wedding photography for rad, offbeat, alternative and non-traditional people

The Unconventional Guide to Hiring a Wedding Photographer

December 13, 2016

Wedding Tips

Hiring a wedding photographer is like buying a new car. Some people have a very methodical approach to researching the best one. Some already have a list of things they need to have. Some people want all the bells and whistles. Some people just need something practical to get them from point A-B. Some people want a beautiful car they can show off to everyone.

Wedding photography is like that. Some people want creative artistic images they can admire forever. Some people want images they can pass down to the next generation. Some people just need basic photography. Some people want all the extra bells and whistles. Regardless, most people have the same traditional approach to hiring a wedding photographer as if they were buying a new car.

When most engaged couples set out to hire a wedding photographer, they start by looking at Pinterest and pinning imagery that fits how they’d like their wedding to look. From there they start photographer searches and often focus on price and image quality first. Quality and price are obviously critical factors in hiring a wedding photographer.

However, if I were to give additional advice to ensure you found the perfect person, it would be this. Select someone you can live with for years to come and still love the photos when you show them to your grandchildren. Here is my advice.

Stop Looking at Pinterest

Pinterest is this ideal social media platform that has so much possibility. It’s an immense help when planning a wedding. However, it can also quickly alter your choices and give you a false view of how weddings work. When looking at Pinterest photos and deciding what style you like for your wedding photographer, please don’t expect us to replicate each and every image you put on your Pinterest board. These images are typically taken in styled shoots, which are heavily controlled environments, or just happened on their own at someone’s wedding. You will regret spending your wedding day working off a Pinterest list and trying to manufacture moments you want to happen instead of living every minute and just enjoying yourself. If you let go of your Pinterest list when booking a photographer, you’ll gain all their knowledge, creativity and ability to create something unique that other people will pin for wedding inspiration.

Connect on a Personal Level

Connecting with your wedding photographer is the single most important thing you can do with your wedding photographer. Pick someone you connect with on a personal level. Pricing and image quality aside, if you have a photographer who you can trust implicitly, you’re likely to get the very best of their work. When we have the chance to connect with our clients on a deeper level, we’re able to understand how they work as a couple and can capture that emotion and connection in a way you might not otherwise experience. If you’ve ever seen a wedding photo that looked bland where the two people weren’t connecting it’s sometimes due to a lack of connection with their wedding photographer. Take the time to know your photographer as a person. We are photographing one of the biggest days of your lives. If you let us in and we find common ground, it’s going to be so much easier for us to photograph something amazing.

Know What your Priorities Are

Before you dive into searching for a wedding photographer, decide what your priorities are. Wedding photographers offer all kinds of goodies. Fancy custom leather-bound albums, prints, CDs, USBs, or digital downloads. Some photographers don’t offer digital files at all. Figure out what end product you want to end up with and what’s important to you. That way you can quickly narrow down your search. If you want the finished and edited digital files after the wedding and you’re sure of that in advance, you can skip all those photographers who don’t provide that kind of product in the end.

Make a list of everything you want and use that to ask your wedding photographer questions when you meet them. It’s better than using that cliche list from The Knot, with questions you sometimes don’t even understand. My favorite is when people ask me what kind of camera equipment I use, but have no idea about camera equipment. Then I know you’re working off a list of questions someone else told you to ask even if you don’t know what it means. Use a list full of things that are important to you instead, and you’ll be able to ensure your photographer is a good match.

If you read this post all the way through then, I wish you luck in finding your wedding photographer. Remember to look for someone who feels like they’re part of the same tribe as you. They should share your concerns and interests. You also need to know what’s most important to you when booking your photographer. Finally, stop looking at Pinterest. Let it go and get ready to hire someone who will make your wedding look Pinterest worthy for future brides and grooms instead of trying to manufacture your wedding to look like someone else’s!

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