• Nikki De Jager

Choosing a Photographer for your Wedding

What makes the choice for you when it comes to your wedding photographer? It's your big day and you want to make sure that all the special memories are captured. There are horror stories out there of newbie photographers claiming to be professional wedding 'togs' where the images captured for the day are dismal, sad, and heartbreaking all at the same time.

These are my 5 tips for finding the wedding photographer that you need.

1 - Expensive doesn't equal best but cheap usually means something...

Price doesn't necessarily talk to experience and there are actually a large number of newbie and not so skilled photographers that charge high rates because the assumption is that you must be great if you are pricey. This definitely not the case. Some photographers have an awesome portfolio that speaks to their experience and skillset and they are pricey because that experience and business costs equal a number that calls for a higher than normal rate. Some photographers are desperate for work either because their portfolios need to be bolstered, they have never done weddings before, or their inexperience means they don't know what to charge and the assumption is that they will be hired because they are so affordable.

My recommendation is that find the middle man. Find the photographer that has a great portfolio and is running a seasonal special, where their base prices are in the mid-upper range but they are offering a discount or smaller packages that work for you.

Do not go with the cheapest photographer unless you know for a fact that you love their style of image taking, they have vast experience in weddings and you have checked a reference. Yes, I mean it, get a reference.

2 - Find the portfolio that talks to YOU, not your best friend/maid of honour

Photos say different things to everyone, well at least they should. The image should evoke an emotion out of you. You need to fall in love with that style that makes you feel something....hopefully something positive. Just kidding, you definitely feel the warm and fuzzies when you look at portfolios. Make sure to understand what I just said - YOU need to feel something. Don't be swayed by friends, family, or social media as to who you should use because' omg I just love his/her work". The choice is yours so look and find your feeling.

3 - Set up an interview (s) with your top three choices

Meet that photographer that you are looking to commission. Have more than one conversation with them and make sure that your personalities mesh. You are going to be extremely stressed and frazzled on your big day. Find that person that you can trust to get on with it, take charge and ensure that you don't have to try micro-manage your guests to get the photographs that you want. An experienced wedding photographer will ask you what images you are looking for and makes that happen. They are organised, they know how to corral the guests (tip: it's usually in advance) and they give direction so you get your photos.

4 - Compare what is being offered to you

When you are searching for that perfect photographer, you are definitely going to meet more than one that you would be interested in. Make sure to understand what packages each person is offering and what that actually means. Yes, I mean it, make sure to understand if the 10 prints that you will receive is on x type of paper and what that looks and feels like. Make sure to understand what medium will be used to provide you with your images, how much retouching will be done on how many photos. Ask questions.

5 - Understand post-production and time frames

I would normally take about a month on images I have taken for a wedding, but that also depends on how booked up I am within that month. I don't allow my assistant to do any re-touching on my wedding commissions as I have a specific style that can be seen. If I don't do the imaging myself then my assistant's style or 'eye' might be what speaks in the images.

After the month I usually send some sample images to my client for feedback before I complete my work and prepare prints and/or photobooks. This usually takes a further 2 - 3 weeks. In total, I would say that you can look forward to around 6 to 8 weeks after your big day to get the final products. Again, have the conversation with your potential photographer and understand what level of post-production they will do before there is a cut-off point and when can you expect to see the finished product. Decide what you are comfortable with and see if the photographer can meet your expectations.

All in all, I hope the above is food for thought and helps you meet your perfect 'toggy' match.

It's a big decision and should be carefully thought-out. In my opinion, not any one of the above 5 is more important than the other. Each is a careful consideration that should help you find your best fit photographer.

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