So, you’re engaged! Congratulations! I am truly so happy for you during this exciting time! You’re on to another big step in the process – choosing a wedding photographer. As a Toledo wedding photographer with over 10 years of experience, I wanted to weigh in and give you my two cents on what to look for in a photographer for the big day.
- Find someone with a diverse portfolio. What I mean by this is that their website shows MULTIPLE weddings, not just engagement sessions because many photographers do “free” engagement giveaways.
- When you’re looking at the wedding portfolio itself, look for diversity in the photos. Are they all just portraits of a couple? That is suspicious to me as those photos could be styled shoots. Look for reception shots, ceremony shots, and full wedding party shots. If it’s all just a couple perfectly posed with a little sweetheart table and a small cake, it’s all fake. Why should you be worried about this? Weddings are HARD. The more you’re in that space, the more you can anticipate what’s happening and any problems that might arise. When you have 3 hours with models and no timeline, it’s not an accurate representation of a wedding. A first kiss is a split second in time you cannot get back and redo.
- When in doubt, ask the photographer how long they have been photographing REAL weddings, not styled shoots. Ask them if they have been to your venue before. If it’s a very large and very popular venue, I would be very suspicious as to why they have not been there before if they have been around for a while.
- Be leery of “natural light photographers”. Natural light photographer, in most circumstances, means, “I don’t want to learn lighting and just rely on what’s going on outside” or “I don’t have the funds to purchase off-camera flash equipment in order to give my clients the best results”. Personal opinion, but I don’t see another reason why you would not want to use flash. It enhances my images so much.
- Cheap = inexperienced. Anything under $2500 starting prices in Toledo, in my opinion, equals not much experience or someone who is part-time. Part-time, to me, means less consideration of your own personal needs due to a lack of availability during their workweek.
- Honestly? I recommend choosing photographers who have been around for over 5 years. A good Instagram feed doesn’t mean they know their flow, their editing process, their lighting process, and have all the gear they need. It took me until 2017 to really get a system in place and I am highly organized, not to mention I started in 2010.
- Watch out for red flags. If you just get a weird vibe about someone, just move on. Maybe they missed your first consult call, forgot the time of your engagement session, or haven’t responded in a week or more. What makes you think your wedding will be any different?
- Ask your vendors if they have heard of a potential photographer before. If they haven’t, that might be a reason to skip them and move on to someone with more experience. Also, make sure the photographer you are using has accounts on Wedding Wire, The Knot, and social media accounts….all with reviews.
I hope these tips helped you in your journey to find a wedding photographer! I know it can all be overwhelming, but just remember, most of your wedding day is a blur- you won’t remember the food and your flowers will die a few days after your wedding, but you will heavily rely on your photographer to help you relive one of the most important days of your life. This is not a place to skimp for your wedding day. You’ve got this!