Sal photos by Sal photo inc. Although I am based in Bangalore, I travel to shoot destination weddings. Today I am sharing a few ideas on how to choose the right wedding photographer based on my experience of working with so many couples.
This is the most tricky part for any shopping we do. What should be the right budget for photography? Is it too less? Am I spending more and going overboard? These question are bound to keep you confused and keep you searching for the right answer. There is a much publicized option of keeping a certain percentage aside of the entire wedding budget. Always keep a range in your mind while deciding on the budget. Don't blindly follow advice of someone who had an extravagant or just a few thousand bucks spending on wedding photography. Love and admiration for photography are key contributors in deciding a budget. Think wise and see how much you see your wedding pictures as an investment. Don't lose the opportunity to spend little extra for better style and quality of photography. I bet you won't regret it later.
There are lot of terms being used these days when it comes to contemporary wedding photography. Lifestyle wedding photographer, wedding photojournalist, fine art wedding photographer and the famous candid wedding photographer. Try to keep it simple. Visually identify the styles of shortlisted photographers. Checkout whose style you can relate to the most.
When you are shortlisting a wedding photographer make sure he/she has a right portfolio. The wedding photographer should have few individual weddings listed in his/her portfolio. You may not want to shortlist a wedding photographer who shares only the selected one or two best images from each wedding for his/her portfolio.
This is one of the most undervalued and ignored aspects. It is quite natural to get awed looking at wedding pictures. But if there is no consistency in the quality of pictures throughout a wedding, the wedding day and the pre-wedding events like sangeet and mehndi, the cause is lost. You would like to see the shoot with the same quality of photography for each event. Also keep an eye on how his/her pictures turn out for day and night events.
It's true that the personality of the wedding photographer reflects in the pictures. Lively and emotive pictures will give you an idea about his/her personality. Do checkout his/her facebook page/profile timeline or twitter feed for what and how he/she is interacting.
Email and mobile phones are the two most common ways you start the interaction with a wedding photographer. Just a couple of interactions and you have questions like "Is she too busy or inaccessible?" "Does his emails reflect that he is in a rush?" "Did you notice the frequent typos in his/her email ?" All these are signs of a busy wedding photographer. Once you hire him/her, will he/she be able to give you quality time for suggestions, preparations and understand your expectations. This could be a key area for some couples, if not for all.
While talking and emailing to shortlisted photographers you will realize there is already a connect with one (or few ) of them. Do you like his/her style of communication? Is he/she answering your queries and clearing your doubts effectively? Your prospective wedding photographer should be able to communicate ideas and understand your requirements.
Choosing a wedding photographer referred by a friend can be a good idea. If he/she has already covered a wedding in the family/friend circle, you will have a clarity on all the above 7 points mentioned so far. You can easily shortlist him/her and evaluate with other shortlisted photographers.
There are lot of wedding photographers who shoot a limited number of weddings in a month or year. This not only helps them balance their personal and professional life but also justify a full lively effort on each wedding. Imagine a wedding photographer shooting your wedding who has been sleeping only 2-3 hours for the last few days. We all are humans and how much a high dose of caffeine ( read coffee and red bulls ) would help every day to keep you up and running. A tired and sleepless body cannot be recommended for creative work.
Don't be afraid to reach out to your wedding photographer with your requirements and budget. Lot of brides/couples don't share enough details in their initial conversation or emails. Share your ideas on how you are excited about your wedding. How and where you are planning it. As a wedding photographer, we get so many emails and most of the times, the emails are so short in information that it is does not excite the wedding photographer. Don't make your email just another email in his/her inbox. A wedding photographer who takes up only a limited number of wedding assignments in a month or year, can make a difference. Keep the conversation honest and going. If you have zeroed in your wedding photographer make sure you drop a courtesy email that you have chosen your wedding photographer.
Okay, so these are my 10 ideas to help you in choosing the right wedding photographer. Why not help me out with other ideas which I may have missed or you want share with me and help other readers? I would love to add it here with the credits. Do drop a line or two.