5 Things You MUST Know About Wedding Photography
One of the hardest parts of the wedding planning process is choosing the right wedding photographer. You want awesome photos, images that will help you remember how amazing your wedding day was and basically photos that will get hundreds of Facebook and Instagram likes. You know the type of photos that make your single girlfriends want to get married and your married girlfriends hide their sepia-toned, dip-kiss wedding photos out of embarrassment when you come over to their house for Sangria Sundays. Yes, every bride wants and deserves kick ass wedding photos, and thankfully that task is more than possible with a little guidance. So here is that guidance and the top 5 reasons why it is important to find the right, kick-ass wedding photographer for your big day.
1. Photography Is Like Music
What many people may not realize is that photography is very much similar to music. What that means is that styles can be very different from one another, but each style has its own audience. There is no right or wrong “professional” music or photography, only different. Some people enjoy punk rock music, some people prefer country. I hate country music, unless I am drinking an Old Fashioned that is heavy-handed with good ole’ American bourbon. But that is just me. I also do not like wedding photos that feel staged or are void of emotion. You know when a couple is side-by-side starring at the camera with an absolute blank expression on their faces. But maybe you like that style? Remember these are your photos so choose the style you want. This is your car so play the music that makes you happy.
2. Personality Matters
Have you ever seen the movie Wedding Crashers? If you haven’t I feel sorry for you because you really are missing out on something amazing, but if you have you know who the character Todd Cleary is. Todd is a artist who in the middle of the night paints a nude photo of Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) called “Celebration”, which Todd describes as both sexual and violent. The moment is both funny and creepy as hell because Todd is a pretty much an absolute weirdo. The reason I mention Todd Cleary is because many wedding photographers share a similar personality as him. What I mean is wedding photographers are artists and artists can be a little introverted, artsy and sometimes just plain strange. If that is the sort of thing you are cool with than awesome! However, personality matters and it certainly is going to make a significant way on how someone views and documents your wedding. For example, a wedding photographer with a more passive personality might have a photojournalistic approach where they don’t want to talk with guests, wedding party members or basically anyone. They might opt for the “fly on the wall” approach. This can be a great fit for some brides and grooms, but couples who are a little timid or nervous having their photos taken might prefer a wedding photographer who is more active or engaged in the moments. For example, photographers who aren’t afraid to socialize, mingle or get on the dance floor to capture epic party shots. Also, remember your wedding photographer is going to be around you ALL DAY so it is important that you have a good vibe with each other.
3. Focus On Value NOT Price
Do you want to know why I am not driving a black Ferrari with limo tint windows right now? The answer is really simple: I prefer driving a Porsche….and I can’t afford a Porsche or a Ferrari as a wedding blogger. So I drive a Hyundai, a reliable vehicle at a solid price point given my current socio-economic status. Every bride and groom planning a wedding have different budgets to work with and that is very important to recognize. However, just because a bride has to work on a tight budget does not mean they should have crappy wedding photography, and one of the ways they can get a good deal on a kick ass wedding photographer is by focusing on value not price. What that means is skipping many of the bells and whistles such as wedding books, maximum hours of coverage and maybe even an engagement session. The value of a good a wedding photographer is in their time so focus on that. Find someone whose work you really love and try and see if they will offer 5-6 hours of coverage instead of 8-10 hours. Tell them you will also write them a awesome review for being accommodating. And explain that you just love their work and it would mean a lot for them to photograph your wedding (I mean we all loving hearing nice things right?). Having a kick ass wedding photographer for 5-6 hours is still way more valuable than someone with limited experience/skills offering 8 hours, engagement session and wedding book.
4. Preferred Vendor Doesn’t Mean Best Vendor
So you just booked your wedding at some swanky winery or hotel and the next thing on your to-do list is find a wedding photographer, but before you even start the search your wedding venue tells you they have a preferred vendor list of photographers that “know the property” and who “are very excellent photographers”. So what do you do next? The answer is a little more research because preferred vendors are NOT necessarily the best vendors. Often times, venues only have preferred vendors who fit their style and brand, or maybe they simply like those people on a personal level. Maybe they are on the same bowling team? Who knows really? But one thing is for damn sure and that is they are not preferred because they are necessarily the best photographers for you because there is no such thing (see point 1 about music being like photography). For example, say you always dreamed of getting married in a vineyard, but you are young, hot and like to Turn Up so you want photos that capture your energy and awesomeness. Well guess what? A winery is most likely NOT going to have a photographer like that on their preferred vendor list because their brand wants to sell classic, elegance and basically boring. They want photographers who capture staged dip kisses in the vines not bridesmaids slamming champagne on the dance floor. When a venue hands over a preferred vendor list you can totally check those people out and scan their art, but if it does not connect with you don’t give up. Do some google searches for wedding photographers in the area or even check on Yelp to see who has good reviews. Remember this is YOUR WEDDING so don’t let the venue decide what is best for you.
5. Meet Your Photographer BEFORE Booking
As we mentioned earlier, wedding photographers have different styles and personalities so before booking a wedding photographer you should totally set up a Skype or face-to-face meeting if possible. Chatting over a coffee or a couple beers is a excellent way to catch the vibe of a photographer, and that is important because your wedding photographer is the only vendor you hire that will literally be with you all day. When you get into your wedding dress they will be there. When you spill champagne on that wedding dress during the reception they will still be there. Snap, snap, snap, snap, all, day, long.
This article was authored by Palm Springs wedding photographer Ryan Horban