10 Tips When Choosing Your Wedding/ Elopement Photographer
Congratulations on your engagement and we are excited that you are on your journey to find your perfect photographer! Being on both sides of the fence as a married couple and a husband and wife photography team, we absolutely understand the importance of finding your perfect photographer! Beautiful images and a great experience are key and as important as other components, as you begin your search. We compiled 10 tips that will hopefully help you on this amazing journey!
- Cindy & Clint Swindell.
1.What style of photography do you like?
The first question to ask yourself as you are going through the process is, what style do you like? While there is an array of photography styles, the two main ones that have been popular the last couple of years would be light & airy and dark & moody. Though every photographer will have their own touch and style, Pinterest and Instagram are great visual tools that can help you figure out which style you would like your images to look like. Create those mood boards and search those hashtags, as they are great starters for your search.
2.Do you connect with them and what will the experience look like?
Besides loving your images, connecting with your photographer is the top two most important aspects when choosing your wedding photographer. I cannot tell you how many times couples share how they did not have the best experience with their wedding photographer and wish they could have changed their decision. It is so important to choose a photographer that you click with, since a majority of your special day will be with them. Depending on your timeline and coverage, they are there from before you walk down the aisle to the sendoff. It is important to be with someone you like.
You may now be asking, what are ways to know if you click with the photographer before making your decision? We recommend scheduling a call/ video call with them to know their personalities before the day. A 30-to-60-minute call can help you gain a better understanding of them and how they may interact with you on your day. Engagement shoots are also a great way to connect with your potential photographer before finalizing your decision. Most photographers have specials as part of their packages so just ask and connect with them before your special day. Bonus factor besides spending some nice time together, is that it helps you be more comfortable in front of the camera and may kick off the nerves before the big day.
It is important to ensure the photographer is available for your date. While this seems like a fact-based statement, the current factor of COVID-19, has added another element that is important to keep in mind. As wedding photographers, we have made adjustments to support our 2020-2021 couples and part of that is rescheduling to 2021 and years forward. This gives less openings for new couples that are now planning their special day, so if you are planning to get married in 2021 or 2022, we would highly recommend reaching out soon. You want to ensure you have the right photographer to capture your special day, so ensuring they are available as part of your planning is important.
4.Have you seen a variety of their work?
It is important to look at the photographer’s portfolio when you think about narrowing down your photographers. You should be able to see this through their website and social media. Another benefit of this, is different portfolios will also help you understand how your setting and lighting may look with their style. Lighting and setting are key in photography and can make a huge difference in how the images look, so look at a variety of their work as you are going through the process of choosing one.
5.Are they active on different platforms?
While being active among different platforms does not ensure that you have a great photographer, it is a great place to start as you narrow down your choices. These different platforms can include places such as social media, websites, and blogs. It gives you the opportunity to see how your photographers interact, as many include themselves and their personalities on these platforms. It also shows you their most recent work, which is helpful as you can get an even better understanding of their style.
6.Do they have recent reviews?
Similar to seeing if your photographer is active on different platforms, seeing if they have recent reviews and ratings is always great in your search. Nowadays we are usually reading Google reviews on where we want to eat or what activities we want to do; similar to this, reviews help give you an insight on past client’s experiences with the photographer and their recommendations.
7.What is included within their contract?
Before signing on the dotted line, ensure you have read the contract thoroughly and ask any questions you may have. Below are some examples of key items to keep in mind of as you are going through the contract.
- What is included?
- Number of Images
- How and when will the images be delivered.
- Hours of coverage
- What is the non-refundable deposit and what is the timeline of payment?
- Is there a COVID-19 clause?
- Is there a travel fee?
Equipment is something most people do not think about when choosing their wedding photographers, but it is important to ensure that your images are safe before they are delivered to you. We shoot with dual SD cards which ensures that our images are copied twice. These SDs are then transferred to two different hard drives to ensure our couple’s images are secured and safe. We also have a backup camera, batteries and lens in case technology fails, so this is also important to ask during your conversations.
Another important factor to ask is lighting. If your venue is indoor, it is beneficial to understand if your photography will provide extra lighting, as certain venues and reception areas will be dark and you want to ensure those special moments will be able to be captured properly.
9.Number of Photographers
Are you having one or two photographers for your special day? If you have two photographers, it's important to understand if they have worked together in the past and you can ask for examples of past collaboration. We are lucky to be a husband and wife team and to shoot every wedding together, so we have a flow and communication style that helps our couples during their special day. Talk this through with your photographers if you are planning to have more than one for your special day.
10.Are they insured?
It is important that your photographer is insured in case of any accidents. This not only protects the photographer and their equipment, but it will also give you peace of mind in certain situations.