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  • Writer's pictureNina Bashaw

10 tips on helping you pick the perfect wedding photographer

Unlike your other wedding vendors your wedding photos aren't something you can see or hold right away, you don't really know what they will look like until after the wedding is over. That means doing research and being selective when choosing your photographer is extremely important. Here are a 10 things to consider when shopping for your Columbia, SC wedding photographer.

10 tips to help you find the perfect wedding photographer

1: Decide on a editing and shooting style

While researching photographers, you'll need to first decide what type of photography style you like, because that will help determine which kind of photographer you'll want shooting your wedding. Here are a few options to consider

Shooting style :

- Documentary: Instead of a series of posed photos, these are candid shots of people, decor and the action. A photographer with a photojournalistic background will rarely photograph people looking at the camera, the photos capture the moments how they happened rather than posed images.

- Portraiture: If you prefer classic portraits with a variety of poses a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture will be your best bet. However, a good and professional photographer will still be creative when posing you for all of the classic photos you desire. Most wedding photographers do a combination of portraiture and documentary shooting style, however if you have a specific style you love, make sure to find a photographer who specialize in it.

- Editing Style :

- Bright and Airy : It means exactly what comes to mind, bright and light. “Emitting or reflecting much light, shinning and vivid colors”. Often you will find that film and fine art photographers use this kind of editing style. As well as digital and hybrid photographers. In a sense this editing style is “delicate or light as a fairy”.

- Dark and Moody : A photographer defined this style as “light and composition combine with the subject to create an image that generates an emotional response from the viewer. Giving an impression of melancholy or mystery.” This style is the exact opposite of light an airy.

- Classic and colorful : This style is generally associated with a classic portrait style, to me it’s a combination of light and airy and dark and moody. They are usually bright when it comes to exposer of the image, but just dark enough to pick up the details of the dress, accessories, background, color, etc.

2: Do Your Research

Pay close attention to reviews from recent brides and grooms while google for photographers. Look at their reviews, Google, The Knot, Wedding Wire, Facebook, etc. Study the photographers websites and blogs to see galleries of other most recent engagements and weddings they've shot. This will give you an idea of their style and see if they are constant with their editing. Looking at how their website is designed will give you insight about the photographer's personal style and experience. Check out their social media accounts too, look at those reviews as well, ask yourself “is the feedback from clients positive? How does the photographer respond to those reviews?”

3: Set up wedding consultations

If you like what you see in their portfolio and they are in your budget, reach out to them to see if they're available for your wedding date. If the photographer is already booked on your date, ask if they can can recommend another photographer with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with you’re favorite potential photographers who are available on your wedding date and with in your budget. The point of this meeting is to look at more of their work, talk about their wedding packages, wedding day philosophy / approach, and decide whether your personalities mesh. They will probably ask you several questions too, such as your venue, your wedding style, and what you envision for your photos.

4: Ask to see full wedding galleries

Photographers display on their website their best pictures, all from different engagements and weddings, so you're seeing the best of the best. And that’s a good thing, but you want to see real weddings they have shot and get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see a couple full galleries from real engagements and weddings they have shot so you can see how consistent they are with posing and editing, and envision what your photos might look like.

5: Study those galleries

When reviewing a photographer's portfolio, look for the important and moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they saw each other for the first time? Also look for editing of images, compositions, angles, posing, and good lighting. Did they get a variety of poses? Were there photos of the details?

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6: Make sure your personalities click

Don't underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. I strongly suggest you don’t pick your photographer solely based on their website. It is key that you meet your potential photographers in person. It is so important that you get along with your photographer and your personalities click. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you talk about it? When they talk, do they present them in a clear and respectful way? Are their mannerisms off-putting? Do they look you in the eye when you are talking? A professional photographer should a easily pick up on on social queues but is bold enough to take control when needed and direct people in a kind and respectful way, someone who is creative and isn’t afraid to go looking for places to take your photos at, and at the same time can put you at ease and doesn't annoy you. After all when your wedding day comes, they are the one vendor that will be with you all day, up to 8 to 10 hours, and the more you like and trust your photographer, the better the photos will turn out. You do not want your photographer to offend or disrespect any bridal party, family or guests, a good and professional photographer should know how to get the shot in good lighting while being unobtrusive. To get those must have images, your photographer should be assertive enough to seek out great moments, yet relaxed enough to capture relaxed smiles and natural stances. Above all they should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.

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7: Ask about second shooters

Ask whether the photographer will bring any assistants to your wedding, and if so, how many? If their packages do not automatically include a second shooter, ask how much of an additional cost that would be consider hiring a second shooter. Benefits to having two photographers is that you get twice as much coverage and from several different views and angles. For example, during your formal photos, the main photographer will capture the formal photos, you will look at them for photos, the main photographer will direct you, and the second shoot will be getting different angles and a different perspective. I personally do not shoot a full wedding day without a second shooter. It helps really keep things calm and stress free having another photographer there.

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8: Are they with in your budget

Wedding photography prices will vary based on on they offer in the package, amount of coverage, second shooters, albums, ect. Wedding package prices can range from $2,500 all the way up to $10,000 on the higher end of the luxury spectrum. It's extremely important to find out exactly what's included in their wedding packages. Ask about a la carte times that are not included in the base price, such as an engagement shoot, additional coverage, albums, prints, canvas, etc. It’s key find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. You want your photographer to be there to capture all those key and must have photos. ( getting ready, first look, bride and groom formals, bridal party, family, and reception details) Every photographers rate will be different based on their experience and what they offer in their packages. Decide what’s important to you and ask any questions you have about what is and is not included in the package.

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9: The difference between copyright and print right

Legally the photographer owns the copyrights to each and every photo they take. The law says that the photographer created that image as soon as the shutter is released. The photographer who pushed the button owns the copyright. A photographer will own that copyright throughout their life. This means that the photographer can use them promotionally, such as on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even use them in ads and for bridal shows. You as the client do have print rights to the images, you can post them on social media, display them in your home and share them with friends and family. Print rights/release means that you can print for your own use, but you don’t own the images and can’t resell, edit or alter them.

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10: When and how will you receive your images

Every photographer is different, but for me I usually get my clients their images with in 6 to 8 weeks from their wedding and their images will be displayed in a password-protected online gallery within 6 weeks of your wedding day. It varies, but many photographers say that they spend triple amount of time than your wedding day coverage when editing your photos. First of all your photographer will go through and pick the best of the best images, this is called “culling”, this part is often the most time consuming. Then those images are editing with basic Lightroom editing soft wear, and from there retouching to any images that need to be done are then taken into Photoshop, this again is very meticulous and time time consuming. So you can see why it takes up to six to eight weeks or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are to have your gallery ready. So with that said here are some questions to ask your photographer: : How many images should I expect? Will they be high-resolution? Will they have your logo on them? Can I request additional retouching? How much does it cost to do additional retouching?

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