Tips and Advice for Finding Your Dream Wedding Photographer
Happy 2019, everyone! Wooh, 2018 was the year to beat. I never thought in a million years that I would be where I am at today. I have had the opportunity to collaborate and document some amazing couples, families, and even expanded a bit further in to boudoir. Y’all, it’s been a good year. 2019, I hope you are ready for the awesome surge that is Fancy This!
Starting this year I plan on giving you guys and gals some good content on planning for your wedding! Let me just say that I am not a planner…nope! BUT, I do know a thing or two about planning a meeting with your potential wedding photographer, things to ask them, how to prep for those sweet detail shots on the day of your wedding, and just some good insight on what I think is the most important aspect of your day. Well, most important right besides actually marrying your beau.
Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. Not only am I teaching more this year, but I am also putting out content for other photographers. If you are a newbie photographer, or want to start building your empire, I may have a few blog posts coming out that you may want to indulge in. If it’s anything that I’ve learned thus far—education is key.
Since this is prime engagement season, I thought it was only fitting to share our first ever educational blog series for what you should be on the lookout for when booking your wedding photographer. Trust me, when you start looking for one, you will realize that there are HUNDREDS of photographers. It can be a bit overwhelming, so hopefully these tips and bits of advice can help ease the process. If you are wanting to add to the conversation, feel free to follow me on instagram as I ask my followers for their experience and will definitely add yours to the mix. You can follow me at @nikki_fancythis
Tips and Advice for Finding Your Dream Wedding Photographer
Word of Mouth
First things first…youre engaged and now you have the daunting task of searching for someone to document the most important day of your life to date thus far. Where do you even start? Well, for starters you can reach out to family and friends who were recently married. Word of mouth travels near and far, and I can speak with my own experience, I really take my friends advice when it comes to things like this. However, if youre friends and family arent planning on throwing the same caliber of celebration that you are throwing…their advice may not be as sound.
For instance, lets say your friend from some time years ago decided she was going to get married in a barn somewhere and they used “so and so photographer” from small town, USA to photograph it. Cool. But, the kicker is…you are planning on having your wedding inside a ballroom with zero windows (note* no natural light). The ballroom is gorgeous—you have sweet details at every crevice of the space, with large and long white sheer curtains that soften up the ambience. Pretty, right? Eh, not if you don’t have a photographer who knows how to light the space up.
You look at your friends wedding photographer and realize that you see minimal to zero images of anything inside. This is a problem that you should address if you were to reach out to them. Maybe the photographer chooses not to showcase on their website any images inside just as a personal preference, which is fine. But, you should ask them to show you a wedding where at least a portion of it was inside. When you do this, you get to see how that photographer used light to light their subjects. If images are blurry, not enough light on the subjects to properly see expressions, or just a little flat, then this photographer may not know the necessary procedures to take to make the day extra memorable.
The main thing to be aware of when listening to family and friends is comparing how similar your weddings are in regards to ambience, venue, and even price. My best advice for couples trying to find their photographer is to look at your potential photographers full wedding galleries. This is not something that can simply be found on their website. This is something that they can send through an online gallery. Photographers choose their very best images to showcase on their website, and if they posted every single image on their website, it would inevitably slow their website down. So, instead, they store online galleries elsewhere.
Ask for specific galleries that are similar to your wedding. If you are getting married outside near water, ask to see a gallery with that. Water shows a glare in photographs, so—ask for a gallery so you can see how they handled the glare. If you are getting married inside an estate home, ask for a gallery that showcases an inside wedding.
Know the Style You Want
I know you are new to this, but I am going to try and break it down for you as simply as possible. Y’all, again, there are hundreds of photographers in your area. However, they are all different. The good thing is that you can sort of navigate what kind of style you like and are drawn to. Let’s go over a few different styles that you will probably be aware of.
Traditional: These are the types of galleries that showcase very prim and proper posing. Some refer to this as an old school type of portraiture, but the results can still be breathtaking. Traditional type of portraiture does not really stray away from posed pictures, but more so the photographer photographs in hopes of these images adorning your huge fireplace in your mansion. They are classic in style and classic never fades. If you are wanting more of an authentic and fun type of wedding photographs, this may not be the style for you.
Photo-Journalistic: This is like the exact opposite of traditional. If a photographer is a true photojournalistic photographer, there is very minimal amounts of posing that they do. Most of what they showcase are those true emotions that happen during the day. Like capturing hands holding during the father of the brides toast, or a tear between the mom and her son during their mother and son dance. A true photojournalistic photographer is on the mission to document those moments that go by rather quickly and unnoticed. When looking at their galleries you may see all aspects of emotions, and they are there to capture that. Things to ask this type of photographer is how they document bridal party photographs (since traditionally speaking, they are posed) and even family formals.
Lifestyle: This is mixture of traditional and photojournalistic. This type of photography consists of giving the couple tasks to do, and documenting them doing those tasks. For instance, they may ask the groom to twirl his bride or to walk together through the gardens. This can be great for the couple because it takes their mind off of “posing” and it gives the photographer a chance to capture the fun moments that happen between the couple.
Light and Airy: Light and airy photography has really nothing to do with what type of portraiture the photographer takes. This is the type of editing and shooting style that the photographer does. You can spot this easily if you are looking at a photographers portfolio and see a lot of bright imagery. It is, literally, how it sounds—light and airy. Some people really enjoy this type of imagery, and others aren’t really drawn to it.
Dark and Moody: Dark and moody photography shows more interest in shadows, stark lines, and maybe even a darker exposure. This can be easily spotted in a photographers portfolio. Normally people are taken aback by the style immediately, or they have fallen completely in love with it. Which is great, because you should definitely pick a side when choosing how you want your day captured.
Meet With Them
Either in person, skype, or facetime. This one is super simple…this photographer is going to be with you all day. I am not kidding, your photographer will be with you more on your wedding day than your future husband or wife. If this person doesn’t mesh with you, then it’s going to be an awful experience. You need to absolutely adore one another, trust them, and to be over the moon happy with their body of work. If not, then start over. Trust me, if you do not trust your wedding photographer on the day of your wedding, that will inevitably effect their work produced. Unless that photographer is a psychopath with no emotions, this will eat at them all day if you do not trust them. Y’all, if you dont trust them in the beginning, its time to look other places.
This one seems like common sense, but I am here to tell you it is not. When you start the process of reaching out to photographers—notice who responds back in a timely manner. If you reach out to them at 8pm at night, yeah, this does not apply to that because photographers have lives after 5pm, too. But, if you reach out to them and they respond within 24 hours, that is awesome. If it takes them a few days to get back to you, it may not be the best route you go with if you prefer prompt replies. I am not saying you should be a bridezilla and expect a reply within 30 minutes—I am saying that if it takes days to respond to your email and you are the type of person that appreciates efficiency…this may stress you out. If your photographer opens the door to open communication, accept it and tell them exactly what you want in regards to wedding photography. Trust me, a great photographer will gladly accept and will give you all of the information you will need to move forward, and what to expect in the process.
Places to find Wedding Photographers in your Area
And lastly, let’s go over some simple areas that you may or may not have already started your search on.
WeddingWire : WeddingWire is awesome because it is a simple area that the engaged couple can go on and search for multiple types of vendors. You can also see a ballpark range of price for that certain vendor. WeddingWire hosts reviews (which I highly recommend you look at) for vendors and shows a gallery of images for each business. This is great if you are looking for a venue, baker, photographer—literally, almost anything. The downside to this is that there are a ton of vendors listed on the site. There is not a high jump for vendors to get on to the website, so what that means is if someone was just toying with the idea of being a photographer…they could just sign up for a business account and WAH-LA, they are ready for business. You, as the consumer, would need to differentiate between a newbie vendor, and a true pro. Again, you can do this with reviews.
The Knot : Same thing as above. In fact, if my memory serves me right, have merged together. They are under the same ownership, so some of the things on their website are similar. I will say, The Knot does a better job of hosting more quality vendors on their website.
Google : Yep, handy dandy google always comes in clutch. Just make sure you type in specifics like “Durham Wedding Photographer” or “Durham Film Photographer” if you are leaning more towards a film look. You know this already, but specifics are key.
Local Wedding Magazines : This is probably your best bet to find qualified professionals in your area. Local wedding magazines take time to get to know the vendors in the area, and curate magazines that highlight the best of the best in the area. If you are local to the triangle area of North Carolina you may find top vendors in Southern Bride and Groom, and even Weddings Look Book.
Of course, if you think I should add any other details to this blog post, feel free to reach out. I am looking forward to more of this in 2019! Cheers, yall!