Do you need a little help understanding the differences between, and choosing from, wedding photography package options? This post is meant to give you a little insight on the topic, and a starting point for questions to ask your photographer.
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.
Next, consider editing style. Are you attracted to photos that look like an Instagram filter was applied? Do you like photos to look true to color and classic? Here's my take on edit style: Go with classic and minimally edited! Trends come and go in editing, but your wedding photos need to last a lifetime. Do you want a trendy edit, only to find that you're no longer attracted to that look in 20 years and you can't reverse those photos back to their natural state? By minimally editing my digital files, I know that my clients will have natural timeless photos to print 20 or 30 or 40 years from now!
Lighting is a third consideration to make. Does your photographer use only environmental light, or do they bring their own lighting setups such as strobes and soft boxes? 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 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!
Lastly, what are the advantages of a second photographer? There are a few! No matter how much your photographer prepares for technical difficulties, photos could be lost due to camera or memory card malfunction. A second photographer is a backup for that potential technical failure. A second photographer can also be in a different place at the same time. They can be at the back of the aisle at the ceremony while the lead photographer is at the front of the aisle, etc.
There are SO many photographers out there to choose from for your wedding, and each one will have a little different style and a few different package options. My hope is that you now have a few important points to consider when you're preparing to choose yours!