I know. You’ve been searching for the best wedding photographer for so long and are trying to make sure every detail of your day is perfect. You’ve looked at oodles of websites, done reviews, tried to compare their work & style, looked at prices, but you still just don’t know what to do. Planning your wedding can be stressful and choosing the right wedding photographer for you can be hard. Really hard! But, planning is supposed to be a lot of fun, so hopefully, this will help you with your decision to find the best wedding photographer for you!
As a disclaimer, we are Atlanta wedding photographers that shoot beautiful weddings all over the US with no travel fees and we DO want you to hire us! :)THE PRICE
This is normally the first thing people consider when choosing a photographer and for obvious reasons. Everyone has a budget when planning their wedding and they allocate different amounts to each area of their planning based on what’s most important to them. I’m a little biased, but to me, your photographer is THE most important vendor at your wedding. They are the ones documenting every aspect of your day for you to remember it with a tangible memory. Consider this, after you have planned for months, maybe years, your magic day is over, and you are off on your honeymoon, there is nothing left but the photographs.
There are a lot of things that go into pricing aside from just the talent and experience. There are business things like expensive photography equipment, marketing, websites, advertising, office supplies, studio supplies, and other overhead costs, TAXES (lots of taxes!!), business INSURANCE (in case someone gets hurt at your wedding and most all venues require it), computers, expensive programs, photography training and workshops (we always want to improve), business training and workshops (running a business is hard), time spent for emailing, in-person meetings, Skype meetings, phone calls, traveling, etc. Every second costs photographers and business owners alike..money.
If you don’t have the money in the budget, then you can’t afford the photographer you really want, right? Maybe, maybe not. It could be as simple as you can’t afford the photographer you want, but then again, maybe they offer specials for weekday weddings or even give discounts. They could be looking for a certain unique wedding to add to their portfolio, or they are willing to negotiate their fee. Also, some might have last minute openings they would like to fill. Many offer customizable packages that are already discounted and/or an A La Carte pricing where you can get exactly what you want. You don’t just have to negotiate over money either. Maybe you would like a little extra time or something else. You don’t know until you ask.
So don’t rule out your first choice right away. Ask! Even for a discount! But also understand, We do work REALLY hard and have pretty expensive equipment, business expenses, taxes, as well as, giving up prime time with our families. Always remember to be respectful of the photographer’s time, talent, art, and business. Most weddings also only happen on one of the 52 weekends and we typically do not work every weekend. Most often, 20-26 weekends are the prime days for weddings.WHAT ARE YOU GETTING?
This can be a confusing area. You can’t just look at the price and try to compare one photographer vs another based solely on that. You have to really know what you’re getting for the price. Not just the service and products, but also the experience and education of the photographer. Every photographer will have their pricing structure set up slightly different, but there are two basic pricing models.
Model I – you hire the photographer for their time, talent, & experience only. You purchase everything including digital files, albums, wall art, and prints separately only through your photographer.
Model II – you hire your photographer for their time, talent, & experience. You get all of the high-resolution files with rights to print at your convenience included.
Of course, there are hybrids of both, but the main difference is you pay for prints, digital files, and other products separately or they are included in the package. For most people, being able to actually own the digital files is extremely important, but definitely do miss out on a beautiful album. This is your first heirloom as a new family and something that is easily shared and experienced with others like your children. It can be frustrating to have to go back to the photographer ever time you want additional copies of your photos, or worse if they go out of business, then what?
In the end, they are your photos of your day. The important thing is to make sure you fully understand what is included, what you are paying for, and you are getting exactly what you want.STYLE & VISION
This is also extremely important. Style typically refers to a photographer’s shooting style (you know, the way they see, their vision, and how they capture things). There is also the post processing style of your images, or how the special touches are made before delivering the final product. Every photographer’s style is different as we are all unique people, but this is one of the main things you should consider, even before price. You need to feel something and LOVE their photographs!! If not, they are not the photographer for you no matter what price.EXPERIENCE
This may seem obvious and ties in a lot with price, but it is also often overlooked. Expect to pay more for experienced, well educated, photographers. Weddings are NOT easy by any means for any photographer, but experience will definitely speak for itself and will make sure your day is awesome and captured right.
Do you really want to trust your perfect once in a lifetime wedding day that you planned, and planned, and paid for to just anyone? Probably not. If you do, just google a few horror stories and I’m sure you will quickly change your mind. Weddings are fast, really fast! They can be stressful. Things change every second, things rarely go as planned, lighting is different everywhere and can change in seconds, sometimes even from one part of a room to the next.
Your photographer NEEDS to be experienced and prepared to shoot in all types of crazy situations because that’s just the way weddings are. Not only that, they need to be able to do it calmly and confidently. Weddings typically are one of the hardest things to photograph and to be able to do a damn good job at it too.
Are they extremely experienced with traveling? Even if you are having a local wedding, a wedding photographer that is highly experienced and prepared in travel will be even more experienced and prepared locally. We shoot dozens of destination weddings and destination engagement sessions in many different states and other remote locations. Being highly experienced in traveling with equipment, arriving well before the start day, being able to hop off a plane and into any location/situation without ever visiting before, etc are all very important skills.
Experience is not just about the photography either. There are tons of other skills like how well your photographer can interact with other vendors, your family, and guests. Can they calmly direct even the most overbearing people or the kids running around? Are they great problem solvers and team players, so when situations do arise they can work with everyone to come up with solutions. We have been in some pretty crazy situations. Once I gave up my pants to a groom who ripped his minutes before the wedding! I embarrassingly walked around the rest of the day with ripped pants, but the groom looked amazing all day. I’ve also shot a wedding in rain, cave, and even a hurricane!
With experience also brings speed. We have shot A LOT of weddings and because of that, have become very proficient in being able to handle large numbers of photos, effectively designing albums, wall art, and other products, as well as, safely backup your photos in multiple locations. From post-processing to delivery, turn around time is so much faster for us than someone who doesn’t have as much experience. Or, for someone that does not have as much time to dedicate to the post production due to other jobs if photography is not their full-time career.But experience shouldn’t stop with just weddings. They should shoot and have experience with a lot of different things and be doing it often. Portraits, landscapes, stars, animals, events, music, the list goes on and on. Why? Weddings incorporate a ton of different types of photography like product shots for the details, portraits, photojournalism and documentary candids, low light photography, and much more. Every aspect of photography is different and challenging in its own unique way. The more practice we have with many different types of photography the easier we can take that creativity and experience to incorporate it into your wedding photos. You want something unique and different.
With more experience also brings things like knowing to and having backup equipment. I have multiple backup cameras, lenses, lights, and anything else you can think of. On time, I actually fell in a river trying to get an amazing photo and my camera was toast. From experience, I had backups and moved on to getting the photo and covering the rest of the day with no issues.
Besides backups of equipment, experienced photographers also have backups of themselves. Well…not actual copies, but a close network of other professional photographers that can step in, just in case we get sick or something else unplanned happens.
Take the time to look at their portfolios, ALL of them, not just their wedding portfolio. Ask them to see fully completed weddings! Yeah really! From start to finish. Do they have great photos all the way through or just a few lucky shots? Also be sure to look at multiple albums and other products.PERSONALITY & VALUES
More important than price or any other reason, your photographer’s personality and values should be one of the main reasons for choosing one photographer over another. Your photographer will be working closely with you before, during, and after your wedding day. They are with you more on one of the most important days of your life than most of your family and friends will be, so it’s a great idea to make sure you really like the photographer as a person and know what they stand for.
You can always find a number of equally talented photographers in the same price range as each other, so it is important to find out which one you really like as a person. This is one of the main reasons we offer free consultations and Try It Before You Buy It engagement sessions. Find out as much as you can about your future photographer professional and as a person. To start check out their about page, as well as, their approach to weddings. Meet them in person or through video chat. Ask questions. LOTS of questions! About anything and everything.
Check out their website, read their blog, find them on facebook, twitter, and even follow them on Instagram. Also, read reviews from others and any press they might have. Not just the ones on their personal website. Really take the time to find out who they are and see if you think they would be a great fit for you.WHAT YOU FEEL
In the end, sometimes you just get a feeling that someone or something is just perfect. You’re not sure why, but your intuition says so and sometimes you just have to go for it. You’ve done your research, asked a ton of questions, and maybe even met with a few photographers. Relax, just go for it, and be happy choosing the best wedding photographer that feels right for you.
If you like these tips you can find other wedding planning tips on my blog at Tips For Clients. If you have a topic you would like to see covered, please let me know! :D
Contact me now to check availability, ask questions, and to talk about your unique wedding experience! Use the form below or send an email to [email protected].
My name is Matt Druin and I’m an Atlanta wedding photographer that specializes in unique, offbeat weddings for all awesome people! Not only do I shoot amazing Atlanta weddings, but I also travel frequently for destination weddings, and weddings all over, with no travel fees in the US for amazing wedding photography. I also shoot Atlanta engagement sessions for newly engaged couples. I’ve even been known to travel, and far, for engagement sessions too!
Contact Atlanta Wedding Photographer Matthew Druin
Email [email protected]
Address 225 Parkway 575 #66 Woodstock, Georgia 30188