Today I'm am excited to welcome Sergey and Dilyara from Red Trolly Studio at our featured guest blogger! As one of the top photographers in San Diego, they are sharing their knowledge on selecting the perfect photographer for your wedding. Keep reading to learn more from this fantastic photography team!!
So you are engaged now and your mind starts to race about the details: picking a date, who to invite, picking a venue, choosing a dress and much, much more! But one of the most important decisions to be made for any wedding, big or small, is the wedding photographer. When you find yourself overwhelmed with too many choices, it can become difficult to decide. You might think it is a long process and you have to do a lot of research, but no worries, we’ve already done it for you.
Here are 10 steps to help narrow down the best photographer for you ceremony:
STEP 1: Wedding Photography Styles.
Understand the different wedding photography styles in order to see which one best fits the type of ceremony you want to have:
There are few styles that wedding photographers are divided in to:
Fashion: The photographers that specialize in this style would not necessary concentrate on catching the moments but have good knowledge of how to create few beautiful portraits of a couple that you usually find in wedding magazines. When looking at the portfolio of this photography style, you may see a lot of contrast and maybe even HDR (High Definition Range) feel in the images.
Traditional: This type of photographer would take more time on family, bride and groom and wedding party portraits. Often, the photographer works in the studio as well and the poses you will see might have a static look.
Vintage: This style is very popular right now and trendy! Often, these photographers specialize on rustic weddings and when you look at their photography work you can find a film look to it.
Documentary / Photojournalistic: These photographers usually try not to spend too much time on the portraits but rather on documenting a wedding as the story. They are very strong on capturing moments and emotions. When you look at those images, often the images have timeless, clean and natural look.
We prefer this category the most because it blends our styles together by creating beautiful artistic portraits on the wedding day.
STEP 2: Choose the Style that Fits You.
After you have an idea about different photography styles, think about your wedding. Depending on how you picture it, choose the style that fits your personality and vision of the wedding. Find a few of your favorite photographers with this particular style that you picked. HOW to do this bring us to STEP 3.
STEP 3: Specific Search is Important.
When you start your search for a photographer, include search words with the style type for example: “Vintage Wedding Photography in San Diego.” You also can be more specific by including words that you wish, like “moments“, “emotions”, “romantic”, etc.
So you found a few, maybe 5-10 photographers that fit your criteria and you do not want to spend a lot of time to meet with all of them, the next steps will help you to narrow your list down to the top three.
STEP 4: Look for Consistency.
It is always helpful to check reviews, either on photographer’s website or Yelp. Also, you’ve probably looked at their portfolio that contains best images from different weddings. Make sure the photographer has a blog that features weddings with more images than just a few posted on their homepage. Look more than just one wedding; see if their photography style is consistent.
STEP 5: Time to Contact.
After looking at the blogs you most likely dropped a few photographers already and narrowed down to about 5. Now it is time to contact them. The next steps will help you ask the right questions!
STEP 6: Don’t’ Be Afraid to Ask.
When you write email, do not forget to ask about:
Availability for your wedding day.
If there is a second photographer provided and if this photographer works with the company on regular basis. For example, we (Sergey and Dilyara) work most of the time together and we know right away what to do on the wedding day and we understand each other without really talking. It helps a lot to keep the work and style consistent and quality of the delivered images.
Don’t be afraid to ask for their full gallery of photographs that they typically provide to their clients. Good photographers would never hide their work and would be glad to share a couple of weddings that they photographed recently.
STEP 7: Give Enough Information.
Try to give as much information about your wedding as possible to the photographer when writing your e-mail: date, location, number of guests, what you are looking for in the photography, what products you would like to get, such as digital images or album, etc. It is always helpful when photographer provides you with the quote or a range of what you are looking to invest.
STEP 8: Can They Meet Your Needs?
If you have questions, check the FAQ page first. Here is where you will find the most helpful information. FAQ pages can look something like this (Click Here). If you have additional questions, you can always include them in your email. When getting replies from photographers, see if they were detailed enough and spent time to answer all of your questions.
Also, keep in mind that if you received the pricing information from the photographer and you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for, don’t be discourage by this, most of the time photographers, including us, are open to customizing the wedding collections that would meet the clients’ needs.
STEP 9: Face-To-Face Talk Time.
After getting and reviewing photographers’ replies, most likely you would end up with 2 or 3 photographers. It is very important to meet or Skype (if it is a destination wedding) with your wedding photographer to make your final decision. By this time you probably know a lot of information about these photographers. From our experience, we found that during face-to-face meeting is where the client and the photographer will determine if their personalities fit each other. It is very important that you meet with the actual person who is going to photograph your wedding and not their representative. As a boutique studio, we also believe that all conversations should be done directly with your photographer, so he/she is aware of all your wedding details and what is important for you.
STEP 10: Don’t Wait Till the Last Moment.
Do not wait! If you feel the connection, you love the work, you trust the photographer and their vision, book the photographer ASAP. We’ve had many cases when the client took time to book us after the meeting and when they contacted us later, found that someone else booked us already.
We hope that by following these steps you will find the right photographer for your wedding. Preparing for a wedding is a huge task and having a plan set in place can always remove some of the stress.
Sergey and Dilyara – Red Trolley Studio