Do you need help deciding on the perfect wedding photographer? With all the wonderful photographers out there, we can understand the challenge! We are excited to have Jessica Frey of Jessica Frey Photography help guide you through the process of choosing the perfect wedding photographer. Read below to see her 5 tips on finding the perfect wedding photographer for your big day!
Dear 2017 Brides –
I know you have probably seen the wedding magazine template with questions to ask your wedding photographer or a checklist of things to give your photographer to photograph, but I’d love to get more realistic with today’s brides. After all of your hard work and planning (with the help of an amazing coordinator hopefully!) your wedding day photographs are what you will view/share/preserve in an album for future generations to enjoy. With that being said, I want to help share some advice from my almost 10 years of photographing weddings on how to find the perfect person to photograph your wedding day! Remember, there are no do-overs.
In case you don’t scroll all the way down, here are the 5 tips to ensure you hire the perfect wedding photographer:
- Define the style of photography you love!
- Ensure the photographer’s personality meshes well with yours.
- Identify the level of wedding photography experience/education/expertise you require.
- Research what previous couples, parents, and friends have said.
- Rate your photography choices on a scale of 1-10 to help you narrow down your choices and options.
1. Define the style of wedding photography you love!
As a professional photographer, I can look at a photograph and immediately recognize the style of the photographer, but I realize some brides struggle with defining what style they like and are looking for. Here are some typical styles to help you define the type of wedding photography what you like:
- Classic/Timeless/Elegant – Photographs clean, crisp images meant for preservation and as a timeless heirloom that will be classically beautiful when you’re 90 years old. This is how I define my photography style! Colors are natural and there is minimal Photoshop needed. I.e. both you and mom are happy with a mix of portraits and photojournalism.
- Artistic/Creative/Fine Art – Images are sometimes moody, lots of black & white photos, and photos with vibrant colors shot with a blurring effect.
- Film/Soft/Romantic – Film is back and has a distinct look to it with color hues leaning more towards blues without true yellow or green. If you would love your wedding shot with a traditional film camera, there are some incredible film + digital photographers who manage to blend the two using technology and expertise.
**Key takeaway – An experienced wedding photographer should be well rounded enough to have a little bit of each style in their repertoire. They should know how to light a dark church, or rock out a sparkler exit in the darkness of night. They should capture romantic photos, but also be able to pose a family shot of 40 people in 2 minutes.
2. Personality is SO important! Do you think you’d get along with the photographer?
After shooting over 200 weddings in the past 9 years, I’ve learned that I actually spend more time with the bride and groom than anyone else on their wedding day! Personality should come through in an About Page on their website or through their social media. Follow their Instagram Stories or social media presence and see if you’d like to be around them!
**Key takeaway: If you have any hesitation about being yourself around your photographer you’re not going to love your photos. There are emotions attached to each photo that you’ll feel long after the day when you look at your images, so you want to make sure they’re amazing/happy/joyful emotions!
3. Identify Their Expertise Through Experience, Education & Equipment.
- Experience: How long have they been a wedding photographer? How many weddings have they photographed alone or as a second shooter? Being a wedding photographer is only about 50% of taking photos and the rest is working behind the scenes to ensure a seamless, joyful day regardless of anything that may come up (weather/family stress/dress mishaps/etc!).
- Education: I’m not talking professional photography degrees, but it does help to know if they have any training or past experience. What you need as a client is a wedding photographer willing to educate you and communicate efficiently.
Does your photographer have a system in place for when and how you’ll view your images and sets expectations ahead of time? Every experienced photographer knows exactly how long it takes to get blog posts done/wedding galleries edited and delivered. They should also show you an example of a wedding gallery. Is it easy for you and your guests to navigate? Will you want to look at 2,000 images in that capacity? It’s their job to educate you on the process and guide your expectations so that everyone is happy and you’re not left 9 months after your wedding day without having seen a single photo.
- Equipment: Certain wedding venues and weather occurrences require specific equipment and knowledge of that equipment. Your photographer should have backup professional level equipment on everything and a plan B should you have rain on your wedding day. Ask them what they’ve done in the past! If you live in the Austin area, the past two years it only rained on Saturdays. Kidding, but not really.
A major source of confidence in your selection should come from past reviews. Certain online wedding websites have a place for client reviews that while monitored may give you an idea of how awesome they are or if there are any warning signs. I am personally proud of all the amazing client reviews left for me over the past 9 years on TheKnot.com.
-Do you see any reviews on their website – granted, those are only going to be positive ones, yeah?
-Do you see any parents of the bride/groom reviews? If my mom and dad are helping invest good money for an experienced photographer, they need to know other moms and dads think they did a good job previously.
-Do you notice any awards?
-Are they published on blogs you follow?
Ex) If you are in love with weddings on Style Me Pretty, you probably want a photographer who shoots film and has a light/airy feel to it. Do research on the blogs you love to see who has photographed your venue.
5. How much do you want to work with a certain photographer? Does their work make you smile?
On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not too excited and 10 being the most excited), how excited would you be to have us photograph your wedding day?
Seems simple, but in reality, photographers want to work with couples who value their work, their style and are genuinely excited to have them capture their special day. Find a photographer who’s energy, photographs, and personality excite you. Being a wedding photographer means we own a business without borders and I’m honored each year to meet couples all over the globe who have found my work online and literally fly me to their wedding venue in order for me to be a part of their day. Many photographers operate their small business on a service model where it’s important to provide impeccable service to their clients throughout the entire process. Some photographers run a model of quantity over quality, so make sure you book the type of photographer that suits your needs. Also, as any great planner will tell you – your budget allocations will generally help you see what’s important to you on your wedding day (flowers/gourmet food/live band/photography/etc.)
Congratulations on making it this far and planning your wedding day! Have fun with the planning and make sure to leave time to enjoy the process with your family and friends!!
If you have any questions about this article or want to check out my work, you can find me at www.JessicaFreyPhotography.com
**Jessica is the owner and photographer of Jessica Frey Photography, an international luxury wedding photography business located in South Austin. Jessica has photographed weddings all over the world the past 9 years and as an Austin native, she’s returned home to the Texas Hill Country to serve Texas brides! She has been awarded The Knot’s Best of Weddings 5 years and is a member of The Knot.com Hall of Fame. She has also been creating and instructing beginner wedding photography styled workshops in Austin and California the past 4 years to teach and provide styled content to newer photographers. Jessica’s love of travel has taken her to photograph love stories in Costa Rica, Thailand, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, and Mexico. She’s also a published and accomplished Commercial photographer with 12 magazine covers and over 80 published articles ranging from food photography to home decor. Jessica is also the wife of a retired US Marine Corps officer and has a two-year-old son.