Tips for finding a wedding photographer (part 3)
Advice from some of the best wedding photographers in Vancouver
We had the pleasure of interviewing some of the best wedding photographers in Vancouver and asked them for tips for finding a wedding photographer. We also asked what advice they had to share and what are some of the key questions that couples should know to ask.
“I think having a face-to-face interview is a great idea. The photographer needs to fit in with your vision or help you to create your vision. Feeling comfortable with their personality is a must. I feel this is true for all vendors. I hate to see when a couple is disappointed with one of their vendors on the day.”
“Weddings are an emotional time, so brides tend to gravitate to photos that evoke that feeling of love, romance or fun. However, beyond saying what they like, they don’t usually know what to ask. Some items I would suggest they ask about are: the photographer’s personality, how much direction the photographer provides, does an assistant come along, what’s included in the package, do you have back up equipment and do you back up the photos on site, how many photos do you typically take, and how long does it take to get the photos after the wedding?”
“Couples looking for a photographer should definitely meet with the actual photographer(s) who will be at their wedding and make sure that the work they are looking at is only photographed by the photographer(s) who will be photographing the wedding. Photographer(s) will spend a lot of time with the couple and their family so it is important to make sure that the personalities are a good fit and that the photographs they will create are what the couple wants.
It is a great idea to pick out 3 favourite photographers and visit them all. Get an idea for what they offer and pay attention to what happens after the wedding. You want a firm commitment on when the images will be delivered and you also want to know that the photographer can help you get the things you would like to have. Simply walking away from the photography of your wedding with a bunch of digital files may seem fine initially but it is actually a disservice to you and your family and the ability to enjoy the photos for a lifetime and beyond.
Choose a photographer who does weddings full time and has been around for a few years. It can take as much as 70 labour hours to do a 10-hour wedding with an album. You need to know that your photographer is properly set up to dedicate the time to this that you need. The age-old saying applies here: if the price seems to good to be true then chances are it is and you can, unfortunately, pay for that in the inability to revisit your wedding through photographs. Established photographers usually have a business location or studio for you to visit, a full range of products, including albums, and a rich wealth of knowledge about many aspects of your wedding. Initial consultations should be free and well worth your time.”
“Book your photographer as far in advance as you can to save money.
Also, ask during wedding shows if the photographers run specials (ex., 10%off). Meet with many photographers and don’t make your decision based just on price. Ask them what can you do for you that no one else does”
“Most importantly, the couple should take a good look at the photographer’s previous work, and understand why they like some photographer’s work versus another. Many photographers are true artists, and stylistically the couple and the photographer should complement each other. It’s important to talk to the photographer about what you like about their work, and talk about yourselves as a couple. Let the photographer get to know your taste in music, furniture, food, etc. In our opinion, as wedding photographers, it’s our job not only to take great shots but to take great shots that have the couple’s unique personality and style in mind. The more we know about the couple and their story together, the better we can let it translate through the photos taken on their big day.”
“When searching for a wedding photographer, there are a few important details that should be considered. First, ask people for recommendations. There is something to be said for word of mouth advertising. Second, check out their website and blog! Every photographer has his/her own style, and it’s vital to find a style that you’re drawn to. You can’t expect your photographer to shoot in a style that is not true to them. Lastly, make sure you meet with your photographer beforehand. I include a complimentary engagement session in every wedding package to get to know my clients. If the couple insists on not doing engagement photos, I push for a meeting before the wedding, either in person or over Skype.”
“As a couple, you should always provide as much information as you can to the photographer when you inquire. This makes the photographer think that you are serious about the inquiry instead of just shopping around for price. On top of that with all the information you provided, the photographer will be able to communicate with you more efficiently, and you will have fewer email exchanges in your inbox.
Some common questions a couple who are in search for their wedding photographer ask include:
1) Are you available on our date?
2) Have you worked at our venues?
3) Have you had any experience with ___________ ceremony? (for religious weddings)
4) Are you guys insured?
5) What style of photography do you specialize in?
6) How many photographers will be there at the wedding?
7) Will you be documenting our big day yourself?
8) Do you use light in low light situations?
9) How many weddings do you book on a day?
10) Do you shoot back to back weddings?
11) How many photos will we expect at the end?
12) Will the photos be edited?
13) How long will it take to deliver the photos?
14) Are you running any kind of early bird promotion?“
“One of the most important pieces of advice I would tell the couple who are searching for a wedding photographer is to make sure to book your photographer 10 – 12 months before your wedding.
Most people probably will be surprised by the “expert” timelines on this one. Ten months? Really? Most couples think the photographer is an important part of their wedding, and I can tell you that most of the top-tier wedding photographers in a major metro area are going to be long gone at 6 months to go. In my opinion, you should include the wedding photographer in the group of vendors you hire immediately after setting your wedding date. The top talent will book first, so hiring a wedding photographer close to a year before your wedding is a good idea.
At the same time, meet up with more than one photographer to make sure you find the right photographer with the right style you like. Most shooters use a blend of several, but you’ll want to make sure they shoot portraits, for example, if they’re important to you.“
“You should always be asking what we want to do with them as a couple. A lot of photographers and videographers always want to be creative and give you something to wow people with. If you connect with the photographers and videographers it makes it that much easier on yourself. Also, ask if you are looking for video and photo try to find a team that can do both. I know for us, working with our photographers, makes it so much easier just because we are so in sync.”
“Hiring a creative is no easy task. Couples have two options when looking for wedding photography:
Option one: Photography is not that important to you and you’ll be pleased with whatever the outcome. Then spend no money by asking a friend or relative to provide some coverage.
Option two: Photography is very important. Spend time getting to know what you would like to get out of the photography in the end. There are literally thousands of options. You should know what you like and more important what you don’t. Ask yourself what you will do with the work in the end? Books? Digital frames? Prints?”