The 10 Biggest Mistakes Made When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

There is one thing that every couple must do when planning a wedding, and that is finding the right photographer. This may not be as easy as you think, as a lot of things depend on the photographer. You want to make sure you make the best decision since you will only get one chance at this. Having someone who captures this priceless day is important. So make sure you do not make the mistakes listed below when you are searching for your wedding photographer.

1. Having the Thoughts that All Photographers are Equal

As you know, no one is the same as anyone else. This is especially true when it comes to photographers. To get this point through, think of your favorite sport, and now think of the top two players. Notice how these players are both great, but have their own style.

2. Choosing a Photographers Based On Their Price

Choosing the cheapest or most expensive photographer, does not guarantee you they quality. You may choose the cheapest photographer and get the best quality, or choose the most expensive and get the worse quality.

3. Thinking the Right Gear With Get Great Results

Just because the photographer you choose carries around the best equipment, does not mean they are an expert using it. These expensive cameras come with a lot of great features, but unless your photographer is skilled on the equipment, these features mean nothing,

4. Letting Friends and Relatives Take the Pictures For You, and Expecting Professional Results

It is always nice to have your friends and family take pictures at your wedding, but remember that taking professional pictures needs experience. Even if your favorite Uncle does have the best camera, if he is not experienced, these pictures will not be professional.

5. Cutting Your Photographers Time

A lot of times we want a lot in a little bit of time. If you want family pictures or pictures of the wedding party, make sure you schedule time for it. If you try to get everyone together and rush the photographer to take the pictures fast, you are more than likely going to get bad results. Know who you want pictures taken of, and make time for it. Make sure you tell your photographer the must have pictures well in advance. Having a time schedule will give your photographer and chance to organize and take great pictures.

6. You Entertain Too Many Photographers

Though price shopping with a number of different service providers is often a good idea, with photography this is not necessarily so.

A good photographer often has an already established client base and relies more on word of mouth than on advertising or on overly competitive prices. Many quality photographers will not even consider lowering rates for a price shopper. While it is important to get a good price and to stay within budget for photography services, it is even more important to have a professional experience and a high quality product.

7. You Sign the Paperwork Without Looking it Over First

It is not only one of the biggest mistakes but also one of the most commonly occurring – many people do not read the paperwork provided by their photographers. If a couple is serious about getting the best photographer, they need to take the time to read the contracts. Also, any items that are discussed between the photographer and client must appear in writing.

8. You Do Not Trust Your Own Instincts

A couple may get the feeling that an offer from a photographer is too good to be true, then will ignore that feeling in order to get a good deal. It is more important to trust those instincts; if something seems fishy, it probably is.

9. Lack of Professionalism is Ignored

A person who is planning a wedding has a long list of items to attend to, so it can be easy to ignore small things, such as a photographer who is dressed unprofessionally or behaves in any way other than a business-like fashion. It may seem unimportant how a person is dressed at the time of procuring their services, but if you attempt to picture this person in the midst of a wedding ceremony and formal reception, you may understand why professionalism is vital.

10. You Do Not Make Inquiries Into the Sample Album

Amateur photographers may attempt to piece together a sample album from multiple weddings, showing only one or two of the best shots taken at each wedding. A professional photographer will show a sample album with shots obtained at one wedding, showcasing the ability to capture multiple excellent photographs during the event.

It is also important to ask the photographer about the wedding; ask specific questions about techniques used or about the wedding itself so that you know for certain that the photographer is showing a legitimate sample album rather than one obtained from another photographer.

6 Steps to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

After the dress is worn, the flowers die, the food is eaten, and the guests leave, the photographs are the only thing remaining to document your wedding day. Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the hardest wedding decisions because you can’t see the photographs you’re buying until you’ve already made the decision. This article will help you choose the best photographer to ensure you get the wedding photographs you want.

1. Price. Choosing a photographer based on price may not be the wisest decision. A photographer’s price not only reflects the quality of their work (generally), it also reflects how that photographer values their own work. You may be able to find a photographer advertising weddings for $299, but do you really believe that photographer places a high value on artistic quality? Do you really think they will spend hours culling, sorting, editing and retouching your wedding images? Chances are they will shoot and burn straight to a disk because, frankly, they’re not getting paid enough. Do you feel that you will get beautiful photos of you and your spouse to have for the rest of your life – to show your kids and grandkids? As far as wedding photography goes, you get what you pay for.

Note: Just because you have a smaller budget does not mean you have to sacrifice on your wedding photographer. Before you go asking your cousin’s boyfriend to shoot the wedding (because he has a nice camera), know this; there are many new wedding photographers who may be very talented, but do not have a lot of wedding experience. This does not mean they are horrible photographers, it just means they haven’t shot a lot of weddings. Because of this, you may be able to get reduced pricing, sometimes called “portfolio building” discounts or “introductory” pricing, etc.. It may be difficult finding these photographers because they may not be listed yet on search engines, as their websites may be brand new. So, you’ll have to do some digging.

2. Do some research: Ask your friends and family for referrals. People who love their wedding photos love to talk about their photographer! Search the internet. Go several pages back – don’t just look at the first page of search results. Check the listings of professional organizations like PPA – Professional Photographers of America or WPPI – Wedding & Portrait Photographers International.

3. Make a List: Once you’ve found 5-10 photographers that you like, make a list. Go to each photographer’s website and thoroughly review their portfolio. I cannot stress enough; the photographs you see in the photographer’s portfolio are the same types of photographs you will have of your wedding. How do you know if the photographer is any good? Follow these guidelines:

  • Are the images too light? Too dark? If the some images are too light and others too dark, or if they seem all over the place, that could indicate inconsistent quality.
  • How are the photographer’s Photoshop skills? Do the photos seem “over-photoshopped”? Do you see a lot of plastic looking skin or alien eyes? A good rule to follow; if you can’t tell the images are Photoshopped, then the photographer has excellent photoshopping skills. It’s like make-up – the best make-up is the kind that doesn’t look like you’re wearing any make-up at all.
  • Do you feel emotionally moved by the photographer’s images? Do they make you stop and stare? Gasp? Do you feel a connection with the images? This is the most important aspect of choosing a wedding photographer. You can spend all the money in the world on the most famous photographer, but if you don’t feel a connection with their images, you will most likely not love your wedding photos.

4. Check for Availability: After you’ve narrowed down the list, email or call your top 5 or so photographers. Check to see if each photographer is available on your wedding date, and get a quote or estimate. Emailing or calling each photographer will also give you a little insight into their personality. More on that later.

5. Ask for a Consultation: Your list should now be narrowed down to 2-3 photographers. Ask to meet each photographer – or at the very least, ask for a phone consultation. Talking with your photographer either in person or on the phone will also give you insight into their personality. Are they easy to get along with? Do you feel good about them? The photographer will be a big part of your wedding day and it’s important that you are comfortable with them. Some questions to ask:

  • What do you include in your wedding photography package?
  • When can I expect to receive my photos?
  • Can I review a copy of your contract?
  • Are you licensed?
  • Do you provide a second shooter?
  • Note: Be sure the photographer you hire is the same one who will shoot your wedding. Some photographers send their assistant or contract another photographer to shoot their weddings. Make sure you know who is actually photographing your wedding and ask to view their portfolio.

6. Make your Final Decision: Once you’ve talked with each photographer, you will now be armed with all sorts of information to be able to choose your wedding photographer. Remember, money comes and goes, but you can’t re-do your wedding day.

Are Expensive Wedding Photographers Better Than Inexpensive Wedding Photographers?

Some brides and grooms out there pay excessive amounts for wedding photographers. There is nothing wrong with this if you know exactly the photographer you want and you fall in love with their work. It also helps if you can afford it. The question is however, is a more expensive wedding photographer a better photographer? Is an inexpensive and more affordable photographer just not as qualified? Well I know of one photographer that actually charges over $50,000 to shoot an 8 hour wedding. He sold the photos from the wedding at ridiculous prices to. Let’s just say a wallet sized photo was $60.00. And guess what? The bride & groom and their family ordered tons of pictures at those bloated prices? Do you know what the photographer paid for the photo?

Let us just say he made out like a bandit. Wow. So basically if that photographer shot only 2 weddings a year that would be a pretty nice income for most people. Many photographers have figured this out and created their wedding photography package prices to be high priced and bloated. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this but if you are wondering if these people that paid so much for their wedding photography got better photography coverage at their wedding because they could afford more, you are mistaken. So why did all these people pay so much money for their wedding photography? Were the photos better quality?

Were they on diamond covered photo paper? Did he have a special camera? No, no and no. This “high-end” photographer actually once worked at a regular priced photography studio. He left that studio confident that he could get a high price for his work and began marketing himself in more affluent areas with very classy looking, artsy ads. That was it. He only needed one or two weddings a year to make a good living but what he did do was change his perceived value. Perceived value when it comes to anything is a funny thing. Was his photography so amazing? He was really good as are many photographers but he also wasn’t any better than the art student that came in with photos he took from his cousins wedding. He definitely in my opinion was not worth 50k.

He shot weddings in the same nice attire that all the other photographers shot in, he had the same photography equipment as most of them… so what it comes down to is how he marketed himself and what his perceived value was. Word of mouth among the affluent about this “high-end” photographer allowed him to do very well in his business but behind the scenes, he was laughing all the way to the bank. A good photographer is a good photographer. You can change his/her perceived value around with a twist of marketing and words. The thing is, many photographers are not always great business people. If they were, they would open up their own studios and charge whatever they like. In fact, often inexpensive photographers can be true artists.

They prefer to focus more on their passion of photography & shooting weddings rather than being businessmen & women. This I believe shows in their work. So basically what it boils down to is this; Decide what you are willing to spend on your wedding photography, visit only the studios that are in your wedding budget and then look at a sample wedding of the photographers work. This is the most important part. You have to like the style that you see in the photographers sample work. Look for testimonials and make sure that they promise you a backup photographer if something goes wrong. If you like what you see and the price is right then you can be assured that you are making the correct decision.