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!
Haha, I love the last one!
I think it is very hard to choose the perfect wedding photographer, especially in a field that has so many great ones. The portfolio is definitely a must. I like storytelling so I would choose a photographer who can tell the story of the day through his photos.
These are all so very true, for any photographer really, not only weddings. Thanks for the tips.
I lucked out and got a great photographer without putting too much thought into it! Love the post though, great info!
these pictures are GORGEOUS! Being from a small town it was easy to find us a photographer! lol
yes, there are tips to find a great one in a big city with thousands of photographers.
This is such a big decision and an expensive one. Great tips for finding someone to capture such a beautiful day.
I am getting married soon so I’ll keep these in mind..
No Idea how to choooseeee totally panicking! We are actually planing our marriage it will be in 1 year and i do not know where to start. Thank you for this advice it will help a lot!
happy to help!
I totally agree. Over the years you would have the memories, the pictures and the video to reminisce, so why not choose the best wedding photographer, Right?
I’m planning my wedding right now! This is so helpful
Thank You Shelby!
These photos are amazing! I really liked my wedding photographer but wish I had asked for some more fun shots like these!
I wish I’d read this before I hired mine!
Choosing a wedding photographer was tricky. Actually liking that particular photographer’s work is very important. I almost went with someone else but realized I didn’t like the way she made all her backgrounds light and washed out.
this WILL BE GOOD FOR MY SON HE IS PLANING WEDDING SOON. THANK YOU
All these pictures are gorgeous! Makes me excited to get married just so I can have memories like this. These are some great tips! 🙂
It is really hard to choose any kind of photographer. There are plenty of talented people out there. Thanks for your tips! I might use them in the future.
Good points, especially the gut feeling one. I remember selecting ours over others because he seemed like a cool guy and that he would do a great job (which he did).
Great tips for those who are looking for that perfect photographer for that special day. I hope those who are looking to look at these tips!
My wedding photo’s are beautiful although some a lil airbrushed, which made me and the fella laugh.
haha I would kill him for that ?
We had 3 photographers during our wedding and I really liked the one who took magazine style shots and guess what? we paid very little for that 3rd photographer because he was just building his portfolio.
that’s great, good luck!
These are great tips for anyone looking for a wedding photographer. Weddings are such a big investment so it’s important to make sure to do your research
Thank you for the post. My friend is getting married soon. Exactly, hire a photographer whom you can trust and check their work. Wedding doesn’t happen every day so finding a perfect photographer is important.
This is great advice! It is hard to choose between so many great photographers
Choosing the right wedding photographer is so important. Friend’s of mine were obliged to one by the wedding venue and they have hardly one decent shot. Very sad.
We were very lucky on the other hand. I asked a photographer I knew from a business event for recommendations. The one he put me in touch with was perfect. Right gut feeling from the first moment and decent price. Our picture turned out amazing.
We used a friend who was trying to get her business off the ground. It saved us a lot of money. In retrospect, I wish I had researched types of poses or fun looks for us to try out. But I was glad to have them as a part of our wedding. They provided a green screen to our guests that was so much fun!
Choosing the perfect photographer to capture your moment is so important. Thanks for sharing.
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