes a good picture and ideal photographer for your own special day.

Do you like photo-journalistic style images? Traditional and posed romantic shots? Fun and relaxed candids? High-fashion inspired photos?Dreamy pics with a vintage film vibe?  Or really creative composition and framing? There are so many options for you to choose from! Figure out what makes your heart flutter and  find a photographer whose shooting, framing and editing style suits your tastes.

 3. Keep it real: meet them in person.

You like their work, you think you have a good handle on what they offer and you want to pull the trigger and book your photographer. PLEASE resist the urge to do so until you meet this person face-to-face (in person or on Skype). Why?

Not all wedding photographers are professional. 

I’m sure you’ll agree that professionalism is an important requirement for any vendor sharing in your happy day. I’ve heard of the chronically late types, the ‘look like they crawled out of the swear-system’ types and the ‘neglect to answer emails- for weeks’ types. You get the idea. After a meeting, you’ll know so much more about how trustworthy, organized and reliable this person is. If you are getting an unprofessional vibe that early on in the process: grab your partner and run for the hills.

It’s a great chance to see more of their work.

It’s easy to pick a few gems for a website slideshow, but you’ll want someone who is consistently good through the whole wedding day. Ask to see a few examples of the photographer’s complete wedding day coverage to get a better sense of what you can expect from their work.

You’ll decide if they are a good fit.

They will be sharing and documenting some of the most intimate moments of your day (and life!), so make sure they are pleasant, easy to talk to and friendly. It’s easy to be seduced by an online presence, and many photographers are nothing like their witty and sweet blog personas- at all. By having an in-person chat, you’ll be able to tell quite quickly if you click (pun totally intended!) with this person.  Do they make you comfortable or are they awkward, vague or arrogant when answering your questions? Are they flexible and helpful? Would you hang out with them for fun?  Trust  your gut on this one.

4. Test Drive!

Most photographers offer engagement shoots in their wedding packages, but will also shoot them as ‘portrait sessions’ at times.

Engagement shoots are a great way to help you relax and get comfortable in front of the camera long before your wedding day. It’s a little unconventional, but why not shoot an engagement session before you commit to booking your photographer? I happily do this and adjust the wedding packages accordingly  if the clients decide to proceed with me for the big day. It’s absolutely a win-win.

5. Not all packages are made equal.

This one is obvious, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at the price of wedding photography packages.

Get clarification on what exactly you are getting for the listed price: prints? digital files? watermarked proofs? an album? It’s also nice to know how are you getting it (DVD? Online gallery? USB? ) and when you can expect to get it. Ask about extra fees like travel and retouching and anything else that may not be included with the package.

Looking to stretch your dollar? Ask about  weekday or off-season rates. Customizing the coverage to meet your budget (less time and less photos) for a reduced price might also be possible and you’ll still get great service and the benefit of experience that a pro can offer. If that’s still too steep, check out newer wedding photographers in your area. Those starting out will charge a little bit less while they are in ‘portfolio building mode’, but will likely have decent gear and the motivation to work hard and rock your world so that you’ll give them a good referral. While they may have less experience, they typically have had some wedding shooting opportunities alongside more experiences pros as hired second shooters, so ask to see their wedding work.  This is an infinitely better choice that a random $300.00 Kijiji ‘photographer’.

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 I hope this will help you pick someone that will be a pleasure to work with who will deliver amazing memories of  your day! Stay tuned for more photo-related Wedding Tips posts in the coming month. :)

 

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