Three important elements when hiring a wedding photographer.
Two are character traits unique only to that person and cannot be copied. The third element fluctuates due to many different variables. Let’s talk about each in the order of importance.
First and most importantly are the character and personality of the individual who you will hire, and invite as a guest to your wedding. These characteristics may not be the first thing you think about when hiring a photographer, however, it will definitely be the most important factor in the decision-making process. The first thing you need to determine is whether or not you like the images that this particular photographer has to shown you. Be it on a website were you have looked at page after page trying to eliminate those photographers you don’t want to see, to figuring out the ones you do.
It is definitely important to be intrigued or excited by the images a photographer has to offer. If you have made an appointment or decided to visit the photographer, chances are you already are interested in their work but this is not always the most important factor. What is? Personality. Now that you are in this persons studio or space, the question you have to ask your inner self is, do I like this person? Do I feel comfortable with this person? Will my friends and family like him? Would I invite him or her to my wedding as a guest?
Personality and character may not be the first thing you judge when interviewing a potential photographer but it is usually the one common thread that influences the final decision. You have to really like and trust the person who will be capturing your wedding images. You could find the Ansel Adams of wedding photographers, but if her or she bugged you in anyway and you are not totally honest with yourself, the only person who is going to suffer is you. The bottom line is, if you don’t like your photographer for any reason, your wedding images and your memories or going to be reflected upon as if looking into a tarnished mirror.
The second element and almost as equally important as personality, is the photographers eye.
The way he or she sees and captures the wedding day. This unique trait separates one photographer from the next. “The Photographer’s Fingerprint”
A photographer can copy another photographer’s style, but the fact is no two photographers see the same way. When looking at different photographers work, take notice of how and what they see. Do the images move you? Are they emotional? Do they tell a complete story? Are they artistic and creative? Are they real, do the people look comfortable? Finally, out of all the photographers you met with, whose images did you gravitate towards the most? Usually, the answer to these questions and the definitive question, who is the right photographer for me?, is only an inner voice away. Just listen and trust.
Finally, the last deciding factor is usually the cost. You spend hours if not days of your time interviewing photographer after photographer and now you have found the perfect photographer for you. His images are amazing and he/she is the greatest person however, your inner voice picked someone who is a little out of your budget. What do you do?
Ask yourself a few important questions. After the wedding is over, what am I going to have left? Answer: Your pictures and your memories. Everything else is going to be forgotten, only remembered through your photographs. According to a survey run buy the largest on line wedding website, the number one regret couples had is that they wished they would have invested more money on their wedding photography.
Shopping for a wedding photographer is like buying a house; you get what you pay for. In both cases the purchase and decision to buy is based on emotion. Buying a little more than you can afford is always a wise investment that you won’t regret as long as you have put in the time to find the perfect one for you.
With that said, it doesn’t mean there are not ways to get the most for your dollar. One way is to buy all albums and portraits, anything you might want up front as part of a package instead of buying a la cart afterwards. Another way is make sure you understand what it will cost before and after the wedding. Sometimes a photographer’s packages appear to be less expensive at first glance, then after the wedding you get hit with add-ons you did not expect. Then you end up spending more money than you would have with a photographer who appeared to have been more expensive.
Don’t make the mistake of weeding out photographers because you called or emailed and asked for prices and then crossed them off your list because they exceed a certain dollar amount that you determined photography should cost.
Finding a great photographer is much like discovering a great restaurant. Let’s say you were to call around to ten different eateries and ask, “How much are your meals?” If you never take the opportunity to meet the owner, taste the food or experience the ambiance and charm of the restaurant you cannot make an educated decision. All of these things make dining a great experience. Calling on the telephone won’t give you the same education.
Go taste the food. Wouldn’t you feel better spending more afterwards because you loved your photographer and your images were so great you want to buy them all, than to get less than you imagined and end up spending more than you dreamed.
In summary what separates the good from the bad is in the eye of the beholder;
art is subjective. Make sure you feel great about the person you hire and see a distinction in the work. In the end can you afford to be disappointed when the curtains close on your wedding day and the narrator says “ They Lived Happily Ever After”?