How I Chose My Photographer (and tips that will help you too!)

I desperately needed to update my blog and website head shots. Although they were lovely, my husband did take them in my back garden about two years ago, so it was definitely time for an upgrade.

I am so unbelievably lucky to be in the wedding industry and friends with many outstandingly talented people, including photographers, so I guess in a way I have a huge advantage. However, I would like to share with you a few tips and advice that I used when choosing a photographer for my personal photo shoot that you can use to choose the perfect photographer for your wedding.

Tip #1: Know your style

Photography is an art. There are many styles and techniques that make each photographer an individual. Some photographers use sharp filters and artistic angles to create contemporary looks, some prefer natural light to create a lifestyle photo, some like creating traditional posed scenes, where some prefer to catch candid moments. Some photographers prefer shooting in a studio/ controlled environment, others love going on location.

I really wanted my personally to shine through in my photographs. I am a very earthy, natural, laid back person. I grew up on the beach, got married on the beach and find that is where I smile the brightest. Therefore, I knew I wanted a photographer who had a flair for using soft natural light and who was comfortable photographing on location.

Tips #2: Know what you want

Like when you go out shopping for clothes it is best to go with a plan. You have to know what styles suit you best, your budget and your overall goal for your wardrobe or you will end up just buying the first pretty dress you see. And we all know what happens when we do that… we either end up returning it or it sits in our closet for years with the tag still attached. It is the same when shopping for photographers, it is important to not go out randomly shopping at wedding fayres or on the internet for a photographer, or like the dress, you may end up regretting it.

Here was my plan: I knew I wanted photo’s taken in a place of beauty with soft natural light, I wanted a joint family and biz shoot so I had to make sure the photographer was ok with that special request, I wanted some guidance with the photo placements- I had never had professional photo’s taken before, so I knew I couldn’t go totally candid. I also knew my budget and the picture package I wanted.

Tip #3 Research

Like I said before, I am lucky, because of the industry I am in I already knew the two photographers that would give me what I wanted. So really my ‘research’ consisted of emailing them both for prices and availability. But for you this process will be a lot more extensive. And since I am here to help, here are my 3 top tips on researching a photographer for your wedding:

1. Meet your photographer in person
Your photographer will be your shadow on your wedding day. They will be sharing your most intimate moments on the most important day of your life, make sure you get a positive ‘vibe’ off them, make sure you feel comfortable around them or your photo’s will not show your true self.

2. Look at a full portfolio (not just the website)
Websites are an amazing way to get to know a photographers style. But if they are any kind of businessperson they will only choose the best photo’s to put on their site. You can’t blame them, that is just the way it is. Now don’t get me wrong, you do not need all 500+ pictures taken by your wedding photographer to be absolutely perfect. But make sure that you take a good look at one of their full portfolios to make sure they are consistent in their style and you like the overall feel of the work they produce.

3. Get a recommendation
Word of mouth is still the best way to find what you want. If you love your sister, cousins, friends photo album, awesome! You have a photographer you already trust. Still follow all the tips I give in this article, but start with them first.

Most important… Be picky! There are lots of photographers out there, don’t settle. If it doesn’t feel right keep looking.

Tip #4 Get the info and read it carefully!

Once you find a photographer who has the style you like, you feel comfortable with them in person and seen a few of their full portfolio’s, now is time to get in touch to do the deal. This is really where knowing what you want come in. Send them an email to see what they can offer, tell them exactly what you want and ask them what they are willing to charge for it. For me, I knew I wanted to use my pictures for my website, blog, adverts, etc. so I needed to be able to use the pictures for commercial use. So when I received the contract I made sure it stated I could use them for that purpose.

You may want a small portfolio included for your mum. You may want to get all the pictures on a disk to print out as you wish, you may want a huge canvas included in the package price. Do the negotiations and revisions to your contract before you sign or agree to anything. If you want something included like an additional album, engagement shoot, additional evening hours, etc, now is the time to ask. I always say;

“The best deal isn’t always the lowest price”

and that is especially true for photographers. Get what you want at the price you are willing to pay and that is the best possible deal you can get… for you.

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I am absolutely over the moon with my business and family photo’s by Pixsmith’s Creative Photography. I hope you agree they suit my personality and look gorgeous! They have my recommendation ;)

A few of my lovely photo’s …

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Finally, one of me and my boys…

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