Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Ragan Patterson Studios

Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that a couple can make when planning their big day. In all actuality, your wedding photographer is the one vendor that will provide memories that will last a lifetime. In this issue of Volare Tips, Ragan Patterson Studios gives pointers on what we should look for when choosing a wedding photographer.

1. Photo Editing. Photo editing is a time consuming talent, which can very well drive up the cost of wedding photography. Be sure that your photographer is transparent on how many images will be professionally edited. Ask to see portfolio images before and after the editing process. Some wedding photographers edit all images, some limit the amount of edited images, and some skip the process altogether. If the photographer does not advertise or mention editing, it is especially important to discuss their intentions. Proper photo editing is crucial in providing a beautiful end product of your wedding day, which should provide memories to last a lifetime.

2. View Wedding Portfolios from Beginning to End. In the digital age, it is quite simple to become a photographer overnight. Never choose a photographer based on a website portfolio of 30-50 beautiful images. Instead, ask to see their wedding portfolios from beginning to end. This request should provide you a realistic expectation of what your pictures will look like, which is ultimately what you are paying for.

3. Is your Wedding Ceremony or Reception Indoors? If your wedding ceremony or reception are indoors, ask to view several sequences of shots that the photographer has shot indoors. Natural light photography is beautiful, yet easily attainable. Many ceremony and reception venues do not provide enough natural light to consistently provide great pictures; a skilled photographer will know how to shoot in low-light situations.

4. Know the Photographer. It is of utmost important to know who will be responsible for photographing your wedding day. Some companies meet face to face and introduce the photographers on the spot, while others inform their clients within weeks to days before the wedding. Be leery of any photographer who does not meet face to face in the beginning of the planning process. Establishing a wedding day photography timeline is essential for a quality end product. Additionally, you should know how many photographers will be shooting your wedding. Wedding day details and once in a lifetime moments require at least two photographers, as well as two points of view.

5. Know the Photographer’s Storytelling Philosophy. A good picture tells a thousand words. Would you rather have 100 beautifully edited images that tell the story of your wedding, or 2,000 images that provide no rhyme or reason of your day? There are two general photographer storytelling methods; decide which is best for you:

The Shoot and Burn Story Method – The photographer will show you every acceptable shot.

The Engaging Story Method – The photographer will show you the very best shots in each sequence that expresses the story of your wedding day.

6. Read, Read, Read Reviews. Unbiased reviews will provide great insight to how previous clients’ overall experiences were. Reviews are also the ultimate way to find the best of the best the wedding industry. Be sure to utilize unbiased reviews on reputable sites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire.

7. Review Your Budget. When done correctly, wedding photography is extremely time consuming and therefore expensive. It is important to understand that high prices and a good portfolio do not necessarily correlate to a consistent level of high quality photography, which is ultimately what you deserve. Remember to stay within your budget, but know what you are paying for.