how to choose a wedding photographer

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Wedding Photography is a very intimate affair. 

Joining your significant other in marriage is one of the greatest milestones in life, and it is one that beckons for ample documentation! Use this handy guide to help you keep some considerations in mind when looking for the special photographer to document your special day. 

1. Know what kind of style you want

There are a lot of photographic styles out there these days. From washed out highlights, to crushed blacks, there are photographers that are finding their niche across the entire gammut of styles and tastes. Knowing ewhat kind of style you are looking for in a photographer is going to be paramount in being happyu with your end result. 

Saturated colors, no clipping. This style is great for those who prefer vibrant colors and lots of detail. 

Saturated colors, no clipping. This style is great for those who prefer vibrant colors and lots of detail. 

"crushed" blacks, desatured colors, and a balanced exposure represents the "film" look. 

"crushed" blacks, desatured colors, and a balanced exposure represents the "film" look. 

Washed out Highlights create a heavenly glow.

Washed out Highlights create a heavenly glow.

Finding a photographer that is competent in many styles can be challenging. Most photographers have one workflow that they are comfortable with and edit in a very particular way. Keep this in mind when consulting with photographers, and make sure that the one you choose is competent in the style you are looking for. 

2. Hold an interview with your potential photographer

So, you've found the style you want, and have searched for some photographers in your area that match your style. This next part is critically important. Set up a time to meet with potential photographers (preferably on the same day) and give them a sort of "interview." Ask them to bring print samples of their work as well (often digital and printed samples can look different. This will ensure that you are going to be happy with the quality of the prints for after the big day! If you don't plan on getting any prints then don't worry about this step.) Doing this will also ensure that your personalities will mesh well. You don't want the person who is documenting your special day to be a pompous jerk and expect the gathering to be about them. 

3. Discuss packages and options with your potential photographers

No two shoots are the same, plain and simple. Discussing your expectations wants and desires with your photographers will give you a grasp of pricing and options available to you. For instance, I have shot everything from elopements at mountain lakes, to videos and photos at an overnight camping excursion in the middle of Montana. It is important to lay your expectations out clearly, because then your photographer can give you an accurate quote for pricing. Keep in mind, we have to take gas, accommodations, food, and travel expenses into consideration when pricing out  your packages. 

4. Understand your print rights

Many (if not most) contracts stipulate that the photographer completely owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads. I do not operate this way, because I think it is an unethical practice. I always ask my clients if I may use their images for promotional materials afterwards, and if it is not okay then I certainly respect their wishes. This is one of the biggest problems in the wedding photography business currently, I think that photographers are overstepping their boundaries with their clients solely for their own good. Many photographers also have stipulations that unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print images yourself or get an album made from another source then you'll have to buy print rights. 

This has got to stop. 

take this into consideration when choosing a photographer. I have vowed to always be etdbw (easy to do business with,) and I take it to the extreme to make my clients happy. 

5. Know what to expect after post production

Post production is a labor of love where photographers spend a majority of their non- shooting time.  We have all sorts of things to take into consideration while like the shooting style you hired us for, rendering formats, etc. If you wish to have all of the raw photos taken during your wedding there are a couple things to keep in mind. 
A. They probably won't look very good. Most photographers (Okay, I'm going to make a  polarizing statement here and say any photographer worth their salt) shoot in a RAW format, which means there is no color correcting done in camera to the images. It is just raw sensor data. because of this, the colors are very flat, dull and boring.

B.All the of that raw data means that the files are HUGE. On my Sony A7rii, the 42 megapixel sensor is an absolute blessing. That being said, the large sensor produces each image at a whopping 47 megabytes per file, that means that a wedding with 1500 shots will be a hard drive nightmare. 

C. Storage is rough. Transferring 1500 files in to dropbox of raw photos will be a multiple day uplaod (and consequently a long download) Keep this in mind when requesting raw files from your photographer, it might not even be worth the headache. 

D. You picked your photographer for a reason, so trust their instincts for choosing the best pictures. Most of the duplicate pictures I end up taking are due to simple things, like my subjects eyes being closed, a bird blocking someone in the frame, crooked horizons, or just plain goofy faces. Because of this, the pictures that I present are going to be the collection of the ones that I think make the cut. 99% of the time, I end up with an album that absolutly brings tears to my clients eyes, but every once in a while I miss a picture that they wish to have. 

Because of this, I ALWAYS upload the entire album to Dropbox for your viewing pleasure, and make an additional edits as needed