Now you might think I’d start this blog post by saying; ‘Pick me. The end’, but no, that wouldn’t be in your (or my) best interests.
There are many talented photographers right here in Perth and all over the country, they’re all priced differently and have different styles.
So how do you choose the right one for you? I’m going to cover some points to consider when making that decision and hopefully you’ll be more informed as to who will suit you best.
LOVE their style
This is – in my opinion – the most important part when choosing a photographer.
If you like high-end fashion styled posed wedding images, then look for a photographer that does just that. If you prefer something more causal and natural, then look at the photographers work to see if what they’ve done in the past is in line with what you like.
Don’t choose someone that has a candid style of shooting and ask them to do glamorous posed images (and vice-versa). Each photographer specializes in their style because that’s what they connect with the most. It’s what drives them to get those epic photos and part of why we love our job.
It’s actually more difficult to emulate someone else’s style because we (as photographers) all see things and shoot differently. You can’t re-shoot a wedding, so you’ve got to love the style of the photographer first and foremost.
Get along with the photographer
Ok, I say this to all couples when I meet them – I spend more time with you that most of your guests.
It’s so important for you to feel comfortable around your photographer because they’ll be following you around. ALL. DAY.
If you don’t feel at ease with the person behind the camera, then you’re going to look and feel awkward (which will translate into the photos). Almost every one of my clients will say to me that they’re not photogenic, that they can’t smile on cue or that they’re camera shy.
Getting a good photographer that you get along well with, laugh and be silly with is the best because your smiles will come naturally and you’ll have one hell of a fun day. I’m a complete goose when I’m shooting couples and often those smiles you see in the images is because the couple are laughing at my stupid antics.
But hey, if it gets you to relax and enjoy yourself, that’s mission accomplished!
Invest in a Photographer if images are important to you
You can’t redo the wedding day, so please don’t risk booking someone you don’t feel 100% confident in.
Experienced wedding photographers that are in-demand and do great work are usually priced from around $3000 – $8000.
Yes that’s a big range but you get what you pay for. Every photographer is priced differently based on their experience, the cost of running their business and so on.
Professional photography is not for every wedding couple, so if you’re getting a family member or friend or even student to shoot your wedding, don’t expect their work to be of a professional level. That would be unfair for them as they may still be learning or do it as a hobby. On the opposite end, if you do want to get a professional photographer, it’s not fair to ask them to shoot your wedding at amateur prices.
Side note: It is also impolite to ask the photographer for unedited/RAW or SOOC (straight out of camera) images – that’s like asking a cake maker for the flour, eggs and butter. Part of what we do is to create the magic with our style of editing after the wedding.
Get the info
This is about knowing what photographers offer so you don’t book with someone that doesn’t have what you want.
For example, some photographers don’t offer digital images and therefore give you proof albums. Some photographers don’t give out the high-resolution digital images and only give you low to medium resolution images (this means you can’t print them bigger than A4 or so).
Some photographers have wedding coverage that goes by events (i.e. Bride prep to 1hr into reception) and others go by hours (i.e. 1pm to 8pm), so if you need more hours you may need to pay extra if your reception is running late or you want longer photography.
Some photographers shoot predominantly on their own and others always shoot with two photographers. Some offer to add the 2nd shooter at an additional rate.
Some studios have several photographers that they employ so it may be good to ask who will be allocated to you on your wedding day.
Offering these things is not wrong or bad business, I just wouldn’t want a client to book without understanding completely what they will receive.
If you’re not sure (as it can be pretty confusing) just ask.
Do your research
Looking around at different photographers will start to give you an idea of what you like and don’t like. I recommend making a list of your top 3 people that you’ve found, contact them to see if they’re available for your day and get their brochure information.
Then you can rule out anyone who is not available. It’s also important to look at their customer reviews and see what their clients say. Some will be registered to the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) like myself, but you don’t have to be a member to be a great photographer.
You can see what it means to be an AIPP accredited photographer here:
Most of a photographer’s work these days will be on their website/blog so you’ll be able to have a look at the majority of their work before even meeting them. You can also check out their Facebook and Instagram to see what they’re doing on a daily/weekly basis.
You may also want to check out their awards and memberships. Why? I’ve seen some businesses claim to be part of the AIPP when they’re not, and even say they’ve won competitions that aren’t legitimate. Crazy stuff right?
Meet with them before you decide to book
Meeting a photographer in person should give you a good indication of whether they’re right for you and your partner. You can also get any questions answered that you might have and go through sample albums so you know exactly what’s on offer.
Most photographers will offer an obligation-free consultation before you decide to book. Just don’t book with more than 2 at a time as it can get confusing!
During the meeting is when we normally cover your ceremony, reception and location ideas. You don’t have to have everything organised, but it gives us a rough guide of how your day might look.
You don’t plan a wedding every day so it can be very helpful to have someone draft up the schedule so you can see how things will come together.
Go with your gut
While I’m sure we’d all love to be a part of your day, you can only choose one. So go with your gut. Consider all the points above and make a decision that makes you and your partner happy. At the end of the day it’s your wedding. The last thing we – as photographers – want is for couples to make a snap decision or ‘settle’ for a photographer they weren’t keen on.
Often it’s best to take a few days to make your decision, but don’t take too long as good photographer will book out quickly!
Well that’s all folks! If you think of anything else that helped you in choosing your photographer, please let me know. I’d love to hear your stories!