¿NOS VEMOS EN LAS REDES?
You’ve got engaged. You have booked your favorite church / venue. Now is the time to find the best photographer for your wedding: the one who will be in charge of documenting and helping you to save forever the moments, the emotions and all the beauty of the celebration you are preparing.
However, the number of photographers and options available can be overwhelming. That is why I offer some tips that I hope will help you choose the professional that best suits your needs.
1- Define your style
Before you start looking for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, stop and think about what kind of reportage (and photographer) you would like to have for your wedding.
Do you want a photographer who will make you feel like a model and make your photographs look like something out of Vogue? A report with creative and artistic images? Or do you want a photographer who goes unnoticed during the day and naturally documents your wedding? Do you like photographs with saturated and contrasting colors or rather pastel tones and the texture of analog film?
The style of photography with which you feel most connected will be the one that determines the type of photographer you should look for. Each one works with his/her own style and it is a great mistake to expect images from a photographer with a totally different style than the one you are looking for.
2- Set a budget
To do this, ask yourself the following question and answer as honestly as possible: how important is wedding photography to you?
Budget items are usually assigned based on the scale of priorities of each one, so if you really appreciate the value that photography can bring to your wedding day (and to the rest of your days, because photography will be the visual heritage of the family you are forming) don’t be afraid to invest in it.
For those who value their wedding photography, some specialized publications recommend investing around 10% of the total wedding budget in photography.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after
that the sweetness of low prices is forgotten»
If photography is not among your top priorities (it’s okay, not everything is equally valuable to everyone), simply rank the search for a photographer on the priority scale: dress, flowers, makeup, wine, food trucks… and set the corresponding budget. Of course, remember that this is not like buying a cheap car hoping to save some money to buy a better one in the future: there is no second chance to photograph your wedding.
3- Where to look?
If you google “wedding photographer” it will return 2,790,000 results. It is necessary to narrow down the search more, searching for “wedding photographer in Madrid” the figure is reduced to “only” 1,420,000 results… we are improving, but it is necessary to refine a little more.
So where to start?
Many couples choose to choose from specialized wedding directories. It is an interesting option, since they usually have hundreds of suppliers of all kinds: it is like going to a wedding mall, where you have a lot of stores and the convenience that they are all in one place. However, my advice is that you do not limit your search to these directories.
I’m going to tell you a secret: positioning within those pages, even the listings that they periodically publish with “the 10 best photographers of (insert your city here)” are not necessarily based on their quality but on how much they have paid to appear better positioned, or for being mentioned in said ranking.
In fact, some of the best wedding photographers in our country do not even appear in such wedding directories, or they do so at the bottom of their list of results.
A more interesting option may be the professional associations of photographers. In many of them, such as Fearless Photographers or ISPWP, you will find some of the best wedding photographers in the world. In addition, in many cases these associations are specialized in a specific style of wedding photography, so if you have already defined what style you want for your wedding it will be much easier for you to find the ideal photographer: for example WPJA is specialized in documentary wedding photography.
If you have hired a wedding planner, they will surely be able to recommend several photographers that fit your style and budget criteria.
Let’s not forget the classic recommendation from friends/family/co-workers. If someone you trust has already gotten married or has already chosen a photographer, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations. If you assist to a wedding while you are preparing yours, keep an eye on the wedding photographer to see how he is doing and even come over to chat with him for a while if you see that he has a free moment.
4- Qualified professional photographers
Hiring a qualified professional photographer seems obvious, although sometimes it is not.
It is true that there are amateurs who take wonderful photographs, at the level or even better than that of some professionals. However, hiring a professional is not just about having photographic quality but also about guarantees in terms of service, safety and conditions: drafting a contract, issuing a legal invoice, having civil liability insurance, etc. just to mention some aspects to take into account when choosing your wedding photographer.
5- Contact the selected photographers
We live in a fast-paced world and we all live in rush, but take 5 minutes to write a few lines about your wedding to those photographers you have shortlisted, what you are looking for and what you like about their work.
Although it may not seem like it, on the other side of the email there is a person with a little heart reading your message and it is very sad to receive things like: “Hello, I want a quote for a wedding report” (this is a real message, I swore it). Without a “hello”, without a “thank you”, without a date to see if it is available…
6- Personal interview
Once you have received a response from those shortlisted photographers, the ideal would be to arrange a personal interview, either in person or by video call. Ask all the questions you have, collect all the information you need to have a clear idea of whether he is the right photographer for your wedding or not. These are some points that you should cover in that interview:
- How does he/she work?
How is the contracting process and payment policy, what will be the next steps from contracting to the wedding, how it behaves and unfolds during the celebration, delivery times, cancellation policy, etc.
- Full works
Ask to see at least a couple of complete weddings and not just a portfolio with the best of the photographer, better if they are also similar to the one you are preparing: if your wedding is in an old church, it does not make much sense to see civil weddings outdoors in a farm.
It is essential that there is a feeling between the three of you and that you are aligned in terms of the concept of wedding / reportage. You are going to share many hours with your photographer and not only the result of the report has to be wonderful, but also the experience of working together. If when you leave the interview you have the feeling that you do not understand each other well with the photographer, discard it (as much as you like the photographs of him).
- Who will photograph your wedding
Some photographers only document one wedding each day and do not accept more jobs once the date is booked. In that case, it is clear who will be with you on the wedding day.
In some cases, either because they are a company with photographers on their payroll, or because they are individuals who want to hire more than one wedding on the same day, you may find photographers who have a team of collaborators around them. Make sure who will be the photographer who will actually accompany you to your wedding, if it is not the one who is interviewing you, ask to speak with him to check if you have a connection. In the same way, ask to see complete works of that person to be sure that what you are seeing will be what you will receive at your wedding.
7- Confirmation and contract
As soon as you are clear that you like a photographer, confirm with him as soon as possible and sign the contract. If it is a photographer who only does one wedding per day, it is possible that you will find yourself with an unpleasant surprise if you delay the confirmation and the date is already booked.
Once you receive the contract, carefully read all the points and ask any questions that may arise.
From that moment on, fully trust your photographer and be in contact with him as much as you need to discuss all the details of your wedding.
I hope I have helped you to choose the best photographer for your wedding with these tips, if so I would like to read in your comments what your experience has been looking for a photographer. If you are already married, I would love for you to share how you experienced the process of searching for and choosing a photographer for your wedding.