October 9, 2019 / Weddings
Things to Consider When Hiring a Wedding Photographer
There are so many things to think about when you’re hiring a wedding photographer! Your budget, their pricing, and the photo style you’re dreaming of might come to mind right away. But what about making sure your personalities are a good match? And even though the budget is often #1, have you considered your photographer’s level of experience and expertise? The list of important factors goes on and on!
This week I decided to share a few of my own insights on this topic. But, I also wanted to dig a little deeper than that, because let’s be honest, I’m a little biased! 😉 So I asked my clients to share their thoughts & advice on the most important things to think about as the wedding veterans that they are, so that you can feel 100% confident when hiring a wedding photographer that’s perfect for you!
BIG THANK YOU to Emily, Stephanie, Jessica, Robyn & Lisa for to only hiring me as their wedding photographer but for all your endless cheerleading of my work and for helping me write this article!
Personality & Vibe
First of all, it’s super important that you and your photographer are a good fit personality-wise. If you’re on the same page, your photos will feel more relaxed & comfortable, and you’ll have so much fun! One of the things that I hear over and over again from my clients is that the reason they booked with me, beyond pricing and even sometimes beyond style, was that we got along so well (which makes my heart burst a little bit).
What my clients say:
“During our visit to Michele’s studio, we loved that she had so much wall art and album examples to show us. Obviously, for one thing, it helped to see examples of her work, and secondly, it helped to see what was available to us for purchase after our wedding. I also couldn’t help but notice that when pointing out her various past couples’ photos, she recounted details of their wedding days as well as anecdotes about the couples themselves – this aspect of Michele is intangible, you can tell that she really cares about her couples even well past their weddings. This helped us to feel more comfortable with sharing our emotions in front of Michele.”
“I knew that I wanted to hire Michele after our first meeting! I met her without my fiance, and when I saw him I had SO many good things to say about her, and he agreed that we could hire her when he saw how excited I was! Michele was so easy to talk to, and seemed to understand the exact vibe we were going for right away, and was obviously very passionate about what she does!”
“She gave me a call and we talked for about an hour over the phone. That was the main thing that convinced me as through the phone call we were able to identify that our personalities really worked well together and that she had a lot of experience.”
Photography & Editing Style
Every photographer has a different style, so before you start looking for the right person, it’s worth identifying your own personal style, too. If you’re envisioning bright & airy photos but your photographer loves dark & moody shots, you may be in for a difficult conversation later on!
My style is usually on the bright and airy side, and although I do some light editing to make sure you don’t have crazy flyaway hairs or super noticeable blemishes, I don’t nip & tuck. Oh, and all of the images you choose for albums or wall art get a little extra love.
What my clients say:
“[Michele’s] style of photography obviously drew us in first, but after sending a request for pricing Michele gave me a call to discuss her package and experience. She was so personable and easy to get along with. She then invited my fiance and I over to her in home studio to look at her portfolio – we ended up being there for a few hours as well. All in all, Michele made us feel so comfortable and that was what made our decision!”
“Pick a photographer that you like their work style. Don’t get settled with awkward, stationary poses. Find someone who brings out raw emotions. You’ll be amazed by the outcomes. With Michele, rest assured you will treasure every shot she takes”
The Value of Your Package
Budget is important when hiring a wedding photographer, for sure, but the true value is about so much more important than price! Consider the experience your photographer offers, and the intention and attention they’re willing and able to give you. The right photographer is as invested in your day as you are, and treats your wedding as if it were their (instead of treating you like you’re just another client in their busy schedule).
What my clients say:
“Michele’s value is not only in the wonderful photos that she takes, but also in the extra care and love she puts into your wedding photos! She cares about helping you feel comfortable in front of the camera, in making you feel supported and calm on your wedding day, and in making sure you get real hard copies of your photos for lasting memories. She showed this all through the support she offered leading up to the wedding (from the engagement photo shoot, to answering my many emails and phone calls and offering advice on wedding vendors!), and through the amazing album she made for us, which was such a weight off my mind because she made the process so easy for us!”
“She was available for consultation before the day of to make recommendations on colours, timing for lighting and overall experience with weddings, what works well and what doesn’t. On the day of she was fantastic, suggesting locations, poses, things to photograph and on one instance to just breathe to calm down! She also offered flexibility on finish times to make sure she captured our day so well!”
“Why is this so expensive?”
“It’s only one day! How can this cost so much?”
“I just don’t understand where my money is going!”
When it comes to hiring a wedding photographer and selecting your package, I’ve heard it all! And honestly, I get it. If you haven’t photographed a wedding before, it can be hard to see why the costs creep up into the thousands so quickly.
Something to think about is that on average, I spend at least 10 hours prepping before a wedding, a full day on the day of the wedding, and about 40 hours after the wedding (seriously!!).
That includes the post-wedding image processing, culling down the photos from thousands to a few hundred, editing, preparing my client gifts (yes I give presies to all my clients!), and then getting albums & artwork ready for print.
(Want to learn more about average wedding photography costs? This is a great article from Wedding Wire. Costs are in USD, but it’s still a good reference!)
What my clients say:
“I had done some research beforehand that helped me to understand why photographers’ prices were a bit higher than anticipated, I hadn’t taken into consideration how much time it takes outside of the actual wedding itself. Michele’s package also includes the album which we factored in when comparing others’ costs. Photography packages differ so much so comparing apples to apples isn’t the easiest – one package may look higher but includes much more that we would have purchased in the end anyway!”
“In so many ways! Michele’s value is not only in the wonderful photos that she takes, but also in the extra care and love she puts into your wedding photos! She cares about helping you feel comfortable in front of the camera, in making you feel supported and calm on your wedding day, and in making sure you get real hard copies of your photos for lasting memories. She showed this all through the support she offered leading up to the wedding (from the engagement photo shoot, to answering my many emails and phone calls and offering advice on wedding vendors!), and through the amazing album she made for us, which was such a weight off my mind because she made the process so easy for us!”
Albums & Keepsakes
As you probably know, I’m slightly obsessed with making sure my couples walk away with tangible wedding heirlooms & keepsakes. Again, I know I’m biased, but this is your wedding day! You deserve albums & artwork so you can relive your day forever.
When you’re ready to jump in and start to look at hiring a wedding photographer, it’s worth considering if they give you products beyond a USB.
What my clients say:
“We definitely would have ordered an album regardless of it being included in our package – however we likely would have gotten it done somewhere on our own if our photographer didn’t offer it. We haven’t met up to discuss our album yet, but I know the quality and the layout of the photos is going to be exponentially better than if we did it on our own. We appreciate that Michele includes this in each package as it makes the album a no brainer. Same with the prints, it takes out a lot of stress, research and procrastination to have a photographer who offers all of these extras”
“So important! When we first started planning our wedding, I thought that I might make a wedding scrapbook, since I grew up making scrapbooks for many of our family vacations! Having tangible photos was already very important to me. I am very glad that we chose to have an album made instead though, because I doubt that I would have started making a scrapbook yet, almost a year later!”
I couldn’t resist asking my clients:
If you have already received your album or other products (engagement album, prints, etc..) how did you feel when you received them?
“Overwhelmed with emotions. Happy tears ALL THE TIME”
“So happy!! We ordered two canvas prints and one album, and they were exactly what we wanted and MORE. I still show the album to anyone who hasn’t seen it, and often take it out and flip through if I have a few spare minutes. It is beautiful!”
“Oh my I love my photos so much! Michele has also helped me pick from my hundreds of favourite photos to create a fantastic album. There were so many pictures that were awesome that I couldn’t narrow my choices!”
Of course you’ll want to consider your potential photographer’s experience and expertise. Have they done this before? Do they know how to handle all of the things that can come up photography-wise on a wedding day?
My advice: Ask to see a full wedding from each photographer you’re considering! All you see on Instagram are highlights, and let me tell you a full wedding has all kinds of photography challenges (mostly related to lighting), so you’ll want to see how they approach a reception, a rainy day and harsh sun.
Side Note: Does your photographer have insurance?
I do! Having insurance in my mind shows that a business owner takes what they do seriously – and insurances not only they are protected but so are you, and some venues even require it
What my clients say:
“Experience plays a huge role. I don’t want someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing to take photos at such an important event. Especially since I don’t plan events regularly. I have to trust the photographer a lot. I’m not going to know how to stand or what lighting is going to look the best. Secondly, their experience leads into how well the photographer’s personality works with my vision for the wedding.”
“You get what you pay for and with the quality and expertise that Michele brings to wedding photography she is worth every penny!”
To wrap up, I asked my clients…
What advice would you give to a couple looking into hiring a wedding photographer?
“I would suggest to meet with your photographer before booking. They may take great photos and have good reviews but not vibe well with yourself and your partner – ultimately I imagine that would lead you to feeling (more) awkward while being photographed. I also want to note that I never planned on getting engagement photos but I’m so glad that they’re included in Michele’s packages – the reason may seem obvious but it’s an opportunity to get to know each other and loosen up in front of the camera before the big day! Michele’s ability to connect personally with her clients is what elevates her photos from beautiful pictures of people, to being able to capture so many raw, personal moments and emotions.”
“I would say, definitely meet with some photographers (including Michele!) and find one that suits your personality and your style, and someone who you get along well with- because they are going to be with you all day on your wedding! I have already recommended Michele to a few friends, and I always tell them how much she cares about her couples and what she does. I also have raved about all the work Michele put into our album and and our photos after the wedding- that kind of help post-wedding is priceless!”
—Stephanie van Pelt
“I would tell them to meet with the photographer before committing to them as your wedding photographer and asking lots of questions to get to know their style, pricing, and what they value as a photographer. I would also make sure to give them a feel/idea of what you envision your wedding to look like so they can help make that happen. I would also recommend doing your engagement photos with them to experience first-hand their skills & style as a photographer. As far as Michele, I would tell them to pick her because of her passion and genuine care for capturing your special day and because she will make you feel so comfortable in front of the camera on your big day. She is also so organized, knowledgeable in the wedding business and will make your big day run so smoothly from beginning to end!