Firstly, congratulations for those of you who are newly engaged, and for those of you already starting your research you’ve found the right place. Angel Project Wedding has been in business for over ten years with many more decades of experience among our staff photographers. The most asked question we encounter when we have meetings with our brides is, “Why should we pick Angel Project over anyone else?”. And that’s exactly what they should be asking! Picking a wedding photographer is not like strolling down the produce aisle at your local grocery store nor does it require a wedding planner to do right either. Here are five quick tips to get you headed in the right direction!
1. Check Wedding Vendor Aggregates!
There’s a reason why websites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire are so popular amongst brides to be and professionals alike. They offer a reliable and consistent measuring stick that you can use to compare different vendors. After narrowing down first by location and then by budget, fine tuning your “picks” takes more time. We would highly suggest looking not just at the quality of the reviews (5 vs 4 vs 3 stars, etc) but also stress the importance of the quantity of reviews (100 vs 5 reviews). For example, if you find two competitive photographers of similar price, style, and location but one has a perfect track record of 5 stars while the other only 4, the slightly less rated photographer may be a more reliable pick if he/she has many more reviews than the other!
2. Company or Freelance?
This is a highly debatable topic with people from both sides clamoring to have their voice be heard. On the one hand, freelancers boast their independence, artistic freedom, and personal attention to service while on the other, companies continue to claim that they offer professionalism, reliability, and a wealth of experience. It’s impossible for us to argue for either side without showing bias of course but what we can say is that with any industry there are concrete differences between and independent freelancer and a company. In general, freelancers are more able to work in a personal manner which can come with both pros and cons. In addition, they are free to spend as little or as much time as they can afford on you as a client. Companies, are generally more structured and have to work harder to maintain a standard of quality as they are employing more than one photographer and almost always have a physical location where you can view prints, have meetings, and more.
We think that with a freelancer you may have a great photographer but it will be hard to know before your wedding date after which it would of course be too late. A company can be trusted simply by the fact that if they were not trustworthy they would not be around anymore. Competition is fierce and anyone who does not live up to their pricing’s standard of quality will be swiftly eaten up.
3. Figure Out Your Photography Style
Now you might be thinking, I know nothing about photography! That’s exactly why I’m hiring a photographer! And you’re absolutely right. However, it is important for you and your significant other to do some research on the various styles of photography that wedding photographers commonly utilize to better equip yourselves for the terms they may use and their styles. Generally, photography styles will range from very natural and photojournalistic towards the more avant-garde and fine art creative look. A good place to start would be to just look through all the top-rated wedding photographers on the popular aggregate sites and see which photos you like most! It’s important to be critical of your own tastes and ask yourself if you’ll like that artsy, film-like photo style in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now! If you’re not sure we would argue that going for the least-processed looking photo style is the safest bet!
4. Always Have a Meeting!
You must absolutely have a meeting with your photographer, especially so if you’re uncertain about choosing them! Why? Because there is no better way to judge the professionalism, quality, and attitude of your photographer to whom you’re about to give thousands of dollars than to meet them in person. Anyone can write a sweet email or send you enthusiastic text messages but the quickest and simplest interaction in-person can speak volumes. In addition, seeing actual sample albums and prints in-person is completely different from viewing images on your computer. The smallest imperfections and blemishes will be greatly magnified if viewed on paper and the differences in quality amongst photographers will stand out much more versus some Instagram photos or the website gallery.
5. Budget, Budget, Budget!
The most important place to begin after researching what goes into a wedding, is to find out how much you would like to spend on your photography. Everything from your vendor choice, to guest count, and time of day will impact how much it will cost for you to hire a photographer so having all these set in stone first is helpful. In addition, consider the advantages of having two photographers instead of just one so that each shooter can capture you and your groom at the same time. Or the fact that videos can capture the day in ways that photos cannot.
We hope that you have a rewarding and fruitful time researching and planning for your upcoming wedding and hope that these simple but important tips can help you find the photographer that you need. It may be intimidating at first but just take it all one step at a time, together, and before you know it, wedding day will be here and be a blast!