First in a series.
‘Tis the season for couples to begin their search for the perfect wedding location, dress, florist — and, of course, photographer. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of the advice offered in wedding magazines, and I thought this year I would provide my own set of tips.
I can’t speak to picking a wedding gown, but I can tell you a little bit about finding the perfect wedding photographer. Learning your photographic preferences is an important first step.
Pick a Style
Use the Web to teach yourself about your own likes and dislikes. By viewing a lot of different photographers’ work online, you can quickly get up to speed on the latest trends, and identify styles that you prefer.
A photographer’s Web site can tell you a lot about his or her approach. Is there a broad selection of single images from different weddings, or does the photographer display portfolios from one wedding?
Are the images candid (in the moment) or is the work more formal and directed? What compositions are typical for the photographer? What lens choices (wide versus telephoto) does the photographer employ?
Is there a lot of work that is enhanced (soft edges, heavy vignetting, selective color), or does the photographer give it to you straight without much enhancement?
Whichever style you prefer, by looking at many different photographers’ Web sites, you can teach yourself about the trade and learn about your own preferences.
Once you’ve settled on a wedding date and have a location in mind, you can start your search for a photographer by asking around.
Coordinators will often know of photographers who do a good job. Another option is to check with your friends — particularly those who have recently married. If you were impressed by their pictures, this makes your search much easier! If you attended their wedding and saw the photographer at work, then all the better.
Referrals give you a more comfortable starting point to make your decision. Buyer’s remorse is just as common with weddings as with any large investment, and a referral reduces this risk.
A referral means the photographer has worked for someone else you know, made great pictures, provided exceptional service — and at the end of the day, created a relationship worth talking about.
Next: First contact. What to know about price and how to negotiate.