Booking a photographer for the big event you are planning so meticulously, could be much more challenging than it seems. To begin with, the sheer number of photographers around us, both established and freelancers, is quite overwhelming. Also, thanks to social media, we get to see the work of many of these photographers at a tap, and all seem to be superbly good!
However, by experience, and conventional wisdom, we know that we can’t hire just any wedding photographer by simply looking at their previous work. There are a lot of factors that add up to make a great photography experience for the most special day in our life. Here, we break down ‘how to choose a wedding photographer’ in simple pointers:
Look at the Prospective Photographers’ Expertise & Experience
Wedding processions in any religion are woven with several rituals and customs. A wedding album is quite incomplete if all major ceremonies aren’t captured beautifully.
- An experienced wedding photographer knows when and how to be in the right place at the right time to capture a priceless moment; hence, your wedding photographer must have tons of experience.
- However, a young photographer can bring in a lot of creativity in his clicks, especially while capturing candid moments. Look for a photography studio or agency that offers a mix of experienced and young photographers.
Evaluate Your Specific Requirement First
Choose a wedding photographer basis on the kind of wedding ceremony you have planned – small, large, single day, week-long; got the drift?
- Find out the scale of the wedding you have in mind. Ask yourself questions such as how many people will be attending the event and how many rituals would you want the photographer to cover.
- Consider the time of the day and the duration for which you plan to engage the photographer.
- Go for an agency or studio that offers you flexibility in service and pricing.
Find out if the Photographer Gives you Convenient Package
It is always easier when the photographers offer packages, as it helps you in comparing the value proposition.
- Compare packages given by various photographers with the portfolio they show you. It would be easier for you to evaluate which photographer’s work best justifies the fee they charge.
- You can narrow down your list of photographers by eliminating those who are charging way more than others and offering much less.
- Don’t forget to ask prospective photographers if they have any terms or conditions with respect to the proposed packages. It’s better to ask than getting an unpleasant surprise.
Compute How Much Can You Afford to Pay Your Photographer
The most important thing you must consider while engaging a photographer is the budget. Since wedding ceremonies cost you a fortune, you would want to fix a budget for photography, too, and try not to cross it.
- Ideally, you may assign over 10% of your total wedding budget for photography. “What – That expensive!” you’d say. But good photographers come at a good price. However, you still may find good photographers at less, but that would require a load of research and luck.
- Talk to your partner and find out what’s their wedding photography budget and who they are planning to hire. Divide the cost of photography and hire the best professional in your area!
- Hire a photographer who can work out a nice package around your budget.
Compare the Portfolios of All Prospective Wedding Photographers
While a portfolio must not be the only thing you look at before choosing a photographer, it is one of the most important things you must consider.
- Talk to your partner and both your family members to establish the kind of photography (creative, traditional, spontaneous, quirky) you all would like.
- Prefer photographers whose portfolio you liked and whose quote matches your budget.
- Check for plagiarism. Look closely if some of the clicks remind you of pictures you saw on the internet.
Ask What Equipment Your Photographer Would Use
For your convenience, photography engagements can be categorized as premium, standard and economic.
- For a premium assignment, the photographer must carry a full frame camera and a good kit of light and lenses; checkout if they have any of these in their gear, Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 6D Mark II, Nikon D850 or D810, Sony a7 III Alpha (Mirrorless), Panasonic Lumix GH5S (Mirrorless).
- Standard engagements are more likely to see professional cropped frame cameras, more like Canon 80D, Canon 77D, Nikon D9000 and D7000 series.
- An economic engagement would usually be covered by basic cameras such as Canon 700D, Canon 1200D, Nikon D3000 and D5000 series.
Tip: Prefer a photographer who hires his equipment. Photographers with in-house equipment would offer a limited range of cameras and would charge more when compared to someone who hires his equipment.
Determine Photographer’s Team Size & Roles
While you don’t need a big entourage of photographers at your wedding (where you pay per plate), the lean team must have clear roles and responsibilities.
- Choose a photographer who can explain you clearly about the team structure and size.
- Avoid settling for a big team of photographers; ideally, four to five photographers can cover even a large wedding.
- Predetermine the time and location of the various rituals and make sure that the prospective photographer’s team has no issues covering these smoothly, without any delay.
Check Out What Previous Clients Say About the Photographer
Delivering a great photography experience is a cumulative effort of a lot of factors. A good review means that the photographer and his team excelled in most, if not every, aspect.
- Check online for reviews. Most photographers would have a business website with testimonials or a Facebook page; scour these for any negative comment or complain.
- Don’t feel shy to check the work of a photographer who was hired for an acquaintance’s wedding.
Hope this blog helps you ask the right questions to the prospective wedding photographers and enables you to make an informed decision.