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Finding your Perfect Wedding Photographer – Part 1

Building a Foundation

Some of you might think, “Hey, I just got engaged. I probably wont actually get married for another year or two, I don’t have to think about this now.” As much as there are tons of other things to research well in advance, a common mistake is that many people leave booking a wedding photographer later in the process then they should. We suggest booking (therefore researching and interviewing before this) 12 months before the day or more. As soon as you know your date, venue, budget, and size of the wedding? Waste no time. Book that perfect photographer, because they won’t be available forever!
Vietnamese Wedding, shot at the Peace Bridge in Calgary Vietnamese Wedding, shot at the Peace Bridge in Calgary
Now, we’ve all got that cousin or that friend from college who has a really expensive looking DSLR, has that Facebook page that they keep inviting you to like, and is trying to make a go at it as a photographer right? The photography industry has changed dramatically in the last 15 years, Cellphones are such a big part of our lives with their ability to do almost anything. Instagram has filters that make your photos look awesome. And DSLRs? They’re becoming increasingly less expensive and therefore more available to people who want to have photography as a hobby. With this burst of availability, photography seems to be a perceivable accessible craft to be successful in, and there are more photographers more than ever. So how can one NOT be confused when looking at different prices, packages, and portfolios to choose from? What makes one good?
First thing: people who make their entire living on photography, make this living for good reason! This is their craft which they have refined and worked on for a significant part of their lives. As much as you wouldn’t get someone who took a wood-shop class in high school to renovate your front porch, you should not have someone who looks at photography as an interest, however passionate they may be, to be handling something this huge on the most important day of your life!
Now some people look at a photographer and see that they have really expensive looking equipment (and a large amount of it), and that is automatically going to result in really great pictures. This is not true. Our friend Bryan Caporicci – who is a wedding photographer in Ontario always points out that the photographer is the one who makes the stunning photo with a combination of three things, and we couldn’t agree more!
Direction: A wedding is one of the most complicated things to shoot. You have all sorts of factors weighing on how the day is going to go. You have weather, light changes as the day goes on, dealing with crowds, restricted timelines, and only so many moments to get it right. It takes an enormous amount of skill to be seen but at the same time unseen. To be direct and get exactly what the happy couple wants, but also making sure that everyone is happy. They have to be photojournalists for candid photos and portrait photographers for family shots. This is done by direction and suggestion.
Editing: This ranges from artistic, heavy editing to just a few minor adjustments. This is a huge part of what the finished product will look like.
Personality: The personality of the photographer you choose is of the utmost importance. As with any other art form, photography is where you express creativity. The way your photographer looks at the world and they way they capture moments factors into what the end result of their art is going to be. Because guess what? Your wedding is a work of art! And every single one of your photos should be that as well. Is your photographer a hopeless romantic? Funky? Imaginative? Classic? Who they are as a person is clearly visible in what kind of photos they take!
Lets not forget: you will be spending your day with this person on a more intimate level then you’d expect. They will be in contact with all of your dear ones and be by your side the whole day in a non-instrusive manner. As Bryan says: “You pick your best friends to stand beside you on your wedding day because you like them, you trust them, you get along with them and you know they have your best interests at heart. Similarly, you should choose the photographer that you love, trust, get along with and who you know will have your best interests at heart.”

The Big Question to Ask Yourself

Now here is a question to ask yourself: How important is photography to you?
This is something that will help you in your first stages of planning: make a list of the things of the things you think are important for your special day. Spending time with both families? The food to be amazingly good? The pictures to be absolutely incredible? Set Number 1 as your first priority, 2 as your second priority, and so on and so forth. Is photography near the top of the list? Top 5?
From this you will not only have a good idea of what is important to you as a couple for this experience, but also get an idea of what the priorities are in regards to the budget. Don’t spend %15 of your wedding budget on centerpieces unless that is what you and your partner have discussed as being important!
This concludes our first installment of Finding a Perfect Wedding Photographer for all you engaged folks out there. Next week we’ll be talking about discovering your individual taste, the resources to find a photographer in your area, and what to look for!
Thanks again from all of us at Nirvana Photography Studios. Until next week! 🙂