So how do you choose the right photographer? There are hundreds in the Austin area alone. How do you know which one is right for you?
Well if you have already taken my advice and hired a professional Day of Coordinator or wedding planner, ask for referrals. Again, most wedding professionals network and we sometimes give discounts or specials for referrals (not to each other but to pass along to our couples). Your DoC should have a good idea of your style and can help match you up with photographers that will complement your style as well. We also probably have a good idea (or at least we should) of your budget and can therefore help by not sending you to someone out of your price range.
Sidebar: please don’t ask your wedding professionals for discounts or try to nickel and dime them to the price point you need. With the plethora of professionals out there you can always find a great professional within your budget without compromising style or quality.
Let’s say you are on a tight budget and you just don’t think you can afford a professional so Uncle Bob has a really nice camera and he is going to take the photos. Plus all my family and friends will have their cameras and I’ll get their photos too. No matter how good Uncle Bob is, unless he is a professional, he probably won’t know how to pose everyone, how to work with the different lighting levels, or remember all those specific photos you want. And a photographer’s job doesn’t end at the end of the evening…your photographer will cull through the hundreds of photos taken and edit them into true works of art. Can Uncle Bob do that? Plus, getting the photos from family and friends can be surprisingly tough. Please reconsider. As I have mentioned before, there is a professional available for every budget. If things are really tight, why not check out craigslist.org? Every professional has to start somewhere and finding a budget photographer on craigslist might be the answer your bank account is looking for (particularly if you are considering Uncle Bob as a viable alternative). You can help a budding professional build up a portfolio and save money too. And Uncle Bob can enjoy your wedding without having to look through a camera lens the entire time.
Of course you can check out recommendations from family and friends, photographers from weddings you have been to, venue recommendations…don’t settle on the first person you meet. I suggest meeting with at least three photographers before making your decision. And if none of them feel right, try three more on for size.
Here are some helpful tips when meeting with photographers:
- When meeting with a photographer, look through several sample albums, not just one.
- Do you love all the photos?
- What makes them special, unique, stand out?
- Is it the way the subjects are posed?
- Do all the photos look alike – and is this a good thing, or a bad thing, to you?
- Is the person you are meeting the actual photographer or are you hiring an assistant (important question when looking at smaller packages)?
- What will your photographer wear?
- Do you think this person is someone you could be friends with?
Remember: love your professionals!