August 7, 2019
This year will officially be my eighth year photographing weddings. I’ve seen a lot, but that doesn’t mean I’ve seen it all. One of my favorite parts of working with couples through their wedding planning process is the very first inquiry to officially booking their photographer. The excitement is fresh, the date is set or being set and their big celebration is finally starting to feel real while they lock down details.
It’s not only exciting for them, but for me to see and hear about their story and see if I could be the perfect photographer to serve them on their wedding day.
HOWEVER, with that being said, whether you are a couple looking to book your wedding photographer or a wedding photographer who may not know when it is right to let a client go, this one is for you. Over the years I’ve learned what will make me and my couples a perfect fit for their day, and what the red flags are for having a possibly bumpy experience together. It’s not that anyone is at fault, it’s just that this couple could be better served elsewhere by another photographer.
First things first, their personal photography style. Here’s the thing, there are quite literally thousands of photographers just in the Maryland area alone. Imagine the amount in this country or around the world. SO why settle for a photography style you aren’t 100% sold on? Now if you’re a couple searching for a photographer here are a few things that go into a photographers style…
- posing technique – are they more of a candid capture the moment type of deal or do they prefer to show more traditional smile at the camera and posed images
- color and editing – do they shoot more of the dark and moody tones and muted highlights to are they bright and bold and colorful?
- use of light – do they shoot mostly with the sun behind the subject or with the sun shining directly on the clients skin
- angles and cropping – pay attention to if they are mostly shooting wide and pulled back (further away) frames or if they prefer to shoot closer portraits. Sometimes and in most cases I feel, it’s a mixture of both.
These are all factors that go into a photographers unique style and what makes them stand out as an artist. HOWEVER, these are also things that you should NEVER ask a photographer to change. If they are showing consistent work and use of these things listed above then they are sure of their style, they worked hard to create it and it isn’t going to vary from client to client. I would recommend moving on to another photographer whose aesthetic fits more into the range of what you’re looking for.
Next, is what is important to them and what is important to you, that should align. If you’ve found someone whose style you love, and whose work you drool over then amazing! But, this is still YOUR wedding day. This is still a significant event representing a significant moment and the start of your life together as a couple, so you are going to want to make sure that their services will fulfill what you’re hoping to capture from your day. So, what do I mean by this?
What I mean by this is ask questions about what they find important. For example, one photographer could love and prefer capturing pretty details and aiming to have your wedding published or featured in print. On the other hand a photographer could care more about capturing candid moments between you and family and friends and want to capture people over details. Find what you prefer, what’s important to you and then let it be known.
And finally for the make it or break it part of booking your wedding photographer… do you like them as a person?
I know, I know, this sounds weird to me too. If this is a business deal and a professional why should that matter in the slightest? I’ll tell you what I tell my own wedding clients. On a wedding day you spend about 8-12 hours with your wedding photographer. AND THAT’S A LOT of time if you specifically aren’t very fond of them personally. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be BFF’s with them, or know their pet names and what their morning routine is like. It’s not like that. BUT you should have their presence calm you and enjoy being in each others company.
As a photographer we are there to capture your most intimate moments. The moment someone special gets you into your dress. It’s just you two, and then the photographer. The moment you finally get a moment alone with your new official bae. t’s just you two, and then the photographer. I think you get the point, we are there for it. So there is nothing worse than being surrounded by all your favorite people and then having someone you don’t completely adore also be there during those times.
Now with going over the leave it or need it type of situations, let’s chat about the things you can work together on! Let’s say you’ve found a photographer who you completely adore as a person, and you swoon over their shooting technique and editing style. AMAZING, you’ve most likely found your wedding photographer!
However, you look through their packages and notice 1 of 2 things.
1. They aren’t within your allotted budget for photography services
or 2. You don’t see a package that completely fits your wants and needs for your wedding day!
The good thing here and why it’s not a deal breaker is you have so many options to figure things out! So starting with they aren’t within your budget for photography… first check to see how far off they are from your actual budget. Could you afford to pull or cut those funds from somewhere else in your wedding budget? OR if they aren’t too far off from meeting your numbers simply email your photographer, let them know your budget and ask if they can make a custom package. Now, let me preface this and say, this IS NOT asking your photographer to cut you a deal or discount or lower their prices for you. That’s not what I’m saying.
What I’m getting at is maybe their 8 hour package doesn’t work within your budget but maybe a 7 hour package would perfectly fit the numbers you need!
Which leads me to number 2, ask for a custom package! Say you see their packages and notice they have an 8 hour, 10 hour and a few other options. But, for example, you need or want a 9 hour package with an album and a parent album. Simply ask that photographer to create you a custom price and package to fit your needs so you can know you not only found someone whose work you love, but now you have all the boxes checked for things you want covered with photography for your day!