As one of my big wedding projects for the spring, I’ve started searching online for wedding photographers. Luckily, there are a lot to choose from. Looking through them all has left me many times with too many tabs open in my browser, too many ideas running through my head, and the feeling of being totally overwhelmed. So I think it’s important to really think about what I’m looking for in a photographer as I’m doing the search. The more I can rule out immediately, the better.
Ok, so what am I looking for in a photographer? These are my priorities:
- Price—As with everything else in this wedding, we’re working with a pretty strict budget. Before I even look at the galleries, I’m looking for a price. There is no reason to fall in love with a photographer I can’t afford. Now, the only time this really becomes a problem is when prices aren’t listed. Generally, I’ve assumed that those photographers are just too expensive, but there have been a few that I’ve emailed for more information.
- Type of photos—Although we’ll definitely be doing some formal poses, the pictures I’m most interested in are the candids. I’m not looking for a photographer to document how beautiful I look, or how nice my shoes appear against a background of flowers. I’m looking for someone to capture the feeling of the day, the joy and community that we are hoping to create. I want someone to document the fun, the love. So if a photographer shows nothing but detail pictures on their site, they’re probably not a great fit for me. Also, I’m a little picky in that I don’t like all of the special effects added to pictures. I want simple, beautiful photos that stand on their own.
- Photography package—We’re not looking for anything fancy in our photography package. We’ll make the albums ourselves, and while prints might be nice, they are not necessary or even preferred. What’s most important is having a photographer for enough time to get everything. I’m also hoping for an assistant or second photographer, since it will be such a big wedding. And one of the most important parts of the package, one of the non-negotiables, is to have the digital, high-res proofs with printing rights. That way, we can print the photos we want, make albums or photo booths, and gift photos to our families. Fortunately, this seems to be pretty standard now.
- Personality—We’ll be spending all day with our photographer. They will get to know our family and friends. They will be with us while we’re getting ready and when we see each for the first time on that day. They’ll capture intimate and important moments. The photographer’s personality is extremely important. I’ve tried to glean what I can from bios on websites, but this is something we won’t really know until we start meeting with people. But we’ll be looking for that click.
My current plan is do exhaustive research online (luckily, this is one of my skills) and try to narrow down the list to two or three favorites. I’m not interested in spending a great deal of time meeting with people, and I think too many meetings can cloud the picture. I’m hoping that, like so many other things in this wedding planning process, when we find the right one, we’ll just know.