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What to look for in a wedding photographer

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So you're getting married! Congratulations on the momentous occasion! Now it's time to make your dream wedding come true. You have the venue, wedding coordinator, caterer, and everything else but now you need to find your photographer. Their are so many options, recommendations from friends and family, and what makes it even harder is their is no consistency in pricing. You have budgets ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of pesos, how do you choose one? Well, hopefully I can help you with that decision.

I know as a wedding photographer myself it may sound like I am trying to sell my service but I assure you I just want you to be happy with your choice regardless if it is with me or not. Picking a wedding photographer is almost like choosing who is your best friend, wedding photographers are perhaps the most involved suppliers in your wedding. We're with you from the beginning of the process to the end of the process with the job of telling your whole wedding story! So let's begin on how to find your wedding photographer.

Studios made up of freelancers (Photography Brokers)

This is a tough one, there are a lot of "studios" made up of freelancers who would love to cover your wedding at a very affordable rate. This can be a great option for those who are on an extremely tight budget but there are some things to look out for. I typically don't suggest this option if you're looking for quality output. I'm not saying you can't get good results this way, I'm just saying it is a risk and here's why.

  1. The team is typically made up of a casting call of whoever is available which leads to a team of people who may have or have not worked together in the past.
  2. Lack of consistency, organization, backup/redundancy, and process.
  3. Gear used may be less than desired due to budget constraints of the photographer.
  4. Difference in skill level across the team. You may have a veteran or a newbie photographer.
  5. Higher risk of low quality output and delays.

Now, there are some very valid reasons for choosing this option mainly being available budget. Just keep in mind these brands are not actual studios, or even well trained teams. They are literally Photography Brokers with no central point of responsibility/accountability.

Powerhouse/Big Name Photographers

You know them, the world knows them, even we are on the edge of falling into this category. These are the famous, in high demand photographers who usually charge accordingly. Be ready to dig deep into your pocket for these photographers, but usually they deserve it. Here are some reason why.

  1. Consistent style.
  2. They need to protect their reputation thus will usually provide the best service possible.
  3. You know what you're going to receive before you buy.
  4. Gear used is usually top shelf in the photography industry, tried and true professional tools with the skillset on how to use them.

Now it's not all sunshine and roses there are some potential downfalls which usually pertain to how they run business. These highly sought after big name photographers tend to be busy and while some are hands on, there is a good portion that have assembled their own teams to handle the wedding day. Which is fine since they tend to be well trained to meet his demands but it is still something to be aware of.

Another potential downfall may be the "celebrity mentality" aka diva complex. An unfortunate side effect to fame and success tends to be a big ego. This big ego can make someone inflexible, unwilling to go out of their comfort zone to please you the client, or even refuse to provide service if their conditions are not met (situation isn't what they like). 

Studios (Business minded wedding photographers)

For me this is where I feel we fit in and in my biased opinion is the best fit for most weddings. Studio's specializing in wedding photography tend to be competitive in pricing and offer all the benefits of the Big Name Photographers. They have consistent style, tend to have the proper gear and skill set to accomplish the job, operate in professionalism, offer guarantees, and also tend to make customer service their top priority. Here are some things to look for when choosing a studio or any photography service for that matter.

  1. Check their online galleries/portfolio.
  2. Look for reviews and what others are saying about them.
  3. Meet with them, see if they are a fit for you.

Budget

And the hardship of it all boils down to budget. I urge everyone to prioritize coverage as one of your main expenses of your wedding. I don't say that because I am a wedding photographer I say this because I have heard too many stories of couples wishing they would have chosen a higher level photography service because they were unhappy with their coverage, output, the headaches they have had to deal with. I alway's suggest to couples choose the best provider your budget affords and in some cases you may have to increase your budget to get the service you desire.