Okay, so you just got engaged, you’re starting to plan your wedding, and you’re realizing that there a lot of photographers out there. Like, a lot, a lot. How do you know which one is the best one for you? Brandon and I have put together a list of tips for choosing the right photographer (not necessarily us) for you, from the perspective of both being wedding photographers ourselves and having had someone photograph our own wedding.
This a big one and probably the most influential factor in who you pick to photograph your wedding. Documentary, portraiture, fine art, edgy, matte, romantic, dramatic, natural—every photographer has a different approach to how they capture a moment and what they do to their photos in the editing process.
Our style is a combination of photojournalistic, dramatic, and natural, if we had to sum it up. We document the day as it happened, seeking out those natural candid moments and looking for creative angles that bring the moment to full effect. Then we edit all our own photos (not every photographer does) to incorporate dreamy colors that really make the subject(s) pop.
Looking through wedding photos online and on photographers’ websites will help you and your fiancé decide on a style that you both love and fits your personalities. Keep in mind that you’ll be looking at these photos for the rest of your life, so a timeless look is essential.
2 KNOW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER(S)
You should really, really like your photographer! We are people too and our personalities should mesh well with yours. Make sure you get to know, and have a live conversation with, the photographer(s) that will actually be there shooting your wedding, including the second shooter. As you can imagine, the more comfortable you feel around your photographer(s), the more natural and fun your photos will turn out.
3 SECOND SHOOTER – IS IT NECESSARY?
Yes, yes, and YES! Not everyone will agree with us on this one, but we feel it’s really important. Two photographers lowers your chance for gear malfunctions, doubles the creative eyes that are capturing your day, and provides multiple angles for the ceremony. It’s important to have a second shooter that your main photographer is comfortable working with, too. For Brandon and I, being a husband and wife team, our communication is key and helps us work together seamlessly. We basically know what the other is thinking at all times, which ensures no creative angle or important moment goes missed.
4 SOCIAL MEDIA
Stalking your photographer’s social media is a great way to quickly view their work and get a snapshot of their personality. We post a variety of wedding, travel, and lifestyle photos on our Instagram, with captions that show our personalities and how we feel about our work. Pay attention to the photographer’s website too, and how they represent themselves online in general. A nicely designed, functional website with beautiful branding is a great indicator that they really care about all aspects of their work.
5 READ THE FINE PRINT
Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and in what timeframe. Some photographers deliver a smaller amount of images, some charge extra for printing rights, some send their images out to be edited by another company, and some photographers aren’t 100% clear on all these details. We always try to be as clear as possible about what’s included in our packages, and are happy to answer any questions. We deliver about 500-800 high resolution images within 2-3 weeks after the wedding, and you have all the printing rights.
6 VENUE RECOMMENDATIONS CAN BE MISLEADING
Some venues charge vendors for a spot on their recommended vendors list, and some venues haven’t updated their list in years. That being said, some venues have amazing recommendations. We are on a few lists ourselves 😉 The best thing to do is research photographers that aren’t on the venue’s preferred list, as well.
7 BUT, MY FRIEND/THE CHEAPER PHOTOGRAPHER
You’ve put months, maybe even years, into planning this one day, and your photographs will be the only thing that brings you right back there years and years down the road. It’s important that you have beautiful photos that really capture how amazing every aspect of your day was.
That timeless expression, “you get what you pay for,” is true. Sure, there are absolutely some exceptions out there, where a cheaper photographer pours their heart into their work and it turns out great. Or insanely expensive photographers who are bossy and treat weddings like just another day at work. But for the most part, it is worth every penny within your budget to hire a talented photographer that you love. Someone who can handle any situation, has experience directing people, knows how to work with all types of lighting, and has a great eye for documenting a life event.
You don’t want moments like this captured poorly or missed!
8 SCOUTING AND SITE VISITS
This is something that can really make a photographer stand out amongst the rest. If your photographer does their homework, taking photos the day of will go a lot smoother and will ultimately look better. Working on the fly, on a timeline, when there are so many moving pieces, doesn’t allow for much time to plan creative shots. So any preparation beforehand goes a long way. Personally, we attend every rehearsal to prepare ourselves for the ceremony and brainstorm the best way to capture the bride and groom, guests, and of course, the first kiss. We also scout out the most scenic locations (within a reasonable distance of the ceremony/reception) for the first look and group photos.
Best advice is go with your gut! When you know, you know. Most great photographers book up fast, so when you find someone you like, whose work you love, and they have your date available – book and don’t look back.
10 ASK FOR REFERENCES
Ask your photographer if you can contact any of the couples they worked with recently. If those couples are excited about the photos from their wedding, they’ll love to talk to you about the photographer that took them. Same goes for the opposite—if something wasn’t so great, they’ll be even more likely to mention that. Be sure to ask about their experience with the photographer before, during, and even after the wedding.
Okay, we actually have 11 tips. INVESTMENT
Wedding photography has an extremely wide range in pricing, but on a very general national average, a talented wedding photographer’s package for 8-10 hours of coverage is between $3,000 and $5,000. That may or may not include a second photographer.
We fall around the middle of those averages. Our prices are a reflection of the work we do shooting the wedding and editing the photos, but also, less obviously, keeping our gear up to the latest and greatest, photo backup storage, standard travel expenses, and everything else we do to make your all-around experience as awesome as possible.
We’re certainly not the most expensive photography team out there, but we’re not the cheapest either. Having had a wedding ourselves, we know how quickly the budget can add up. Our advice is to simply find a photographer you love that isn’t wildly out of your price range (or well within it, for that matter) and start a conversation with them. When you get your photos back, you’ll never regret the investment you made.
The Foxes Photography is Brandon and Gabi Fox, a husband and wife photo team who love travel, adventure, and rowdy wedding parties.
We are currently booking weddings all over the country for 2017 and beyond. Getting married? Get in touch!
Thought we’d end on some photos from our own wedding. We’re just a couple of goofs 😉
The Foxes Photography | Brandon and Gabi | PNW based Destination and Traveling Wedding Photographers