1 | They Have the VERY BEST Gear
Sure, you don’t want your photographer to show up with a point-and-shoot or even worse, an iPad, but just because one photographer spent a few hundred dollars more on gear than the other, doesn’t mean you should dismiss one of the two. Your photographer could be carrying upwards to the 10s of thousand dollars worth of gear with him/her during the day, so a few dollars difference here and there is not what will make or break the end result.
The phrase “Wow! Your photos are so nice…what camera do you use?” always irks me a little because it is not the gear that makes the photographer but the knowledge this photographer has of their gear!
2 | Their Photos Are Stunning
Ok, don’t get me wrong here, I do believe that you absolutely must find your chosen photographer’s portfolio gorgeous, but don’t base your choice solely on that point. You must dig deeper… You and your photographer must be able to connect on a personal level. Your photographer will most likely spend more time with you on your wedding day then, say, your mother! So if your personalities don’t mesh, it won’t be a pleasant experience no matter how perfect their portfolio is! It’s like choosing your life partner, yes you should find them physically attractive, and that’s what drove you towards them in the first place, but you also need to get to know them to fully fall in love!
3 | They Are the Best Bargain
You should be looking for your photographer based on a blend of their unique style and personality and then move on to look at their price tag – but definitely never base your decision entirely on the price tag.
[Note: Yes, I do believe that you should be setting yourself a general photography budget — because I understand that money is well earned and not everybody has a whole whack of it to drop on their photography — so when I say don’t look a the price tag right away, I mean don’t immediately dismiss a photographer because they are only a few hundred dollars more than what you planned on spending. In the big scheme of things, what is $200 more to have beautiful photographs that you will cherish for the rest of your life vs being $200 richer but not liking your photographs.]
When you find a photographer offering their services at a heavily bargain bin price, you must ask yourself why and how are they affording this? Take a moment to consider this… Being a photographer is not a cheap endeavour – first there is gear to buy (and anyone that has ever walked into a camera shop knows that it’s far from given away), there are websites to build, there’s insurance to pay for, taxes to pay for, automobile expenses, editing software, powerful computers and the list goes on. So you must wonder where is this overly cheap photographer cutting corners? Is it worth finding out when you are not satisfied with your wedding day photos?
This all goes to say that usually you get what you pay for…usually. If you are comparing a $500 photographer and a $2500 photographer, your $2500 photographer probably has the experience and the knowledge to go with that price tag. But on the flip side of things, your $500 photographer might just be starting out, and although he/she doesn’t have the credibility to charge very much, he/she might still have lots of talent and could still do a great job!
So don’t make take full judgement on the cost of the services, but also don’t ignore the signs that these prices might be revealing. If you have a great feeling when you meet your photographer, you like their portfolio and you can afford the investment, go for it!
4 | Your Step-Mom Likes This One
It is almost impossible to do everything by yourself when it comes to planning your wedding. You will eventually need to get some help from family and friends – and that’s great, I’m all for it! But your photographer is not like most vendors. You cannot touch or sample their services like you can taste a baker’s cake or touch your table linens. Like previously mentioned, your photographer will be spending the whole day with you, and the photographer’s personality is as important as anything else. I therefore believe that this is a decision you need to be making by yourself (and with your fiancé of course!). YOU need to like the photographer and YOU need to be comfortable with him/her. I don’t want to sound selfish, but after all it is your special day and your special photos. By all means still ask for other opinions and help, but the final decision needs to be your own.
You also need to love the photographer’s shooting and editing style. Style has changed a lot since our parents got married, so opinions might differ here a lot, but again, it is our wedding. Don’t feel bad putting your foot down (but softly still! ;) ).
5 | Aunty Just Bought a Fancy Camera
Ok, these last two points may seem like I’m bashing family, but trust me, I am not! It’s great that your Aunt is enjoying photography – I strongly believe that everybody should. It’s a great form of art and it makes me happy to see others enjoying it too! But just because Aunty can take gorgeous landscape photos of the Rocky Mountains, it doesn’t mean that she is able to handle a dimly lit ceremony venue, or handle the stressful time constraints that come with wedding photography. A professional wedding photographer has attended more weddings then most people, so they have seen it all! And are also ready to tackle it all!
Additionally, your photographer won’t stop all day. He/she might finally sit down for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat during dinner, but his/her camera will always be close by to snap anything that might happen! So if Aunty is chosen to photograph your wedding, she sadly won’t be able to mingle and enjoy her time as a guest…
Moreover, let’s say Aunty did take your wedding photos, and it turns out you aren’t satisfied with them? What if she did decide to mingle a bit too much or have a glass or two of wine but ended up missing your first dance? How would you approach this situation without causing an unwanted rift in the family?
All in all, the lesson to be remembered here is leave the wedding photography to the wedding photographers and leave the mingling and partying to the guests. Someone should not be doing both.
Note: I am aware that this post might, just might rub some photographers the wrong way, but this is my opinion and it might not be for everybody! Cheers!