7 Tips for Hiring a Wedding Photographer
Other than the marriage licence, your photos are one of the very few things you will have leftover from your wedding day for the rest of your life. Future generations will come to cherish and protect them for decades.
I have heard so many horror stories about wedding photographers this year, it’s not even funny.
A staggering amount of people have come to me lamenting that the photographer either didn’t know what they were doing, and the photos turned out terrible, to photographers who claim to be professionals while they sit on their butts and complain about how tired they are.
In an effort to help, I’ve gone and compiled a list of things I would look for if I were to ever hire my own photographer, and I hope it gives you a bit of insight when you are trying to avoid the many bad apples out there.
This is a costly investment for a photographer, and it isn’t flashy like a new lens or an upgraded speedlight. If they’ve spent thousands of dollars to make sure their couple is covered if something goes wrong, chances are they are serious about their business.
Every top-notch photographer is a tiny bit paranoid, and it’s a good thing. This means they will have backups of their backups, replace their memory cards on a regular basis and have it clearly written in their contract what happens if they lose your photos.
A good artist is serious about always improving, and will recognize the value of paying for the knowledge of more experienced photographers.
It doesn’t matter if you have the latest, most expensive gear if you don’t know how to take a good picture to begin with, and pros will shell out serious cash to learn from the best!
Ask if they are willing to give you a few names and numbers of past clients that you can call and ask about how their experience was. Ask the references if there was anything they didn’t like about the photographer.
Do some digging into online reviews too. Places like Facebook, Google, Better Business Bureau and Yelp don’t let photographers cherry-pick their best reviews to showcase like many online wedding sites.
Skim the posts on their blog. They might not post every first dance photo they take, but do they consistently have key moment photos from each wedding in every post? (First kiss, first look, first dance etc.)
Anybody can get lucky once and get a one in a million first look shot, but it takes a professional to be able to anticipate and capture a first kiss at every wedding they go to.
Meet in Person
Never hire someone without meeting them in person first. (Or video chat if you’re too far away)
Take note of details during the interview. Did they show up nicely dressed, or like they just rolled out of bed? Are they open and honest with all their answers, or do they evade and downplay key questions? Are they polite and friendly, or closed and stand-off-ish?
Go with your gut
If something feels off, it probably is. Many bad photographers are still in business simply because the clients that hire them don’t take the time to do their research, or get to know the photographer before they sign the contract.
If there’s something that you don’t like, but can’t put a finger on it, don’t hire them. A true professional won’t be offended by being turned down, and will appreciate your honesty.
On a closing note, remember, you will be spending just as much time, if not more, with your photographer on your wedding day as your new spouse, so you need to have a really good connection with them from the start.
A high quality photographer will double as a dress floofer, purse carrier, and question bouncer-offer… not because it’s in the contract that they do these things, but because they genuinely love and care about their clients, and want them to have the best day of their lives.
I wish you all the best in your search for the perfect photographer who is exactly the right blend of artistically talented, business savvy, and expert dress floofer!