There are SO MANY options out there for wedding photographers. Trying to make sense of the differences can be overwhelming. Here are the three factors I feel are most important to consider:
The first thing to consider when choosing your wedding photographer, is what style of photos you want. I'm not talking about how the photos are edited. I'm referring to how the photos are made. Is it a photojournalistic style, in which the photographer stays out of the way and takes photos of natural moments? Is it a directed style, in which the photographer poses you in a specific way in a specific light and asks you to imitate certain actions to create a desired photo? Is it a mixture of both? How much direction do you want from your photographer on your wedding day?
In my opinion, style of shooting is the most important factor to consider when choosing your wedding photographer. It will affect how you experience your big day. After all, your wedding photographer will be spending a lot of time with you! Consider style of shooting for the non-portrait parts of the day. Do you want your photographer to pose you pretending to adjust your tie or veil and set you up in various poses and facial expressions, or do you want to get ready and naturally enjoy those moments?
My photography style is mostly photojournalistic, but I will typically give my clients a tiny bit of direction here and there throughout the day. "Prompting" is how I refer to my gentle direction. I may, for instance, point the couple into the most flattering light, or ask the bride to spend a moment with her mother in front of the window, but what they do with the time that follows that prompt is entirely their own decision. They may laugh awkwardly, or they may start to cry when they make eye contact, but their natural emotions will come through and it's important for them to enjoy that time without my interference.
Lighting is another consideration to make. Does your photographer use only environmental light, or do they bring their own lighting setups? If much of your wedding will take place indoors, and your photographer only uses natural light or a simple on-camera flash, your photos will be a bit less dynamic, or more flat looking.
Consider the two photos above. The first photo is of a great moment, but the second photo is more dramatically lit by an off-camera lighting setup. It's difficult to find words to describe why the second photo pulls you in a little more, but the lighting is the difference!
Can you see a full wedding gallery? Will your photographer show you one or two full weddings from start to finish? BEWARE the photographer who shares only outdoor photos! Taking pictures in a dark reception hall is so much more complicated than taking them in sunlight!
3. PACKAGE OPTIONS
How many hours of coverage do you need? Some photographers offer different packages with different numbers of hours. I don't. And there are SO MANY reasons why! I want to tell the story of each wedding. I want to get photos of all of the details and all of the moments. I don't want anyone to "fake" putting their makeup on because I showed up after they were finished with it. I don't want anyone feeling rushed because they could only afford 6 hours. I put the same amount of work into each and every wedding. It costs me the same amount of money to advertise for each one and to maintain my equipment for each one. I spend the same amount of time communicating with my clients and preparing for each one. A couple of extra hours at the wedding and a couple of extra hours editing the images doesn't really affect my bottom line or the total number of hours I invest in my business. Other package options typically include engagement sessions and albums. Can you add these later? Or do you have to purchase them up front? It's an important question to ask!
Do you need a second photographer? Sometimes, but not always. A professional, experienced wedding photographer with high quality equipment can cover a wedding day alone without difficulty. Does your photographer's camera save to one memory card or two? What happens if a memory card fails? How does he/she structure the timeline or his/her position in the room to make sure you get everything you want in your photos? Ask this question and see how comfortable you are with the answer.
If you're planning a wedding in or near Northern Ohio and looking for a photographer, send me a message! I'd love to answer all of these questions for you!