To start I am not going to try and convince you why you should book us, or tell you the rules to hire a Destination Wedding Photographer. There are not rules and if there are, rules can always be broken! But I can give you some tips that I think are great to help you make the process easier and more successful!
Before you begin researching photographers, you’ll need to first decide how important the photography is for you because there are big probabilities that your images will be one of the only tangible things you can take from your wedding day.
Determine what style of photography you like better.
What type of photography style you prefer will help to determine which kind of photographer you’ll want shooting your wedding.
●If instead of a series of posed photos, you would love a lot of candid or spontaneous pictures (read: not styled) of people, decor and the action. Maybe your motley crew of cousins dancing or you and your bridesmaids laughing, champagne in hand. With a purely photojournalistic photographer, you’ll very rarely see people staring at the camera, the photos capture the moments exactly as they happen and together they tell a story.
●Or maybe you prefer classic portraits (think: your parents’ wedding album.) Go with a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture. These are posed shots of the two of you, friends and family in front of various backdrops. That’s not to say there isn’t room for creativity in this category. While some photographers will pose subjects in more traditional spots (like at the ceremony altar or out on the lawn of the country club) and in more formal poses (standing as a group together), other photographers take portraiture further into the creative realm with a more dramatic composition (the couple sitting on a lounge chair at their hip hotel reception venue, or the couple holding hands and both watching far away while the sunset wears the horizons with the most beautiful colors.
●Or maybe you prefer a fine art photography style. Though it’s similar to documentary photography, this style gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their particular point-of-view and style into your photographs. So while the shots reflect reality, it’s the photographer’s reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are, or look as though they were shot on film (most probable they were) with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance. Usually the object (or couple) is in focus and the background appears to blur. Motion also looks very natural in this style of photography.
Many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, and will do a mix of black-and-white and color images, but if there’s a special style you love, make sure to check with your photographer about it.
Do your homework
That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing your photographer. Start your search by reading reviews from recent brides and wedding destination forums. Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot which will give you an idea of their style. The design of the website may also give you clues about the photographer’s personality and sensibility. Check out their social media pages as well; is the feedback from clients good? How does the photographer respond?
Determine your needs to set up a realistic budget
For some brides the ideal it is to have their photographer to be there for the full wedding day; from when they start getting ready until after they make the grand exit from the reception. But that’s not true for every couple and while packages vary, most include about 6 to 12 hours to cover everything from pre-ceremony events (getting ready with your bridesmaids or first-look photos) to the end of the reception. Consider to pay for more coverage if there’s a chance you’ll run over and you definitely want your photographer there until the end (overtime is usually charged at a higher hourly rate). Also, consider if you would like to have your photographer shoot other events during your wedding weekend (the guys golf outing, the bridesmaid lunch). But don’t make the mistake of prioritizing products over the photography. If you have a limited budget for wedding photography, invest the money in the photographer and not the album, for example. If you look for a less expensive photographer in order to have money left over for an album, you will likely end up with bad photos in a pretty package.
When searching ask for a general range based on the photographer’s standard “shooting fee” and packages (i.e. hourly, –day-of, full weekend). It’s important to find out what’s included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want; like an engagement shoot, additional coverage, cinematography, trash the dress etc, so you can have a realistic idea of how much of your budget you should dedicate to your photography.
Make sure, there is chemistry between you and your potential photographer
After you’ve found a photographer that may fit according to style and budget, ask for a personal interview. A video conference is a great tool to meet your destination photographer that leaves too far from you. This will give you a great clue about if that specific photographer would be a good match with you and your group. Make a list about all the information you may need before the meeting to be ready to move forward on hiring that photographer. It’s easier for us to answer questions during live interviews. After that first consultation the communication will be a lot easier, I can assure you. Ask them to show you some samples of complete weddings galleries to see what they have done in the past, so you can have a better idea of how that photographer would approach your wedding throughout the complete day.
Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer.
● Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it?
● When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they bossy rock star photographers?
● Are their mannerisms off-putting?
In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way. Remember, they’ll be shadowing your every move and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out.
I am also going to tell you what a lot of photographers wish you knew but won’t say; be nice and respectful to your photographer and understand that you have to like them as much as they like you.
Trust them. Instead of giving them a list of must have shots from other photographers, make an appointment and talk to them about how you envision your wedding; how you are longing for beautiful sparkler shots, beautiful close-ups at sunset of you and your groom sharing an intimate, closed eyes and lips touching smile. Talk to them about that beautiful bridal lingerie that you bought for your wedding night that you’d love to have a shot with. They will be so happy to capture that special moment while getting ready.
Great photography is an art and it requires certain conditions to be developed, if a photographer is particularly happy and excited about an adorable bride or wedding, their creative juices are going to flow better.Make your photographer feel like one of the guests and they will do everything for you, even to stay those extra minutes you need without asking you about the bill first.
And finally and most important, enjoy your wedding day! Because of the intense emotions of the day there are a lot of probabilities that it will fly by. So delegate everything that can be delegated. Focus on you. Embrace and enjoy your day. Flirt with you husband, smile a lot, dance and have a great time! I can guarantee that your photographer will capture those great memories just beautifully.