Wedding photography is one of the most important aspects of planning your big day. After all the other details are planned, photography is the service you need to capture those details on camera so you can remember them forever. The challenge, however, is finding a photographer who you not only trust but like!
Here's five tips to help you sift through the masses and find your perfect fit.
1. BUDGET FAIRLY - What you want isn't "cheap" it's "value." Full-time photographers have to charge what may seem like a lot to you in order to keep the number of clients they take each year low, to maintain a high-level of customer service, and most importantly to keep their photography fresh and unique. Of course, there's going to be a sweet spot in your budget and undoubtedly a photographer willing to shoot your wedding at any price, but the best thing you can do is go into a consultation with an open mind. If your No. 1 criteria for finding a photographer is pricing, you may end up with a photographer who's not a good fit for you.
2. LOOK BEYOND FACEBOOK - Social networks are a great place to FIND photographers but seeing the kind of care and style they put into their website says a lot about the way they view themselves as a company. If their website is overly artsy, cluttered and packed with weird music, you may realize your personalities don't mesh. Keep in mind that everything else in your wedding is a product that you're buying, but your photography is an investment you're going to have to wait to receive. SO making sure you can reach this person, trust this person and LIKE this person is a pretty huge part things!
3. MEET FACE-TO-FACE - Most people wouldn't buy a car online without a test drive. A first impression is everything in this industry so ask your photographer-to-be to get together with you. Grab coffee, a glass of wine or lunch, and ask them to go over their pricing with you as well as how they like to work. Look for confidence in their work and care for their clients.
4. BUILD A TIMELINE - Everybody wants hundreds of those candid photos where grandma is crying, dad is laughing and the bridesmaids look like they're having a blast. The problem is not everybody gives their photographer time to catch those little moments. One of the most important parts of the planning process is working with your photographer on the wedding day schedule. Plan to get ready 2-3 hours ahead of your ceremony so that you look PERFECT in all of those candid photos. Make sure you build in time for photos with the bridal party, family and most importantly, build in at least 30 minutes for photos with your fiancé.
5. BE EARLY (or at least on time) – Yes, your photographer is being paid to be flexible, but keep in mind that they likely have at least 25-30 other brides they're working with in the same year. If you want that special treatment and you want to make sure that your photos are as beautiful as possible, show up on time. There's nothing more frustrating than taking time away from editing for a shoot that starts an hour late. The trick is to work with your photographer to build in EXTRA time for what-ifs, and then communicate with your stylists, make-up artists, bridesmaids and anybody else who will be getting ready on the wedding day, how important it is to run AHEAD of schedule.
Miles Witt Boyer is our new expert blogger. He has seven years of wedding experience, so he's got lots of great advice to share. Look for his guest posts in the coming months, right here on ArkansasBride.com. Oh, and be sure to visit his Facebook page or go to ArkansasBride.com to see some of his photos, including ones we've featured on our blog and in our magazine. You can also shoot him an email at Miles@MilesWittBoyer.com.