How to Select a Good Wedding Photographer

You can sample wedding cakes and pore over flower arrangements, but it’s more difficult to determine which wedding photographer will do the most thorough job and provide the best experience on your wedding day. You’ll need to do your research and be selective regarding the choice of a photographer. Personal skills and artistic style are quite important.

It will be so much easier to work with a photographer if you genuinely like him and if you and your fiancé bond with him.

Skills Required by a Wedding Photographer

The Photographer Portfolio

Prospective photographer’s portfolio will show you an album of their best work. Ask him to bring several full albums from different weddings, so you can get a better idea of his work. If the photos all look about as high quality as those in the sample album, he may be the right photographer for your wedding, according to The Knot.

If you are having an outdoor wedding, you’ll want to choose a photographer who is skilled at taking photos in natural light. Look in his albums for the specific moments you would like to have captured in your wedding photos.

Did he get photographs of the groom and bride with their eyes locked as they exchanged vows? Are the images crisp and the compositions thoughtful? Is the lighting good? Did the photographer capture the emotions of the people in the wedding party?

Experience and Expertise in Wedding Photography

The photographer you select will need to possess certain skills that are essential to great pictures. Once you determine the style of your wedding, it will be easier to find a photographer who will work well within this structure.

Classic Photography

If you enjoy leafing through your parents’ wedding album, you may prefer portraiture, or classic photography. These are mainly posed shots of the wedding party and your family. Your photographer can still be creative within this type of picture taking. The poses and backgrounds may be more formal than in other styles, but you’re still free to select the backgrounds you prefer.

Documentary Wedding Styles

These wedding photographs are spontaneous and candid, rather than posed. There won’t be as many people looking at the camera, since the shots are more candid. There may be photos of the buffet before everyone arrives at the reception, or your cousins and friends dancing. The photographs tell a story and the photos capture moments within the story.

Fine Art

This style of photography is similar to the documentary style, but the photographer can utilize greater license to allow his own style and view into the pictures. The photos will be gorgeous and dramatic, but their appearance may be more muted.

Do Your Wedding Homework

Begin by reading reviews of other brides and grooms. Review blogs and websites and note photos of other weddings. This will show you the photographer’s style. Look over their Twitter and Facebook pages and see what people think of their work.

Interview Prospective Photographers

If a few of your potential photographers have impressive websites, you can check out their fees and interview them for your wedding. Make sure they have your date open before you spend any more of your time, or theirs.

Be sure that you and your prospective photographer get along well. Describe your vision of how you want your wedding to look. He should put you at ease and be open to your ideas. He will be shadowing you on your big day, and you’ll want to be comfortable with him.

If you are talking with a larger studio, they may have more than one photographer on their staff. Be sure that the photographer you interview will be the same one who will work on your wedding. Check whether there will be assistants helping.

Compare Prices

Once you are relatively sure of what you want, you can get a more accurate estimate. Packages come in many price ranges, and it may be different depending on the album you select.

Most wedding contracts give the photographer the rights to photos. This includes the photographs taken of you. Your photographers can use photos from your wedding on their blog or website. If you want the photos to be yours alone, you’ll probably need to buy the rights to them.

Questions to ask your prospective photographers, from Here Comes the Guide:

  • How long have you been taking wedding photographs?
  • How many weddings have you done?
  • How is your work different from others?
  • Do you shoot in film or digital format?
  • Do you shoot black and white as well as in color?
  • Have you worked with my event coordinator/florist/DJ before?
  • Do you have references?
  • Will you shoot my wedding yourself or will someone else?
  • Do you have back-up equipment?
  • What if you are sick the day of my wedding?
  • Do you charge for travel?

Make sure you ask any questions that are pertinent to your wedding, to be sure that the person you choose is the right one to photograph your wedding.

Resource box: Michael Tsao is a professional wedding photographer currently working in Orange County California. He is also responsible for artistically composing the shots and processing the images.

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