5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // MARYLAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
Engagement season is almost behind us and wedding planning is in full swing for most 2017 and even 2018 brides and grooms! Besides choosing a venue, looking for a caterer, picking gorgeous flowers, or finding “the dress”, wedding photography is an important item on the list for many couples. This can be an overwhelming and stressful process, but we’ve created this guide to make things a little easier!
Step 1: Settle on a Style
Documentary: This style of photography is very candid and spontaneous! It’s a blend of people, decor, action, and unposed shots that capture the emotion and true moments of your wedding. You’ll rarely see photos of people looking directly at the camera and instead have lots of images full of laughter, love, depth, and they will move you and come together to tell the story of your wedding day!
Portraiture: A portrait photographer is able to offer classic photos. This will include posed shots of the bride and groom, wedding party, and family. Many shots are traditional and posed at the ceremony site but can still be very creative with various backdrops and landscapes.
Fine Art: This category of photography is based on the vision and creation of the photographer as an artist. Although, real events are captured, colors and scenery can be edited to look bold and dramatic to fit the photographer’s style and vision. Fine Art photographers don't do many posed/ traditional poses, so if that’s something that is important to you, check with your photographer to make sure they can offer that along with their dreamy, artistic edits!
Step 2: Establish a Budget
Setting a budget for your wedding photography is important because it will help you narrow down your list of potential photographers for your day. Although, it will be hard to choose an exact number until you know what you want, this will help you in your search! Most photography packages range from $1,500-$6,000 and include 6-12 hours of wedding day coverage. It’s important to do your research and take in to consideration the price of their basic package, what add-on's they offer, if they have a second shooter, what their turnaround time is (typically 4-8 weeks depending on how busy the photographer is), what your rights are to your photographs (if they include a print release), and of course, quality. Sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in pricing and budget and choose a low priced photographer solely based on money. However, just because one photographer charges less than someone else, doesn't mean the quality isn't there either. Make sure you do your research and understand what fits your needs and why wedding photographers charge what they do.
Also, think about whether or not you'd like an engagement session and if they offer that. Engagement sessions are extremely important in connecting with your photographer(s) because it gives you a chance to work together before the big day!
Step 3 : Get Together with Potential Photographers
The most important part of sitting down with your photographer is getting a chance to meet face to face and seeing if your personalities mesh. Meeting in a relaxing location like a coffee house or cafe is a great place to get to know one another while you discuss wedding details. If they have a second shooter or partner, as many professional photographers do, the second shooter should come along to the meeting as well. You’ll likely have a lot of questions for them, but it’s also goof for them to have a lot of questions for you. Your photographer should be professional and clear, they get excited about your plans, and they are assertive enough to go after those great moments, but relaxed enough to be a positive energy.
Step 4 : Go For Professional, Not Shoot and Burn
When it comes to your wedding day, photos are something that you’ll have forever. These are memories of feelings and details from one of the most important day’s of your life. A professional photographer has invested a minimum of $10,000 in equipment (cameras, flashes, memory cards, lenses), editing software, educational materials, etc. in to their business. They fully retouch all of the images given to you and correct lighting, color, and blemishes. Aside from giving fully edited images, a professional photographer will have access to a professional and reputable printing company (not Wal-Mart, Shutterfly, or Target).
A “shoot and burn” photographer will take photos of your wedding day, do little to no post-processing, put your files on a flash drive, and be done. A professional will likely spend 10-40+ hours editing and carefully retouching your photos after your wedding day. The time it takes a professional to edit a full length wedding (8+ hrs) will likely greatly surpass the time they actually spent at your wedding!
Step 5 : Go With Your Gut!
Once you’ve talked with some photographers and narrowed them down to your favorites, it’ll be time to make your final decision! You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with this person(s), so make sure you genuinely like them and you click. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good connection with your photographer. Your overall happiness and comfort is what’s most important and choosing someone who has the ability to bring out the best in you and your new spouse will give you amazing images for years to come!