There are a lot of tips out there on choosing the best wedding photographer for your important day. From the plentiful photography styles to abundant lists of questions to ask your photographer, the resourceful internet makes it seem difficult to find the right wedding photographer. While most of the guidelines are valid, we think the first step on choosing a basket of candidates should be less complicated and more intuitive. Try to look at enough portfolios, be it on the web or on social network platform such as Instagram, to figure out what kind of images speak to you the most. A picture is a thousand words. You don’t need a friend or the internet to tell you the kind of “style” that resonates with you personally. You might even be surprised of the photographs you ended up liking the most. Some cheerful couples are moved by moody and intimate images. Others growing up knowing only posed wedding portraits discover candid moments dearest to their hearts. Browse through enough images so you are not caught up by presumptions or eye-catching styles.
Here we assume you already had a list of your favourite photographers based on their images and we share the 5 factors we believe you should look at before hiring that one best wedding photographer.
Wedding photographers in Toronto charge an average of $3000 to $4500 per 8 to 10 hours of coverage, as of 2019. Within this range, it is a photographer’s personal choice as of how many weddings to take on each year, hence the variation in price per wedding; and the desired perceived value of their work, think luxury versus intimate weddings. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some charge less to make up for the lack of experience and skills. We all have to start somewhere to build a portfolio. While there’s nothing wrong to hire an inexperienced photographer, just be aware that the quality of work is less consistent. Quality consistency is crucial because there’s no take two when it comes to wedding photography. We will take a deeper look at a wedding photographer’s experience in the next point. Lastly, don’t get hung up with all the extra goodies in a package. Costs of albums and prints vary dramatically depending on the print and paper quality and the source of supply. If a photographer includes a free album in a $2000 package, it’s probably not professional quality. It’s not cheap to get quality prints. This is especially true in Canada. If you want the most budget friendly prints, consider doing it yourself or consult with your photographer. Spend your photography budget on a good photographer instead of a mediocre all-inclusive package.
Experience matters. If you can, get a wedding photographer with over 3 years of full time experience. Wedding photography is very demanding and quite different from other genres of photography. One can only learn from experience. More is not always better. But a minimum of 20 to 30 weddings per year for at least 3 to 5 years give a photographer the fundamental skills for photographing a wedding under different circumstances (think tricky lighting, tight timeline, difficult guests etc.) and dealing with all the possible situations. A wedding day can be unpredictable and stressful. An experienced photographer puts you at ease while capturing memorable images without you knowing. Lastly, give more credit to an independent full time wedding photographer. All else equal, a full time wedding photographer and one who’s independent (versus who’s employed by a studio) is more reliable because more is at stake for the individual.
You can find the best wedding photo portfolio possible from a photographer but you will never be the same person as the couples in those pictures. That’s why it’s important that the photographer’s approach can bring out the best in you. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, look for a photographer who has experience with the same type of clients. Don’t be fooled by style shoots. While they are inspiring, they’re 1) often produced in a very organized environment with lots of help from other vendors, 2) styled with professional models and 3) taken in a generous time frame under less stress than a real wedding. Don’t get obsessed with awards. Simply put, an awarded photographer is often someone who actively submits their work to publications. While that’s great for their exposure, it has little correlation with the type of work that speaks to you. A photographer’s approach is essentially what you will experience on your wedding day and something that’ll directly affect how you look in your wedding photos.
The best way to validate the above mentioned experience and approach of a wedding photographer is not to give them a questionnaire to fill out. Reviews from past clients give you the most objective insights. Google is a good place to start. Look for at least 20 authentic reviews, old and recent. The older reviews prove the years of good experience. The recent reviews indicate the consistency of quality work over time. Anyone can buy likes and reviews on the internet nowadays. Authentic reviews are often on the lengthier side and each has a different tone to it. The reviews should validate all things important to you - be it a relaxed and intimate approach, a stressless experience, the ability to put you at east and capture real moments, quality of images or flexibility to accommodate.
After all the homework you’ve done for your few selected candidates, the final step is to meet the qualifying photographers (online or in person) before making a decision. Some couple swear by working with a photographer of similar personality. From experience, what’s more important is that the photographer is professional, confident, easy-going and patient. Those are easily among the top qualities of a wedding photographer which will bring out the best in most couples on a busy wedding day. A photographer who can crack a joke when you’re stressed makes all the difference in the final images. Equally important it’s a photographer’s ability to stay unobtrusive in the background to capture those subtle emotions. Reviewing a photographer’s real wedding portfolio, reading client reviews and finally meeting the selected few photographers is time well invested in finding the best wedding photographer for your special day. Look for the traits which set a wedding photographer apart and more importantly make you feel comfortable.
Congratulations on finding the best fit! Now it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your wedding day after all the planning! Trust your wedding photographer of choice will make those beautiful moments into memorable images.
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