Between wedding shows, direct inquires, and Facebook, we see a lot of requests for wedding photographers.  Some are looking for quality, others are looking for price, and some are looking for both.

As a wedding photographer, I try my best to always educate a bride when it comes to choosing her wedding photographer, even if she doesn’t choose me.  Below is a list of some of the things that I tell all brides they should do when considering a photographer for one of the most important days of her life:

1. Are they legit?  While photography isn’t mandated by any laws or governing bodies, we are still businesses and must operate as such.  Your photographer should have a business license for the city/county (depending on their city/county regulations) that they operate in.  Most importantly though, your photographer should have liability insurance.  Liability insurance doesn’t just cover them in case they mess up, it also covers you if they do something that damages the venue or something of another hired vendors.  Most venues now require that your photographer and other vendors carry a liability policy, so it’s a good rule to make sure you hire a photographer who carries one!

2. Equipment.  This isn’t a Nikon vs Canon thing.  This is a straight equipment thing.  Most churches and some other venues do not allow flash photography at all.  If your photographer is not equipped to shoot in low light situations, the chances of you getting photographs of your ceremony decrease drastically.  You want to ensure that your photographer’s camera (and your photographer) is capable of shooting in all lighting situations (natural light, harsh light, low light, and artificial light (including flash)) because on a wedding day they will encounter all of them!  Having an arsenal of great lenses is always a plus because they have different lenses to capture different perspectives (wide angle, zoom, portraits, etc), but it’s not all about the lenses when it comes to shooting, especially in low light.  So make sure you hire someone with equipment that can handle the lighting situations at your venue.Amber BTS-1

3. Request to see full weddings. You can see pretty pictures on Facebook or websites, but without seeing a full wedding, you don’t know if the images you receive will be beautiful start to finish or if those ones you are seeing are the best from that wedding.  We all display a portfolio of our favorite images on our websites and Facebook pages.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t grab your attention.  But always ask to see a gallery of a full wedding to ensure that what you are seeing on the website and Facebook is the same that you will receive after your wedding.

4. Consistency. Make sure that the photos you see are consistent. You want to ensure that they can recreate a photo especially if you see one in their portfolio that you really like and would like to have taken at your wedding.1425342_754891090817_343461771_o

5. Personality. Make sure that you get along with and love the personality of your photographer. You spend more time with them than anyone else on your wedding day so you want to make sure you like and get along with them. 

6. Style.  There are so many styles of photography out there now, from lifestyle to portraiture styles of shooting to clean, matte, and artistic styles of editing.  Make sure when looking for a photographer that you find one who’s style you love and will continue to love.  There are trends that come around even in photographic editing, so make sure that the editing style of your photographer matches what you love not only now but will love years from now.

7. You really do get what you pay for.  I completely understand that we all start somewhere; I was in that boat 4 years ago myself!  But, when I started shooting weddings on my own, I also had over 2 years of second shooting experience under my belt with extensive self-training on learning my camera and it’s settings.  A wedding day is not something that you can recreate and weddings are not an easy thing to shoot.  You want someone who has experience in shooting weddings to ensure they not only can give you a proper timeline and help your day to flow smoothly but also create the beautiful images that you will be proud of.  We all understand that everyone is on a budget, however, you want to do your best to get a great photographer who will capture exactly what you are envisioning. At the end of the day, the only thing you have from your wedding are the photos, so make sure you can look back and love what you receive. Amber-1

For more information about weddings and becoming a #sjbride shoot me an email to amber@southernjewelphotography.com

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