There are many things to consider when looking for a wedding photographer, it can be very overwhelming. Before you go with the first person who has an opening, here are a few things to consider which can help you find your perfect wedding photographer.
With so much difference between the styles of wedding photography, it is important that the photographer you choose has a style you enjoy. While most brides will want a combination of styles, some find that they enjoy only one style, such as photojournalistic or artistic, and so should choose a photographer who specializes in this style. For those brides who like a combined style, consider hiring a pair of photographers who have different styles. There are many husband and wife teams where each photographer specializes in a different style (kind of like our team!). The key is to identify your favorite style or mix of styles and then to look for photographers who use those styles. A photographer’s portfolio(s) should be a really easy way to see their style. (For more information on styles see our blog article)
Once you have established a style you like, then comes the hardest part, finding photographers who are that style and finding out who has availability. Make a list of the top 5 photographers you like whose work is similar to the style you want and request availabilities from each of them. Then, try to schedule consultations with the top 3 of those photographers who have availability. You definitely want to meet with more than one photographer because …
At the consultation with your 3 chosen photographers, pay special attention to the chemistry between you, your fiancé, and the photographer(s). Does he/she/they make you feel comfortable? Are they easy to talk to? Do they easily visualize what you are describing? Do you feel you could spend the whole day with them and still be comfortable at the end of the day? All of these questions are very important because your photographer will most likely be spending a great deal of your special day with you. How comfortable you are with the photographer is especially important if you are looking to have “getting ready” pictures taken. You don’t want to have someone you aren’t comfortable with in your dressing room as you are in only your underwear putting your dress on! Be sure to keep notes at each consultation so that you can go back after all of them are done and remember feelings, impressions, and likes/dislikes about each photographer.
Finally, I will mention price. While ideally price would not be an issue, we do not live in the ideal world. Price is important, and should be considered, but it should not be the first thing to shop for when choosing a photographer. It has been said many times before, but your photography is one of the only things that you will have left after the wedding, so getting someone of quality who you are confident will get you the pictures you desire is worth paying a little more for. Really, price should be something that is considered in the background of doing the first 3 steps. If you know you absolutely cannot afford to spend $6000 on wedding photography, then photographers with starting packages of $5000 are probably not going to be in your budget, so look cautiously at their sites. They can give you great information about styles and numerous other things, but they are probably not one you should call for availability when you get to that point. Keep in mind also, however, that many photographers make personalized quotes, so even though their range may seem a bit high or low for your budget, if you really like them it never hurts to ask. (For more information on photography budgets in Oregon, see our blog article)