The problem when shopping for your wedding photographer is that it’s very different to shopping for your wedding dress or floral decorations as you cannot see the photos until after the day has already passed! All you have to work off in a potential photographer is their prior work and testimonials, possibly from people you had already commissioned said photographer.
Personally I receive most of my enquiries through this very method. I may have covered a friend of a friend of your’s wedding and you’ve only heard good things regarding the resulting photos, or how relatable I was during the day. This sort of feedback is invaluable to me as it reaffirms my practice as a service and product that is valued highly by my previous clients, plus of course it drives more business to my door.
Make sure you like your photographer’s style though, and don’t be afraid to ask for similar photos you may have seen in friend’s photos or in magazines. Your photographer should always aim to please and provide what you feel you require from their services. Your special day will be documented for all time through the eyes and talent of this photographer, so look at their professional history, their portfolio, education, associations (with for example the AIPP) and possibly how they work on the day so you feel comfortable.
Choose carefully as the wedding photographer you choose will be an integral part of one of the most important days of your life. Any photographer worth their salt will be nearby throughout the day to capture each precious moment that arises to best tell the story of the day through pictures, rather than simply developing a range of unlinked pictures.
It all depends on the client of course, but as an experienced wedding photographer, I’ve been involved on a wedding day in a variety of ways, not just taking photos. I’ve been asked for advice on decorations, help with setting up things, grabbing tissues for sobbing family members, etc. Not many people get married very often so I guess it’s reassuring having someone there who has seen and experienced quite a few different weddings to foresee any issues that may arise.
Once you’ve chosen a few potential wedding photographers, send off a few emails looking for further details on pricing and the possibility of meeting face-to-face. This can be important as who wants to be photographed by a tense, nervous, or even abusive photographer? You’ll be stressed enough on your wedding without the need for all that..
Your wedding photographer should be able to outline how they will tailor their service to your day, to your timeline, and your desires. It’s what you pay them for. As a wedding photographer, the main complaint I hear from my client’s dealings with photographers in the past is the formulaic approach many tend to work by. They tend get the same shots at each wedding, and nothing is unique wedding to wedding. I feel this is boring and I try to rectify this by personalising my work to my clients. You’ll see in my gallery examples of this where for example, I take hobbies of my clients and integrate them into my work.
Finally, for heaven’s sake, don’t go on just price alone. Your cousin’s son who has a nice camera might be able to do your wedding for $100, but would it be any better than you as the bride or groom ran about with a mobile phone taking ‘selfies’ all day? It’s very short sighted and you definitely get what you pay for. That said however don’t just jump on the bandwagon of the highest price either. These photographers may or may not be worth the cash. Possibly they may be really good at marketing their work, but not so crash hot with photography. Do your research first.
The best photographer in my view is someone who genuinely enjoys what they do and treats each wedding as if it were their own. This is the mantra I go by as a wedding photographer as it seems to work. Some websites tend to quote a photographer as being 12% of your whole wedding budget as a guide. I don’t know about that, but it’s entirely up to you and what you can afford.
Just remember, especially in Adelaide, Australia there are hundreds of professional wedding photographers competing for your wedding. It is the city of churches, after all. I do my best to provide what you expect on a personal basis, and so far my clients have been very happy with my work.