You’re engaged, and it’s time to start wedding planning. For most of us, this is both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make. How the heck do you choose the right vendors? There seems to be thousands in Saskatoon alone. We know, we’ve been there, and we’re here to help.
One of the first things you should do (other than picking a date and venue) is book a wedding photographer. We typically book weddings over a year in advance and know other great photographers in Saskatoon do as well. So, if you’re looking for someone with a lot of experience, choosing your wedding photographer should be at the top of your to do list.
Your photographer is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make on your wedding day, so it’s worth doing some extra research. How do you figure out who’s right for you? After capturing nearly 100 weddings ourselves, we’ve seen just about everything. Here are our top 10 tips for choosing the right wedding photographer for you.
There are many different photography styles out there so you’ll need to decide which one resonates with you and your partner. Ask yourself what part of the day is most important. Real moments, or posed photos? Some photographers focus more on details, others on moments and people. Is a great flat lay with your wedding details something you will cherish on your 25th wedding anniversary, or would you prefer photos that focuses on the relationships, connection, emotion and love in the room? We’re personally big fans of capturing emotion and people, and believe that when you look back on your images you should remember how the day felt.
VIBE + ENERGY.
Too serious = no fun. Too relaxed = unorganized. Find a photographer who strikes a balance between having fun and keeping it professional. You’re going to spend A LOT of time with your photographer on the wedding day, and they can really contribute to the overall energy in a positive or negative way. An experienced photographer is prepared for anything and brings with them a calming energy when needed. Make sure you meet in person or over video to see if their vibe matches yours.
Be sure to look at photos from getting ready all the way up to and including the dance. There should be a variety of images from all parts of the day. If the portfolio includes many different couples and weddings (and something more than posed formals), you’ve likely found a a strong photographer. He or she should be able to capture fantastic images indoors or outdoors, day or night, rain or shine.
REVIEWS + RECOMMENDATIONS.
You’re one click away from looking into your future! Type your photographer’s name into Google and see what past clients have to say about their experience. People who live in Saskatchewan love to rave about their favourite business. Your wedding photographer should have loads of 5 star reviews online.
“Our photographer isn’t replying to our calls and emails.” Yikes! You want a photographer or photography team who is there for you every step of the way. Ask your photographer what kind of additional value they bring to the table in terms of support leading up to the wedding day. They might offer vendor suggestions, planning and timeline guidance, a questionnaire, care kit, etc. We encourage you to expect your photographer to do more than simply show up and shoot.
What style resonates with you? Are you into a light and airy look, or vibrant, true colour? Some photographers use filters that are on trend now, but won’t be in a few years. You’ll want your images to stand the test of time, so we’d suggest avoiding that over processed style. Reference the photographer’s portfolio to get a feel for what you can expect. You should also ask what, if any, retouching they offer. If you show up to the wedding with a big zit on your forehead, you’ll want to know if your photographer has your back (and your forehead) in post production. Our rule is if it’s gone in two weeks, it’s gone!
While some photographers shoot and write to two memory cards to create an automatic backup, others rely on just one memory card. Ask what strategy your photographer uses to ensure your photos are safe. Additionally, your images should be stored on multiple hard drives and/or cloud storage for the long term. It’s not IF a hard drive will fail, it’s WHEN. You can’t be too careful when handling this type of once-in-a-lifetime media. To avoid disaster, it’s important to ensure that your photographer has established a solid redundancy system. Additionally, your photographer should have back up cameras, lenses, flashes, etc with them on the wedding day.
If you really want to secure a top notch photographer, ask if they have been recognized for their work locally or internationally. It may be hard for the untrained eye to spot a dramatic difference in quality when only looking at a small portfolio, but awards from photo critics can help isolate the true pros.
PACKAGES + PRICING.
As with most things, you get what you pay for. Our hearts break when people say things like “We made a huge mistake hiring Uncle Vince to do our wedding photos for cheap”. We hear this too often. We recognize that everyone’s budget is different, but we would strongly recommend against simply picking the cheapest option. Your photos should be displayed proudly as family heirlooms, to be treasured and passed down through the generations – not hidden in the back of a closet because you hate them.
Your photographer should have you sign a contract when you book. The contract protects both parties, helps to ensure that your photographer will follow through, and outlines expectations. The contract should include specifics such as the number of hours the photographer will be there, how many images you’ll receive, whether an engagement session or album is included, etc.
If you have any other questions about choosing a photographer, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!