Yay! You're freaking engaged!!!
Congratulations! You're getting married! For most people, it's probably your first time planning a wedding. Below are some things that you should think about before hiring your wedding photographer. Let's get right to it.
1. Do they have TWO camera bodies?
First and foremost I'll start with the most important one. This is your wedding day. This isn't a shoot that can be repeated and let's face it, technology doesn't always work out for us the way we want it to when we need it to. If something happens to the camera body during the wedding day like maybe it gets dropped or it glitches out, what will they shoot with? In my opinion wedding photographers MUST have two camera bodies of equal quality with them at all times. I wanted to shoot weddings for the longest time but never took on my first event without making sure I had two professional level bodies on me. I have a dual camera body harness and simultaneously shoot with 2 Canon R6's with a 35mm lens on one camera and a 85mm lens on the other. I also have back up lenses that have the same range and will allow me to take consistent high quality photos if something were to happen to my main lens.
2. Do their camera bodies have dual-card slots?
The next most important thing to have as a wedding photographer is a camera with dual card slot capabilities. Bringing me back to the technology issue, memory cards are one of the most common things to go, for no reason at all you could put your memory card into your computer at home - and nothing. There are expensive options to try to get back information off of the cards but that can all be avoided by having the proper equipment. Most professional level bodies will have a spot for two memory cards for a peace of mind that if something does happen to a memory card, you have a backup. Wedding photography is all about back up. I'll say it again. Back up Back up Back up. Back up camera, Back up lenses, Back up memory cards. This day can't be redone - they NEED to have a plan B. For me, both of my camera bodies have dual cart slots so I'm shooting on 4 cards at all times.
3. What's their style?
The amazing things about instagram is you have a full portfolio of this photographer at your fingertips. If they have a consistent portfolio, you know what you're going to get. Photographers are artists - shooting style, editing style and just the way they work with people will vary between them. Make sure you have looked over their portfolio and you connect with what they show because that is the work you are going to get in your gallery. Nothing is worse then getting hired and then receiving a Pinterest board of photos they want that look nothing like my work. Make sure you connect with your photographers work! My style is natural light, I often stay away from creative portraits as I don't personally love the look of flash but I do bring lights with me to every wedding and will use them if indoors or in low light scenarios but if I can, I stick with natural light as that's my favourite look. I also go for a mix of posed and candid shots. I get the must haves but I'm always watching and get a handful of awesome candid, story telling images.
4. What's their price point?
When checking out prices of wedding photographer it can vary greatly. Depending on what city you're in, the level of experience they have, the equipment they have, if they have insurance, etc, etc, etc. Budget is important - sticking to your budget is definitely something I recommend however going with the cheapest photographer simply because they are the cheapest might give you disappointing results. Remember - once the day is over, the photos are what's left to tell the story of that day and those photos will live in your family for generations to come. If there is ever a spot to invest your money - it's making sure you have the right person to capture it. My wedding's for 8 hours of coverage are currently $2,500+HST which is on the higher end for this area and directly reflects my experience, equipment and cost of running my business.
5. Do you vibe?
Ask your photographer to schedule a call or a place to meet up, have some coffee and just go over their process and what a full wedding day looks like with them. Sometimes, people just aren't the right fit. You might have different visions, different personalities or just simply different vibes. You'll be spending the majority of the most important day of your life with this person so make sure you fit well together and ultimately have the same goal.
6. Do they specialize in weddings?
You could have the most amazing family photographer who would have no idea what to do at a wedding. Weddings are a beast to take on. It's a very long day, you have to stay on schedule, you have to know how to come up with the schedule, deal with a high stress fast paced environment and be ready for 8 full hours of consistent shooting. It's hard on the body and can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. But they have to start somewhere right? Yes! Second shooting or assisting is a great option to get good wedding photography experience, so ask your photographer if they haven't been a primary shooter at a wedding before, do they have any other experience? I was blessed enough to be mentored and second shoot with my sister in law who's a wedding photographer in Wisconsin to get the experience and confidence I needed to become a primary wedding photographer.
There you go! There's so much more to talk about but these are 6 things you should know before booking your wedding photographer.
Happy planning! <3