Welcome to Vendor Selection Blog #4, Picking the Perfect Photographer! We're about halfway through with the vendors that will occupy the majority of your time and attention during your planning process. For many couples, the photographer is the most important, as they will be responsible for creating the physical embodiment of your dreams and memories from your big day. Everything else is essentially just for the day of the wedding, but the photos are for a lifetime. I recently saw a bride describe it perfectly, she said that these photos should bring you happiness and joy whenever you look at them, no matter what else may be going on around you. There are so many incredibly talented photographers in Orlando, it can be overwhelming finding just the right one. But luckily, you're here reading this post, which will help you focus on what's most important to you when selecting the perfect photographer. Let's get going!
1. Style, and a personal connection, will matter most: You will spend more time with your wedding photographer than any other vendor you choose for your big day. Between engagement sessions, the actual wedding day, edits, and the final big reveal, you will be meeting with and talking to your photographer a lot. Facebook and Insta-stalking are pretty much a given these days as you narrow down your candidates, but also take a bit of time to get to learn more about them personally. See what you have in common, find out if your personalities click, and let them know what is important to you in a photographer. You will work better with, and take direction more easily from, someone you like and feel connected with.
2. Are they familiar with your venue? It may seem obvious, but you really want to have a photographer who is familiar with your venue. Assuming you have chosen your venue by the time you get to this stage, it's simple enough to confirm with your candidates if they have experience at the property. If they have worked there, ask them for a gallery of those shots, as it will give you ideas for pictures you may want to duplicate, while letting you examine their style. If they have not ever worked at your venue before, ask if they are willing to go there with you for a visit prior to the wedding day. This will allow you to walk the property, spot out locations for specific pictures, and form a better idea of the timeline and movements that will happen on the day of the wedding. Getting family and friends organized for photos between ceremony and reception is always a bit chaotic, so it's worth the time investment to have a plan in place.
3. Be honest about what you want, and rely on their expertise: Most couples have very specific ideas of what shots they want, and the feelings they want to have, from their photos. Don't be afraid to share those ideas and thoughts with all the photographers you interview, and let them tell you how they would go about accomplishing them. That will help give you a glimpse into their style and personality, and you will get a feel for how you will be able to collaborate on making it all work together.
These photographers are all experts in their field, at using their equipment to its fullest potential to achieve great results, and at utilizing time and your specific spaces to create the masterpieces you want. As you develop your connection with them, you will learn to rely on their advice about when, where and what is best for your photos. This includes time of day (golden hour!!) and where to shoot (suggestions for engagement shoot locations as well as the best places on your venue property). Remember that they want you to look fabulous and be supremely happy with the end result, so they will do everything with that goal in mind, so you can trust them to have your best interests at heart.
4. Other things to ask: Find out if your photographer employs a second shooter, or if it is an option you can purchase. For wedding parties larger than 10 people, we recommending have a second shooter to make sure all the wonderful moments are captured. Even with the best pros, it can be hard to catch everything when the bride and groom are on separate sides of the property, but a second shooter takes away that worry. Ask them if they have the equipment to capture all the photos you want. If you know you will want outdoor photographs at night, ask if they have their own lighting setups that will provide silhouetting, back-lit shots, etc. Or if you have your heart set on a super wide shot of the two of you with some sort of nature in the background, confirm they have the required lenses to make it happen. Again, these are professionals so chances are very good they will already have everything they need and more, but it never hurts to ask and avoid surprises on the wedding day.
We hope these tips help to narrow the field and let you hone in on what makes the perfect photographer for your vision. Take a look at our main blog page to see our real wedding spotlights (with lots of pro photographs!), and get in touch with us if you have any questions about them or the services we offer! See you back here soon for more!
*All photos credit of their owners/photographers. *There is no paid advertising in this article. All vendors we mention by name are because we have worked with them and trust them to be a good resource for anyone planning a wedding in Orlando. There are many more that we don't have the space to list individually, but you can always contact us for recommendations if you get stuck picking a few to interview!