Nearly one million U.S. couples were just engaged between Christmas Eve and Valentine’s Day and they have all begun to plan their weddings. Congratulations! Now the hard part begins . . . After the ring, the venue, and sometimes the dress, the wedding photographer is typically next on the list of wedding professionals that need to be booked for their big day.
Usually, couples are searching for their wedding photographer six to 12 months before their wedding and choosing just the right photographer is a priority for most couples. Because it is so important to them it can be an anxiety-inducing experience, but it doesn’t have to be. After 14 years and more than 400 weddings, Orlando, Florida wedding photographer Brian Adams offers these five “P” words of advice for newly-engaged couples searching for the perfect photographer:
Portfolio: The most important thing is to connect with every image in the photographer’s portfolio. Look at multiple albums and complete weddings. Experienced wedding photographers need to have the unique combination skill set of portrait photographers, commercial photographers, fashion photographers, news photojournalists, and food photographers. As a client, you don’t have to know anything about photography, equipment, photo editing, or art. What’s important is that the quality of the images should impress you and “speak to you,” and be exactly what you want for your wedding.
Personality: Your photographer will be working with you before, during, and after your wedding, so you need to be able to get along well with him and make sure he has your best interests in mind. Are you the type of couple that wants a director-type who is going to pose you all day? Would you like a laid-back photographer who stays virtually invisible and captures candid moments like a photojournalist? Either way, you want a photographer who cares about you, your photos, and has a passion for what she does. Having trust in your photographer is so important, because then she is free to create beautiful images for you and you are free to be yourself and to not worry about the photography.
Presentation: Your photographer will be a visible part of your wedding. He will be with you for most of your wedding day and he will be around all of your guests. You might be surprised at the lack of dress code that some photographers have, but if presentation is important to you, you may want to consider: How does your photographer look? What does he wear? How are you treated in the office, over the phone, and via email?
Proof: A photographer will show you what he wants you to see, but what about the things you can’t see? How much experience does she have? What are other couples, venues, and wedding professionals’ experience with him? Look for some reassuring proof with recommendations and reviews. Experience matters a lot. Many photographers can pull off some great photos if the conditions are great. But what happens when the weather isn’t right, the wedding is starting late and there is a time crunch for photos, or their camera malfunctions? Find out from every photographer you are considering if they have ever been in situations like these, and most importantly how they handled each situation.
Price: This may be obvious, but none of this matters if the photographer you want is out of your price range.