Wedding panorama portrait at the Scansonia Ferry.
The wedding of Kelly and Shaun, Skansonia Ferry, 2008

5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

ARE ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE SAME WEDDING?
I’d be concerned if they were all from the same wedding. If they are, it shows a lack of experience. Experienced professional photographers have shot many different brides and that should show in their work. At the other extreme, I would be concerned if they only show one photograph from each wedding. That makes me think the photographer only gets one good picture from the whole day. You should be looking for some consistency over a range of photographs from many different weddings with at least three or four different pictures from each wedding in their sample online gallery or album. .

DO YOU ACTUALLY LIKE THIS PERSON?
If you select him you will be spending the most important day of your life with him or her so be sure you are comfortable and like being around them. If the photographer’s personality clashes with yours, you could be in for an unhappy day - or at least an awkward one. Do not risk being unhappy on the most important day of your life. Reading the photographer’s personality is just as important as looking through their portfolio. When you talk with a prospective photographer, get a feel for them and see if they were someone you’d want to hang out with. Does he listen to you? A photographer that talks all the time about how great they are someone you should stay away from. How can the photographer know what you are looking for if they do not take the time to listen to you?

HOW TO BE SURE YOU ARE DEALING WITH A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Ask them if they do photography as a full time career? If yes that is a good sign. If they say no, they aren’t a professional photographer, and will have nothing to lose if they mess up your wedding photographs. How long have they been in business? Anything under a year is suspect, mainly because they will probably not have enough experience. Two to three years is not bad since they photographer has probably had enough wedding experience to know what to expect and how to deal with most situations that may arise. Anything over three years is best since it is proof they are doing pretty well and probably having a decent reputation.

IF THE PRICE THEY ARE OFFERING SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT PROBABLY IS.
You may be lucky and find a talented photographer for under $1500 for whole day coverage. Like most things in life you get what you pay for. You will most likely end up with nothing like you asked for, poor quality, badly composed photographs at best. If you can increase your budget from the bottom range and to the next level say, $2000 to $3000, you will expand your choices greatly and you will end up with beautiful photographs that last a lifetime. If you move to the next level say, $4,000 - $6,000, your choices expand exponentially, because you’re not limited to local photographers, you can get photographers from across the nation. The price is obviously important to you, as you have probably already spent thousands on the wedding itself, but there is no point trying to save money on photography. Everything else gets eaten, forgotten or put into storage, and the photography and the ring are the only things you will have from your day to show everyone. Try your best to stretch that budget and book a professional photographer for as long as you can get them, you won’t regret it.