HOW TO CHOSE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

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HOW TO CHOSE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

As if planning a wedding wasn't enough work, researching, interviewing and hiring a wedding photographer is a whole other job in itself! You're right, there are a lot of choices out there. How do you know who the right photographer is? 

Allow me make things easier on you! I've been in the industry for a little while now and have even had my hand at planning a few weddings for friends too! Life has quite literally prepared me to be a wedding photographer! I've been bridesmaid too many times to count on both hands! I'm not quite the  '27 Dresses' girl yet, but I my friends would say that I'm a pretty much a professional bridesmaid.  Ha! Ha! I've learned some crucial lessons through my bridesmaid and wedding photographer diaries and I'm going to share of few with you today.

TOP 5 things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer:

1. CHEMISTRY

You thought you were done gauging 'chemistry' once he put a ring on it, didn't ya? Think again my friend!  Chemistry is huge when it comes to finding your wedding photographer.  Consider this, you'll be spending 8+ hours with this person and so will your family and friends. Your wedding is one of the most intimate events of your life. You want to feel comfortable with your photographer, so they feel more like a friend than a '3rd wheel'. It sounds ridiculous I know but good chemistry takes the experience to the next level! At the end of the day, my advice is hire someone you would be friends with.

2. STYLE & CREATIVE VISION

Hashtag are a girl's (or guy's) best friend! Get on Instagram and search #weddingphotography or #weddingphotographyYYC. Scroll through the feed, stop when you see a photo that speaks to you and save it by selecting the banner on the right hand corner of the image. Doing this will save the photo to a 'collection'. Once you're done scrolling, review the collection and analyze the images. What drew you to these photos? Was it the style, the feel, the color, emotions etc? Understanding the photographic style that you are drawn to is a huge part of the hiring process. Once you discover this, you will be able to pick from a smaller pool of photographers in your area making the selection process much easier on you. 

3.  BUDGET

I get it! Weddings are mucho dinero's, so you want to invest wisely. You can hire someone for under $1000 all the way up to $15,000+. Photography is a very expensive and time consuming hobby which is directly reflected in wedding photography prices. Let's say you have a budget of $2500-$3000 for photography and the photographer you're interested in is a little out of your price-range. Don't be afraid to reach out any ways! They might have alternative payment options to accommodate you or maybe there are other ways they can accommodate your budget. You'll never know if you don't ask. Obviously you want to be sensitive when negotiating, as to not insult the photographer's experience and craft but start the conversation! A little convo ain't never hurt nobody.

If you're hiring a photographer for under $2000 you're likely getting someone who is pretty new to the scene, with average gear and limited experience with problem solving when things go awry. Don't get me wrong! I'm not hating on the aspiring photographer!  I've been 'that girl' before. We all have to start somewhere right? However, if photography is super important to you I would encourage you to stretch your budget to hire someone with more experience, better gear and ample experience in creating beautiful images whether the day goes smoothly or not.

4. THE EXTRA'S

Most photographers will offer their clients a complimentary engagement session when booking a wedding package. It's an incredible value and add-on which directly affects your wedding day - for the better!  E-sessions are an incredible way to build trust and rapport with your photographer. (We LOVE getting to know you too!) It makes the wedding day so much more fun and relaxed.

I make sure I always include 'surprise extra's' for my clients throughout their entire experience. Now, I won't tell you all my secrets OK, but I will tell you some! One awesome 'extra' my clients receive upon signing a contract is a wedding planning package. This entails a wedding day timeline spreadsheet, a guideline on what to consider when scheduling the day to ensure everything runs smoothly and that we're able to capture everything they're dreaming of. It's a small gesture that can definitely help ease the wedding planning process. That is just scratching the surface in how I spoil my clients.  If you want to find out more, you'll just have to get married and have me along for the journey. ;) 

5. PASSION

You can easily gauge if a photographer is passionate about their craft or not. In every industry regardless of the trade, there are people who are in it simply for the business.  Now for someone who is investing a significant amount of money in to a historical heirloom, such as wedding photos, I would definitely be looking for a photographer who passionate. Passion in wedding photographer is important for a couple of reasons: they care about the details, they care about YOU and they care about what they create. Their motivation is serving you through creativity which takes a lot of intentional planning and artistic discipline. You want a photographer who sees your wedding less as a business transaction and more of an honour.

Every time I meet with a client I share the story about how I got in to photography. I worked in a few industries that sucked the energy and 'soul' out of me for a little while. Although I was successful in my career, I was unhappy because there wasn't room for creativity. So God challenged me to dream without considering any limitations. I wrote my list down and He said, 'What do you have faith for right now?'  That day I chose photography and it's changed my life. (no joke) During that time, I was working 10 hour days 5 days a week. I would come home straight after work to study and practice photography. Sometimes I would stay up until 2AM-3AM learning, just so desperate to understand the craft! Many times, I would wake up to the tutorial videos still playing the background with my camera next to me in bed. HA! HA! Call me crazy, but it was so worth it!  I can genuinely say pursing this art has impacted my life for the better and has opened some pretty amazing doors.  So when I pick up my camera and head to shoot, I know the gift that it is EVER. SINGLE. TIME. because I've lived a life with and without creativity. Nothing compares to doing what you love! That is my reality and I'm forever grateful to those that trust me to document their lives.

There you have it folks! My TOP 5 pieces of advice to finding your wedding photographer! If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out here or via Instagram. I'd be happy to help you!

Never lose the wonder,

Erin XO 

Erin Smith