After a long chat with my friend today, I asked established high-end wedding photographer – Jan Freire if he could help me understand what it takes to choose your perfect wedding photographer.
I know there are tons of articles about this topic, but as we declare, here you won’t find any information collected from the internet and re-written by an intern or journalist. Our articles are tips, tricks, and advice from real professionals from their real-life experiences. So check his suggestions:
“Well, this is actually a great question, but not so easy to answer. Let’s start with the 8 most important points.”
You have to like their work! This should be your number one priority!
Go and check their website, Instagram, and other social media. My brides find me very often on Instagram. That’s my type of bride. They love my work, and they want ME to capture their wedding.
If you want to check their work, don’t just look at their Instagram account. There could be a difference between the best shots and pictures posted on Instagram. Not all photographs perform well on this platform. For example, horizontally oriented pictures. They usually are my favorites, but I don’t post them on my Instagram. That’s why you always should visit their website, even if you like Instagram work, without any doubts.
There are some known styles, like classic, modern, editorial, journalistic, etc. I believe that a great wedding photographer should be above these styles and be able to merge more styles together. LoveMe Photo.
Speaking about my own case. I was not able to find a great wedding photographer who would be able to shoot amazing portraits as well as to capture the story of the day. So I ended up with 3 different photographers. You can find my story on my website.
Unless you really have to, never let the price be the critical factor. I usually do 3-5 special sessions each year for brides that wanted to book me. They decided to go with a cheaper photographer and not a single picture they would like. So they call me and ask to book an after-wedding session to have at least some portraits.
If you need to hire a cheap photographer, prepare to expect unexpectable. It’s different to do a job for $600 or $6,000. If you are a photographer and don’t feel well that day, you will say that $600 is not worth doing the job, and you cancel. But to cancel a high-end job is not so easy.
If you considered all 3 factors and you still ended up with 2-3 photographers, and it’s hard to decide, listen to your gut feeling. You always should trust your gut. You might love their work, but if your stomach feels that there is something wrong, listen! There might be many reasons you never know. I always trust my intuition!
Check all their communication and social channels. Try to see and feel the overall impression. Communication is the key! Are they speaking about themselves only? Are they pushy? This must be about you, not about them. Check if they were interested in you at all.
You also should check for the consistency of their work and communications. Are they always pleasant and on time?
Do you like all their pictures? If you see a big difference between their work, it’s a warning signal. If you see fabulous photos but also mediocre ones, it looks like the great ones are more about luck. If you shoot hundreds of weddings, you will always be lucky to get a few fantastic pictures, even if you have no clue how you did it.
Always ask to see blog posts where you can see 30-100 pictures from the wedding. Do not be satisfied just with the galleries of the best stuff.
Always check their reviews. Everywhere!
Anyone can write reviews for themselves on The Knot or WeddingWire. Seek for reviews on Google or Facebook page; there you can see that those reviews are indeed from real people.
I even like to add a link to each review, that you can see a blog post from their wedding.
Is your photographer published? I mean, published in real magazines like Vogue, Wedding Style or Brides, not just some wedding blogs.
I understand that not everyone desires to be published; it’s also my case. But if you are outstanding, your work gets published anyway. This one is probably the less important, but it also is a factor to consider.
Well, and the last one is about a few things that you might not know, but we do. One is equipment. Obviously, any wedding photographer should use the best possible equipment for their clients, but photography is not about that equipment at all. The best photographs were often shot with old cameras or smartphones.
This craft is about your eyes, brain, and feel and what you see with that, not about the camera you use. I always say that my favorite camera is my iPhone. It’s always in my pocket.
So, if you see that some wedding photographer presents their equipment with pride as something important, it’s usually a sign that there is nothing else to speak about and that one might not be your perfect wedding photographer.
Another thing is those Best of The Knot badges. I will rather write another article about this topic, but be aware that it does not mean anything.
Update: Be honest!
Never be that bride-to-be who’s emailing all photographers with an inquiry for the event because you know that the wedding price will get a higher price tag. It’s always appreciated to see an honest person.
If you instead send a different message, something like … “I really love your work, but I feel like I can’t afford you. My budget is only x-amount because my whole wedding is…” sounds much better. And if you know how to convince the photographer, you can win the lottery.
I wrote this update because that just happened at this moment.
Well, I hope that I could clear some not very known facts for you and now you know how to choose your perfect wedding photographer.
Jan Freire with Freire Wedding Photo is a high-end wedding photographer published in Vogue, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine, Modern Luxury Bride, and many more magazines. He is based in Miami and Manhattan, but he loves to travel to beautiful destinations for gorgeous weddings. Check his website and Instagram.
Also, check other tips, tricks, and articles in our blog section and let us know how you like it!