We love having Keith Phillips, the Director of Business Development for Classic Photographers in our corner. He offers some awesome advice on wedding photography. He’s what Keith had to say about vetting your wedding photographer.
When you research and hire a wedding photographer for your big day, it’s important to understand that you’re investing in both a day of experience as well as lasting memories. You only get one wedding day, but your photos of that day are something that you’ll have forever!
Vetting your wedding photographer (and other vendors) is multi-layered, and it involves much more than just a quick scroll through Yelp.
Create a list of candidates and review their work
Whether you’re planning a local wedding or opting for a destination wedding, you’ll always want to scope out the area where you’ll be getting married. See what the locals are saying, what their recommendations are, even photographers that they recommend avoiding.
Consider attending bridal shows, looking at social media, and check out wedding blogs to see which names pop up.
Make a list of your top 5 (or 10, we don’t judge!) wedding photographers and start working through your research. Take a look at their website and portfolios extensively and compare it with your must-haves. Do they match up with the style you’re looking for? Is there anything unnatural or forced about the posing, or are there any details you aren’t in love with? You know exactly what you’re looking for, so don’t settle if the negatives outweigh the positives.
Read reviews and referrals
Here’s where you’re really allowed to be picky, and where you want to pay the most attention. A photographer’s work can be breathtaking and beautiful, but if their reviews from other couples say otherwise, you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’re dealing with poor attitudes on your wedding day.
Start looking for patterns in the feedback, and know when to detect real comments versus fake ones. It’s okay if your photographer has a couple of moderate to poor ratings (you can’t please everyone, after all), but if there are many people complaining about the same experience, acknowledge the red flag and look elsewhere. On the other hand, strong referrals or personal stories that previous clients share can mean a lot! Some of the best referrals actually come from recently married friends, so pick their brains if you’re planning a wedding in the same area.
Don’t be afraid to interview them!
One thing I can’t stress enough to couples is that you shouldn’t hesitate to ask lots of questions.
Contact your top picks and put together a master list of what you need to know. What does the overall process look like on the wedding day itself? How long have they been photographing weddings? Do you have to purchase prints straight from the photographer or do you have personal reprint rights?
If the photographer passes your initial round of questions consider booking them for engagement photos if time permits. This ensures that you get a preview of what it’s like to work with them, what your initial photos look like and if you’re a good fit overall. You’ll be much more comfortable with them on the day of and that personal relationship will already be there, so your poses will naturally be more relaxed and easy-going.
Since your wedding album will live on years after your wedding, you’ll want to prioritize searching for a photographer you can not only trust but someone that will make you feel incredibly special on your big day. Remember that you can always hire someone within the limits of your budget, but you may not have the same experience or comfort as you would with someone else!