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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Picking a Photographer: 5 Tips

Words by Chelsea Pellegrino, Event Analyst at GigMasters

What’s equally as important as wearing the perfect dress, serving a delicious cake and dancing to great reception tunes on your wedding day? Having a skilled photographer there to capture it all. When you’re exchanging vows far from your hometown, there are certain things to consider during your search for the perfect photographer. If you’re planning a destination-style wedding, look for these six pro-picked standards to find the best photography talent:

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1.  Experience Shooting in Your Wedding’s Location

Since it’s likely you’re not familiar with your wedding’s location, you’ll want to find a photographer who is. “It’s vital for the client to make sure the photographer is familiar with their location,” says Alex of Cateraoke Photography by Alex & Josh.  “The more comfortable the photographer is with an environment, the more likely they'll be able to capture fabulous photos.” One great way to easily locate, browse and connect with photographers in the area of your wedding is by using an online event service like GigMasters.

2. Experience Shooting with You

If you are hesitant about not getting a chance to meet with your photographer until the day-of, another suggestion would be to find a local photographer who will travel with you. This is a common request for photographer Michael of Michael Fairchild Photography.

“I’ve been chosen to do destination weddings because of my long-standing relationships with families I’ve done portraits for or shot weddings for friends and family members,” Michael said. It is fairly common to ask a photographer you have worked with before or who is based in your hometown to travel with you. As long as you give enough notice and can factor in the cost of travel expenses, most photographers are happy to help. Finding a photographer in your area may make you feel more at ease when the big day comes!

3.  Great Connection with You and Your Spouse-To-Be

"A client should determine whether or not their personalities mesh well with the photographer(s) and if they feel completely comfortable with them. The client should always feel at ease to ask questions and make requests,” says Alex of Cateraoke Photography by Alex & Josh. “Our goal is to build a friendship that will allow our clients to feel comfortable and confidant with having us as their photographers.”

It may be impossible to meet with your photographer before the wedding, but a great professional will bridge the distance with other tools. “Google Hangout Video Chat or GoToMeeting, email and Pinterest (see: https://www.pinterest.com/resplendentfoto/) allow photographers to create a special board for clients to pin ideas and styles of photos and poses that they like,” says Christen of Resplendent Photography. “From there, I’m able to draw inspiration for their sessions.”

“Most of my clients are located in places that I am not,” says Blaga Ditrow of Lush Life Photography & Film. “Meeting in person is ideal, since it helps to get to know each other before the event. It’s not always possible, though. With Skype and Viber, at least a phone call is recommended – it makes a great difference just to hear each other's voices. Email is too distant. I think people just need to like each other, on both sides.”

4.  A Packed Portfolio that Matches Your Style

According to Brigit Pohl of A-Plus Photos, you should base your photographer decision on each prospect’s style demonstrated in their portfolios. She adds that you must decide whether you prefer an artistic, photojournalistic style with a natural look versus more posed, formal and traditional photos.

Wendy Scipione from Aspen Grove Photography suggests you, as a client, look at photos the photographer has displayed from an entire wedding (or other event) – not just a few samples. Lots of people can nail a few key shots, but can they capture an entire event from start to finish? 

5.  Positive Reviews and References and a Clear-Cut Contract

Brigit also recommends taking a look at the photographer's references from other clients. “Doing this can give you some helpful insight into the photographer's professionalism and personality,” she shares. Your photographer should be transparent about everything, from package details to schedule, to how many assistants they’ll be bringing along. The contract should reaffirm the date, time and length of your wedding, including any travel costs.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Zorz StudiosCurtis Smith Photography & MoonDance Photography.

Comments

2 Comments

  • Ed Hafizov

    said

    Great piece and valuable advices. I would still consider a blend between 1st and 2nd advices. Not knowing the location cannot deter or stop a truly inquisitive and creative artist facing a blank canvas full of unexplored opportunities. All of my destination weddings were first-timers in terms of location, producing unexpected and remarkable imagery judging by the public reaction. And to stress, this does not have to be someone local to the bride (the basis of the 2nd advice). It can be a hard-proven visionary from anywhere in the world, that is neither local to the location, nor to the bride. :)

  • Marcia Grover

    said

    Great Advice! Strongly agree. Feeling comfortable with your photographer from the moment of 1st call is important. If you feel your photographer is truly listening to your needs and vision, this is invaluable!

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