How To Choose a Wedding Photographer in 5 Easy Steps

These days, a photographer that will capture the most beautiful moments of your wedding day and turn them into works of art is a must. With the right one, you’ll be able to enjoy happy memories of your big day for the rest of your life. So to help with your choice, we’ve compiled 5 easy steps to follow to so that the process can be completely stress-free.

Foto GravinaGet a Quote from Foto Gravina
Photo: Foto Gravina

Step 1. Agree On Style and Budget

Explore different wedding photography styles. To begin with, you have to know yourselves and which style best corresponds with your vision and thinking – only then will your photographer be able to capture everything you love on that all-important day.

If you’re not sure which styles are out there, it’s important to bear in mind that these days photojournalism is very popular – in other words, telling a story through photos, no posing, with a variety of shots and spontaneous expressions. Wedding photographer, Francesco Gravina, who has been photographing couples since 2006, opts for the photojournalism approach, to create the effect of an almost-invisible presence of the photographer during the event. She believes that photography “doesn’t have to be technically perfect to be beautiful, but it needs to be able to re-evoke unique moments and feelings.” And, just like Michele Iacondino from FotoLUX, this is exactly what her photography does.

Michele also likes the photojournalism style as it really captures the natural emotion between friends and family. She says that although “individuals may not like the moment, it was taken in a moment of spontaneity so it really shows their real expressions.” She is of the belief that this is what makes her photography so emotionally engaging.

Photo: Foto LUX

But, of course, natural and traditional photography are also options. Natural photography is similar to photojournalism, but builds upon compositions agreed upon beforehand and focuses even more on gestures that arise from improvisation. On the other hand, traditional photography, can sometimes be your preference for a more perfectly photo album.

Decide how much of your budget you want to dedicate to photography. It’s so important to stay on top of your budget for each part of your wedding. In all honesty, it’s worth forking out a bit for a good photographer, since they’re becoming more and more valued and in-demand. Ultimately, they’re the ones responsible for capturing memories from one of the biggest days of your life. That’s why we recommend setting aside 10% of your budget for a professional.

Step 2. The Research

Start well ahead of time. Just as is the case with venues, photographers are well-known amongst brides and grooms to be, and the best ones usually get snapped up very quickly. Now you know the style you’re looking for, this will help narrow your search. We recommend starting to look a year in advance if you’re tying the knot in high season, or at least six months in advance if your big day falls within the low season. But this is something you can talk about with your wedding planner. Getting a wedding planner comes with so many advantages, and this is one of them: they know exactly where to go for your services.

Make the most of the Zankyou directory and visit websites. To help you with your search, Zankyou boasts an unbelievably extensive directory with an impressive compendium of professionals. We’ll help you get inspired by articles from our Magazine and focus on photographers who you’ll like most. On each photographer’s page, you have direct access to their sites where you’ll be able to look at their entire portfolios.

Look at previous shoots, ask for opinions and recommendations. These professionals’ web pages are full of examples of their previous work – pre-wedding shoots, weddings themselves, trash the dress shoots and various other inspired sessions which will help you to familiarise yourself with each photographer’s work. You’ll also have access to reviews, but it doesn’t hurt to get in contact with couples who have worked with them and look for recommendations on dedicated websites.

Create a shortlist. When you’ve chosen a few, put them all in a list and start ruling out options. Compare previous shoots and respective styles of each shortlisted photographer.

Get a Quote from Foto Gravina
Photo: Foto Gravina

Step 3. Personal Interview

Conduct interviews to get to know photographers in person. You need to establish a connection with them, since they’ll be there at every moment of your big day and you won’t want to feel uncomfortable; you need to become acquainted with their vision in person, to decide whether it really fits your personality; and don’t forget to take a look at some of their previous work together so that they can explain to you how they’ve approached shoots and what they’ve tried to achieve.

Prepare some questions with doubts and suggestions. When it comes to choosing your photographer, there’s no room for doubt. As such, prepare a load of questions to establish how they would act on your big day. In accordance with their answers, you could make a series of suggestions to test their flexibility, provided that they would maintain their style and modus operandi.

Do you feel comfortable with him/her? Is there a good vibe? Don’t just focus on their work. Are they nice? What are they like? Are they open to change? Do you connect well? Bear in mind your answers to all of these questions before deciding upon one or the other. When the big day arrives, there’ll be no room for questions or suggestions; they’re in charge and you’ll have to give them carte blanche while you’re immersed in all the emotions of the big day. If there really is a connection, your photographer will know which moments to capture.

Get a Quote from Foto Gravina
Photo: Foto Gravina

Step 4. The Big Decision

Ask for recommendations and references. If you have few options to choose from, ask for recommendations again, in a more exhaustive way. Try to make sure that others validate your good feelings.

Find out about their previous experience as a wedding photographer. How many weddings does your potential photographer already have under their belt? Their years of experience in the field is important, and will make it easier for you to be confident about the results. Nevertheless, don’t disregard a professional who hasn’t shot too many weddings. As you know, everyone’s got to start somewhere, and on many occasions, the fresh perspective of a newbie outweighs their inexperience. In this sense, the result can be impressive. Try to decide what you’d prefer on your big day.

What equipment does your photographer work with/will they have an assistant? If you know anything about photography, it wouldn’t hurt to find out a bit about a photographer’s equipment – it might help you form an opinion about the possible results. Although art comes from an artist, the medium he or she uses, especially in photography, can prove essential. If you don’t know anything about cameras, make a note of the model and search for information so you can feel confident about the quality. On the other hand, gather information about their equipment in general. It’s good to know what surrounds the photographer in a little detail, as well as whether they’ll need any assistance, and if so, what this would entail. Remember that for a wedding of more than 50 people you’d normally need two or more photographers.

Get a Quote from Foto Gravina
Photo: Foto Gravina

Step 5. Conditions and Contract

What does the price include: assistants, postproduction. Try to close on this part with everything clear. On occasion, there are extras which are not included in the initial ideas and it’s better to know about everything beforehand. Anything which might bring the price up must be detailed.

How many hours they’ll work for. You need to know how long they’ll work for, whether their rate is hourly or per event and how long they’ll dedicate to editing your photos. All this is relevant to establish a final price.

Get a Quote from Foto Gravina
Photo: Foto Gravina

How they work during the wedding. From the mounting to the shoot, you need to know beforehand exactly how a photographer works. Make sure they explain how they normally move, whether they mingle with the couple or their guests, if they’re totally independent, if they dedicate some time to natural photography and some to the traditional sort … This way, everyone involved in the big day will know how to act around the photographer.

Receiving your photos: format and resolution, how many photos, how long they’ll take. Delivery times are essential to know when you’ll be able to enjoy your photos. Nevertheless, the work can be laborious and these times can change depending on the professional. It can vary between two months and a year, so it wouldn’t hurt to know this before hiring a photographer. What’s more, verbally agree upon a delivery format, resolution, quantity and copies. 

All should be written up in a contract. To secure a deal with your chosen photographer, everything you agree upon should be recorded in a written contract. This way, everything will be binding and you’ll be able to take measures in case things don’t go as planned. Close upon everything and avoid any unwanted surprises!

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