A step by step guide to finding someone who will capture immaculate wedding photographs that you can cherish for life, so you must “focus” (see what we did there, eh eh?).
So who have you selected as your professional wedding photographer? What no one yet? Gasp! Why? Oh is it because you are confused about how to hire a wedding photographer, and how would you know who your best match is? We hear you!
We know you have ordered the prettiest of flowers that mother earth has to offer, selected a wedding venue that would make angels swoon, the wedding decor, oh my god, it makes even Mr Leonardo Da Vinci weep with visible joy, and don’t even get us started over those impeccable wedding attires, we can’t help but gush over it.
If only there was a way to freeze time! Oh well, there is, and it comes in the form of “drum rolls please” Wedding Photographers. Yay.
But the question still remains, how to hire a wedding photographer?
Collect all the worries and shoot them out of the window because we have created an easy to follow list on how to hire your dream team,the ones who would capture your special day and preserve them in pixels for eternity.
STEP 1: DECIDE AND DIVIDE THE WEDDING BUDGET
Yes it’s the most special day of your life, and yes you don’t want to spare any expenses but hey, unless you discovered the treasure of Atlantis, you must plan and divide your wedding budget smartly. Our suggestion is to keep 10% of your entire wedding budget aside for your knight with a lens.
Planning a wedding photography budget doesn’t only help you curb any overspending, but also gives you a clear idea of the price range, within which you can research for your wedding photographer. It also helps you create realistic concepts and themes, and come up with hacks that can keep you in the green zone of your wedding photography budget.
Dividing the budget is also beneficial as there is the pre-wedding shoot, there are options for candid wedding photographers, traditional wedding photographers and not to forget your videographers, you can assign an amount to each of these, making your research much simpler and your communication with the wedding photographers timesaving and worthwhile.
STEP 2: DECIDE ON YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONCEPTS AND STYLES
Remember when you really liked that painting, but your cousin wasn’t convinced and found the style, ummm tacky. You couldn’t understand how she was so oblivious about this particular art style. The answer is simple, none of you is wrong, you just have different tastes.
This logic also works while hiring a wedding photographer. You as a couple along with your families need to research on some wedding photography styles and concepts that you find appealing and that suits your wedding venue. For this step, do not focus on the company but the photographs, you have to have an unbiased and open mind for this step.
What do we mean by wedding styles and wedding concepts? Hmm, valid question. Worry not, it’s not just you, the majority of couples are unaware that wedding photography has various styles and every renowned wedding photographer has a particular style as their niche. Some of the types of styles would be –
Artistic Style – This style focuses on capturing each frame in either an extremely larger than life manner or in an offbeat style that is an art piece in itself.
Documentary Style – Commonly known as the Photojournalist style, it’s a concept in which the pictures and videos are shot in a very documentary manner. It’s a wonderful balance of traditional and candid photography.
Storytelling – The storytelling wedding photography style focuses on the journey of the Bride & Groom as a couple. The photographs and videos are shot in a planned manner and are intertwined with interviews from the Bride & Groom, their friends, their families and everyone close to them. These are close to Photojournalist style but are more fun.
Vintage Style – Self-explanatory, the shots have a very nostalgic and elegant feel to the wedding photographs and video. If you don’t want the entire wedding to be vintage you could go for a Vintage pre-wedding photoshoot.
Editorial Style – Ever dreamt of being a Bride and Groom that are featured in your favourite wedding magazine. Guess what you could make your own magazine with the Editorial style of wedding photography.
Moody and Dark – This style creates very dramatic photographs by playing with the light intensity. This style can make your wedding photographs feel more passionate and sensuous.
STEP 3 – MAKE A CHECKLIST OF ALL THE OBJECTIONS
Making a list is boring unless you are Monica Geller from Friends or Amy Santiago from Brooklyn 99 (sorry, we are addicted to Netflix), but we have to agree, it is immensely helpful when it comes to taming the wedding chaos.
Making a checklist with all your requirements ensures that you do not miss out on any crucial point when you actually schedule a meeting with your potential wedding photographer. A good place to begin would be deciding if you want wedding photographers from the city of your wedding venue, or do you want to hire someone from a different location, which comes with the added cost of boarding and lodging them. Another crucial aspect would be deciding if you want a candid wedding photographer or a traditional wedding photographer, or maybe a team that does both.
Jargons much? Let us break it down for you.
Candid Wedding Photographers – These are the bunch of super creative folks that try to capture the unseen, stolen moments that no one is actually paying attention to. You wink at your partner while nobody is looking (they are), Your dad sort of wipes his tear before anyone can see him getting all emo (guess what too late, there is already a picture), and so on.
Traditional Wedding Photographers – They are more focussed on ensuring that the ceremonies are captured in the best possible manner. Their main focus (and their camera’s focus) is mostly where the action is happening. They might capture some candid moments but that’s not really a priority.
Though these are more of marketing terms, it’s still better to confirm the niche once with your prospective wedding photographers. You do not want surprises there. You might also want to jot down some availability related questions because given that India is a nation that thrives on Mahurat, your favourite guys might be booked already by someone else. It’s better to go through the websites thoroughly and ensure you aren’t too late.
STEP 4: CONDUCT A THOROUGH RESEARCH AND SELECT YOUR TOP 5
You know what you want, you know how much you want to spend and you are ready with the set questions. By now you would have a much clear idea of what your expectations are. So what are you waiting for, it’s time to make coffee (you are going to need it), sit in a comfortable position, and hit the websites.
Word of advice – Do not just go by the number of likes and comments on social media, also do not just scroll through the first page of google and give up. Google SEO and social media marketing are completely different skill sets, you aren’t looking for marketers but wedding photographers.
What you can do, is to thoroughly go through their portfolios and see if they have shot at a wedding venue that is similar to yours. If not no worries, you still can gauge a lot by looking at each wedding album in detail, this can showcase the type of variety the wedding photographer can bring in.
Another way is to check their ratings and their reviews on their website as well as any other platform they might be associated with. This will give you an insight into their personalities and way of working.
Treat it like a reality show, only 5 can make the final cut. No more, no less. You will overwhelm yourself if you go beyond, and you will feel underprepared if you go below.
STEP 5: MEET YOUR TOP 5 PERSONALLY TO SEE IF YOU VIBE
Stop procrastinating and send an enquiry, set up a date and meet your prospective wedding photographers while the research is fresh in your mind. Do not get sidetracked or lazy, you might have to repeat the whole steps again if you do, your top five might get poached while you are being a couch potato.
Sure, you can do a phone call or better a video call, but seriously that is how you are going to choose people who will basically be the memory makers for your special day. Didn’t think so.
Meet them in person, it’s very important, you need to build that rapport and see if you are compatible as people. The vibe is important guys. The vibe is really important.
STEP 6: UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT IN THE INVENTORY AS WELL AS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET.
We know this seems a bit technical, but stay with us and we will break this one down for you. Every wedding photographer has different styles and processes. While some of the results are achieved by their in-house inventory, the other concepts might need some extra equipment, which might be an added cost to you. For example, do you need just one camera for the Bride entry or you want to go for three cameras, which might enhance the wedding video? Understanding what all your wedding photographers have and what they might need to hire can become one of the strong basis for you to make a choice.
Secondly, you need to be very clear about your requirements, you need to specify the important moments in an event, the important people that you definitely want in your photo and videos. This will help the wedding photographers plan in a much better manner and ensure you get the very best of what you need and exactly how you need them. Communication is the key.
STEP 7: GIVE YOURSELF A DEADLINE TO CHOOSE THE ONE
Wouldn’t it be annoying if the reality shows refused to choose who won? I mean how long are you going to wait around to see the next Big Boss winner? Similarly, your top 5 might think you aren’t interested in them anymore and they might choose another couple’s happily ever after over you. So stop overthinking, set a deadline, make a pros and cons list and just make a decision.
STEP 8: FORM A LEGAL CONTRACT SPECIFYING ALL THE DELIVERABLES AND THE PAYMENT TERMS
Yayyyy! We have a winner but wait, this is not over. This is season two of who is going to be your wedding photographer – challenge contract. Yup, you need to have everything on paper signed and stamped, even if your wedding photographers are now practically your BFFs, you still have to jot down all the deliverables, payment terms, deadlines for receiving your wedding album, videos etc. and any special requests that you or your photographer might have.
Having it on paper protects both the parties in case things go south. We hope not, but prevention is always better than cure.
So folks this is your step by step guide on how to hire a wedding photographer.
Got more ifs and buts? Reach out to us, don’t be shy, we have too much information and we would love to show off, tee hee
BONUS STEP: STILL SCEPTICAL? HOW ABOUT A TEST RUN?
If you still have them trust issues, may we suggest a low-risk date with your wedding photographers, ummm not the romantic one obviously, the business one? Hire them for your engagement ceremony or for a pre-wedding shoot to see if the vibe that you felt on paper are really there in practice as well.
So, folks, this is your step by step guide on how to hire a wedding photographer. Got more ifs and buts? Reach out to us, don’t be shy, we have too much information and we would love to show off, tee hee.