Choosing your wedding photographer can seem like a hard task. It doesn’t have to be!
Wedding photography prices range from free to thousands of dollars. In the wedding industry you typically get what you pay for and we think your overall experience is so much more important than price alone when making your decision. In this blog we’re going to break down the things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer. Your wedding is one of the largest events you’ll ever experience and photography plays a huge role in your entire day. From getting ready in the morning through dancing the night away with your closest friends and family, your photographer will be there coordinating and capturing it all. Therefore, it’s important to hire a professional that’s right for you who will keep your day running smoothly. This will ensure you have beautiful images to look back on and that you enjoy your entire experience without any stress!
Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
We’ll be going over the following topics.
- Personality & Style – Are they a great fit?
- Camera Owner vs Professional Photographer
- Using Family Or A Friend As Your Wedding Photographer
- An Experienced Professional Wedding Photographer
Personality & Style – Are they a great fit?
As wedding photographers, making sure we’re a great fit is one of the first things we do when meeting with a client and we believe it’s highly beneficial for you to do the same. You’ll be spending a lot of time interacting with your photographer before, during, and after the wedding. A personality that meshes well with yours is going to make everything more enjoyable.
You should find a wedding photographer with an editing style you love rather than asking if they can change their style. Some photographers photos have a dark and moody vibe, some are light and airy, and some are more natural & true to life. Your wedding photos will turn out best if they stick to what they’re good at. It’s extremely rare for a photographer to change their style upon request and never recommended. Our style is natural & true to life!
Going along with style, a natural and candid approach versus heavily posed is also something to think about. Do you want to spend your wedding day living in the moment while your photographer steps back and captures it all naturally as it happens? Or do you want to spend more time setting up posed shots throughout your day? Our approach is a mix of both with more of a focus on capturing natural and candid photographs. We pose our couples as needed during their bride and groom portrait session and set up the family group portraits. Other than that we’re going to document your day for what it was.
Camera Owner vs Professional Photographer
Nowadays, everyone owns a camera. Whether that’s the cell phone in your pocket, an entry level point and shoot camera, or a professional grade DSLR or mirrorless camera with the latest tech, they can all take great pictures. That’s totally awesome, but makes it harder when trying to compare photographers. With no requirement in purchasing a camera it’s created a heavily saturated market where everyone is a “photographer” willing to capture your wedding day. This opens the door for an increasing amount of risk. We always recommend hiring an experienced professional photographer to guarantee success on your wedding day. There are many key differences between a new or hobbyist photographer and an experienced professional. We’ll go over the traits of an experienced professional at the end of this blog. First, lets touch on our next topic of using family or a friend to photograph your wedding.
Using Family Or A Friend As Your Wedding Photographer
It may seem like a good idea to use a family member or friend to photograph your wedding. Maybe they said they can do it for free or cheap as your wedding gift and it’s a tempting offer. Unless they check off all the boxes of an experienced professional wedding photographer below, we don’t recommend using a family member or friend to photograph your wedding. They may only have 1 camera and if an issue occurs you might not get any wedding photos at all. Most likely they’re not going to be using a contract that a business owner would use to protect all parties. If anything goes wrong it can potentially ruin your relationship with them or make for an awkward and stressful situation. We believe family and friends should focus on celebrating with you on your wedding day.
An Experienced Professional Wedding Photographer
Below we’ll go over some traits of an experienced professional wedding photographer.
Great Communication – Planning a wedding is a lot of work. As you may know, or will find out, some vendors provide excellent communication, while others, unfortunately, may leave you hanging. Some respond quick, some in an acceptable time frame, some way too late, and some don’t respond at all. Great communication is key to streamlining your wedding plans.
Consistency – From one wedding to the next their work is consistent. It is possible to receive favorable lighting conditions at one wedding and harsh lighting at another. Weddings are full of variables and weather and lighting conditions are constantly changing and unknown. A professional is able to adjust and produce beautiful images in any conditions.
Able To Use Flash – While flash is not always necessary, it is a tool they’ll know how to use when needed. Common times to use flash are dark getting ready areas, receptions, and night time.
Backs Up Gear and Photos – This one is extremely important to guarantee you will receive your wedding photos.
-Photography gear can fail. Backup gear (extra cameras, lenses, flashes, memory cards, etc.) is required to successfully continue wedding coverage when an equipment failure occurs. Newer cameras even come with 2 memory card slots and are able to write to both simultaneously. Having backup gear drastically lowers any risk from gear malfunction or failure. Backups make the difference in receiving your wedding photos, missing key moments, or not receiving any at all.
-Backing up photos is another important step professionals take to make sure a client’s photos are never lost. It can take a few weeks to complete editing a full wedding day before delivery of the gallery. Both on site backup and cloud backup are available and in combination make it nearly impossible to lose a client’s photos.
Contracts – Every professional photographer uses a contract. Do not work with a photographer if they aren’t using one. The contract protects both the client and photographer and should be in the best interest of both parties.
Insurance – Professionals have insurance. Some venues require vendors to provide proof of insurance, otherwise they cannot work there.
Timeline Assistance – A wedding day timeline and photography go hand in hand. To ensure a smooth and efficient flow to your day, experienced professional wedding photographers will either create your timeline or assist in helping you modify or review yours.
Experience – Wedding days constantly have delays, changes, and unexpected things that come up. Experienced professionals know exactly how to handle anything that happens on your big day that wasn’t planned for.
When choosing a wedding photographer we always recommend hiring an experienced professional. They should provide great communication, have consistency in their work, be able to use flash, back up gear and photos, use contracts, have insurance, help with timelines, and have the experience to make decisions on the fly. You may not find all of this when using an inexperienced photographer or a family member or friend.
Having a good personality and photo style that matches what you’re looking for should also be part of your decision when choosing your wedding photographer. You’ll spend a lot of time working together and your wedding photos are all that will be left to look back on after your big day.
Of course price will play a role in choosing your wedding photographer. The average cost to hire an experienced professional wedding photographer in The Berkshires is $3,000 to $6,000. As you can see above, there is a whole lot more than price alone to think about when it comes to hiring a photographer for your wedding. If you want an amazing overall experience we don’t recommend using price as your main and only deciding factor.
Hiring an experienced professional wedding photographer will make everything enjoyable and stress free from planning your wedding, to working together on the day of, to smiling at the beautiful images on your walls and in albums.
If you’re looking for an experienced professional wedding photographer, we’d love to see if we’re a great fit for you! Check out our website, or reach out on our contact page.
Researching wedding vendors can take a lot of time! If you need help finding other vendors for your wedding in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, below are a few excellent ones we’ve worked with and even used for our own wedding!
Officiant: Grace Ceremonies
DJ & Lighting Service: DJ Chris Plankey
Planner: Events by Pamela Joy
Baker: Lindas Pastries