Houston wedding photographer present;
Selecting a wedding photographer is an essential part of the planning process, as integral as choosing a venue or finding the perfect dress. But unlike your flowers or catering, the photographs from your wedding live on long after the day. It can be difficult to find a photographer who matches your aesthetic and taste—not to mention someone you trust to really capture the most important moments. Will they take the right shots? Will we work well together? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, owner and curator of the Wedding Artists Collective, Lisa Raffo Ashley, has some tips for making sense of it all:
1. Ask around.
“Word of mouth is one of the most tried-and-true methods of finding a photographer you’ll love,” Ashley explains. Going by the old theory, “birds of a feather flock together,” friends often share a common style and similar budgets. If you loved a friend’s wedding, don’t be too shy to ask them about their experience.
2. Instagram, Instagram, Instagram.
This may be one of the only instances in which social media stalking is highly encouraged. Allow yourself to get lost in an endless scroll. “Start by scanning the feeds of your favorite wedding blogs or magazines,” Ashley recommends. Or trail through a beautiful venue’s geotag. In the process of clicking from profile to profile of accounts that share your taste and vision, you may end up settling on the perfect person that you wouldn’t have otherwise found. “Alternatively, use the ‘Explore’ feature on Instagram and search by popular wedding hashtags, including #weddinginspiration, #weddingphotography, and #weddingdetails,” says Ashley.
3. Settle on a style.
“Try and form a clear idea of whether you are more drawn to the organic aesthetic achieved with film or the crisp, classic style that digital photography offers,” Ashley explains. Taking the time to browse a photographer’s portfolio can be invaluable to finding the right fit. Are you looking for candid, documentary style or more posed and traditional portraits? “If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, focus on a photographer who specializes in it,” she advises.
4. Know your setting.
“With so much talent to choose from, it can be easy to hire a photographer simply on the beauty of their work, rather than taking into account what your weddingwill actually look like,” Ashley emphasizes. “If you’re marrying in an intimate indoor space in the city, look for inspiration along that vein, rather than being distracted by open, airy outdoor wedding photos,” she adds.
5. Be informed.
Understanding the costs for various products and services is the first step in making informed wedding decisions. “While many photographers don’t post their pricing online, use their portfolio to gain insights into the types of weddings they shoot.” Ashley recommends using their work to gauge their prices. If their Instagram is stacked with large private estate events or destination weddings with details galore, you can assume that their fees likely start at a higher price point than a photographer who may shoot smaller celebrations.
6. Start with one vendor and the rest will follow.
Have you found the florist of your dreams? Ask them who their favorite photographers are. “The wedding industry is a close-knit community–don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from industry vendors,” she suggests. Another option is to look at their website to see who shot weddings they were a part of. “This will not only give you an idea if their styles might match but also if they’re going to fit in your budget.”
7. Make sure your personalities mesh.
So you’ve found a photographer you like. What’s next? And moreover, how do you make sure they fit with your style and personality? When crafting your first email, make sure to expand on simply the venue, date, and hours of coverage needed. “Share who you are and your vision for the day,” encourages Ashley. “If the photographer feels a connection with you they may respond in a more personal tone, creating an opportunity for sparks to fly.” Better yet? Don’t just leave it to email. If you aren’t able to meet in person, set up a phone or Skype call. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person on one of the most intimate days of your lives. “If you take the time to establish trust from the start, you’re likely to have the experience you want on your wedding day.”
8. Review their work.
“Be sure to ask for three to four full galleries from past weddings,” recommends Ashley. It’s so important to see how a photographer is going to cover a wedding from start to finish, she explains. Don’t just look at the highlights in their portfolio (anyone can scrap together 30-40 great images for their online portfolio). In addition, ask for references. Talk to other couples about their favorite moments with the photographer as well as any aspects to learn from.
9. Agree on the details.
There are a few critical things to keep in mind before you sign a contract. Most importantly, when will the photographer provide the final images? Be clear about the timeline so you know what to expect. If you’re getting married in the fall, do you want your photographs by the holidays? Do you envision making large-format prints to frame, or creating a wedding album? All these elements should be discussed and agreed upon in advance so you know what to expect post-wedding.