Recently a few of my best friends asked me to help them find a wedding photographer for their upcoming wedding. After asking some questions to get an idea of what they were looking for, I quickly noticed that outside the “I just want nice photos,” they really had no idea what to look for in a photographer. They trusted my opinion as a friend and a professional wedding photographer to help them find the photographer that will fit their styles, but not everyone has a wedding photographer as a friend. So here are some things that I recommend to look for/to ask any potential photographer you’re considering hiring.
Ah, style. Isn’t that just some fancy term that creatives use that really has no definition because it’s all subjective? Well yes. But it’s super important to think about. If you love a lot of color, you probably shouldn’t hire someone who edits their photos with a monochromic (one color/similar colors) color scheme. If you love black and white, you probably shouldn’t hire someone who doesn’t offer black and white photos. If you hate super traditional and posed photos, you shouldn’t hire someone who does that. See? It’s important to know what you’re wanting.
So some of you now are saying…well I don’t know what my style is. I just like pretty photos. Well, that’s the perfect starting place. When you’re looking on Pinterest, Instagram, a photographer’s website, etc. ask yourself what you LIKE about the photo. Do you like the bright, airy look of the photos? Do you like the monochromatic, cohesiveness of the wedding photos? Do you like that the couple is having a natural, intimate moment and it looks like they just happened to have a photographer there to capture it? Do you like how different the wedding photos are because you’ve never seen any photos like it before? Those are some questions to ask yourself. After you do that, you’ll easily be able to determine what style you’re attracted to.
I highly, highly recommend hiring someone who will have a second photographer at the wedding. If it’s an extra expense…do it. Not only will you be guaranteed to receive more photos, but you’ll receive a more variety of photos. For instance, at weddings I photograph I generally follow the couple around all night at the reception, while my second photographer takes photos of the guests on the dance floor, the table that is full of constant laughter, the little girl who is seriously loving her piece of cake, etc. The latter are moments that may potentially be missed without a second photographer.
Now I’ll be honest, this is a difficult question to answer when a potential client asks. There are many factors that go into how many photos you’ll receive as a final product. But any photographer should be able to give you an estimate on how many photos you’ll receive based off the time they are there. Even if it’s a general range, it’ll be beneficial for you to know what to expect at the end.
Turn around rate and batch editing is probably not something that’s usually thought of when looking into a photographer. But it is super important because this varies greatly between photographers.
So what is batch editing? Batch editing is when a photographer edits a group (batch) of similar photos all at once through a preset they created. So what does this mean? It means that a) all your photos look pretty much identical, with little to no variety between the photos. b) *generally* it’s minor editing (contrast, brightness, color toning) with little to no creative/detailed editing c) the turnaround rate is fast.
On the flip side, a photographer who individually edits each photo means that a) more attention is focused on each photo. Someone has a flyaway hair? Edited out. A bruise? Edited out. Their eyes closed? Swap their head from another photo. Because more time is focused on each photo, things that may be overlooked when batch editing can be fixed b) each photo will have the same “feel” (here’s where style comes back into play) but may be edited slightly different based on the lighting, background, etc. [You generally get more “variety” in your photos] c) the turnaround rate is usually longer.
So which one should you go with? Either. Neither option is a “better” or “worse”. It all depends on what you’re expecting and your potential photographers work flow. If you want your photos quickly after your wedding, I’d recommend looking for a photographer that batch edits. If you don’t mind waiting longer for your photos and want a photographer that spends more time on each photo, pick one that doesn’t batch edit.
*Disclaimer: Not all photographers who batch edit won’t do any creative or detailed editing. Some do. I actually do a mix of batch editing and creative editing for every wedding I photograph.
So there’s my professional take on some questions to ask your potential wedding photographer. It may seem overwhelming, but a lot of these questions can be answered by looking at their website and social media platforms. Wedding photographers want to help you have the wedding day you’re envisioning, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!
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