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6 Ways to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

6 Ways to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

Images by Two Little Starfish. You can check more images on their Facebook Page and on their Instagram account.

Images also by Binh Trinh wedding photography.

After so many months and weeks of wedding planning, you will be surprised how fast your day will go by. Before you know it, you’ll be having coffee with your husband reminiscing about your wedding day. That’s why having the right wedding photographer to capture and preserve your wedding day is very important. Good thing, soon-to-wed couples have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right wedding photographer.

With so many factors to consider in choosing the right wedding photographer, it always boils down to how important memories are to you. For some, wedding photography is merely a way to remind them of the day. But for others, photography is an art form, a delicate way to tell a love story, your love story.

Auckland wedding photography Two Little Starfish Wedding Photography Image 1

Wellington Wedding Photographer Binh Trinh with Sophie And Mike 0050

If you want to look back at your wedding photos after 30 years and still feel like it was yesterday, book a professional wedding photographer. But keep in mind that having a seasoned New Zealand photographer bears a steep price tag. This doesn’t even include the additional costs of having an extended coverage, wedding albums, fine art prints and other additional services. Here are a couple of things you can do to find the right photographer for your wedding day.

Start looking as early as possible

When you want to have the cream of New Zealand top wedding photographer to capture your big day, you have to book them as early as possible. This also applies when your wedding date is a weekend or scheduled for a holiday season. The truth is, top photographers are always booked all year-round. So start doing your homework and research early. Many brides book their photographer 1-2 years out. It is never too early to start looking and booking your wedding photographer. It will be a big relief once that is done.

A big advantage of looking early is the readily availability of the major wedding vendors, the photographer, the wedding venue, and the wedding caterer. Nailing down the wedding date and these major vendors is often the most difficult task. So what’s the advice, look and book early.

A stunning aerial drone wedding image of the bride and groom lying on a bridge by Two Little Starfish Wedding Photography

A black and white wedding image of a bride in a church by Two Little Starfish Wedding Photography

Research for wedding images, and more research

There are just so many different styles of wedding photography, not to mention different wedding packages and photography costs. It is important to do your research, visit as many wedding photography website as possible. Many New Zealand wedding photographers do travel outside their regions, some are free, and some do charge a small amount to cover the basic costs. It is important to know what wedding photography styles you want, from natural lighting to flash, super glamour or natural and editorial. This also applies to the editing of the wedding images. Some photographers like the film look, while others are more dark and moody. As you look through the websites, you will develop a taste of what you want, and what wedding images attract you. It is important to remember that every wedding photographers have their own style. Do not choose a photographer and ask them to copy other’s people styles. It will make for a very uncomfortable atmosphere, and likely to end in disaster.

Another tip for your research phase is to make sure you find and look at full wedding blogs, where you can see how the photographers cover a full typical day of wedding events, from the morning getting ready to the party late into the night. This will give you a much better indication as to the kind of images you will receive from your wedding day. Check their website, their social media accounts, and even their blogs to carefully review if their style matches yours.

You can also check other former brides’ wedding blog about the wedding photographer. What’s best about this is that you can reach out to them and ask further information about the wedding photographer.

The New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography has a list of qualified photographers to browse through and view.

Interviews your wedding photographers

As soon as you’ve narrowed down your list of potential wedding photographers, you must conduct interviews. This is an important part of your selection process because it will determine who among the shortlisted wedding vendors fit the bill.

Ask them to bring sample wedding albums so you can take a look at it closely, preferably something comparable to the theme and setup of your wedding. Make sure to check photos from start to finish. This way you’d have a grasp of how they capture important moments and many others. Let them know how you envision your wedding and ask them how they will do their part of achieving it.

Lastly, and considered to be the most important reason why you conduct interviews is, to know if both your personality connects. Not only that it will make working with them easily, but you will be guaranteed that they will work well with your wedding guests as well. Remember that you will spend most of your wedding with your wedding photographer. It will be a super fun day if you all get along, or it will be a super awkward memory if the photographer is a rather bossy and grumpy person, or the personalities just simply clash.

What to ask your wedding photographer?

Here are the essential things to consider when it comes to choosing the right wedding photographer.

  • Their Style and Creativity – Many wedding photographers have various styles and tones when they capture events like weddings. Knowing first how do you want your photographs taken is important.
    • Photojournalistic Photography – Do you like candid moments, and photos with genuine emotions gleaming? This type of photographic style focuses on facial expressions, with subdued hues and black and white photos.
    • Classic Photography – Do you like clean, carefully composed photos with perfect lighting? This type is often associated with what your grandparents’ wedding album would look like, but still widely used today. This is because of its classical approach to important wedding moments such as first look, the bride walking down the aisle, wedding kiss or tossing of the bouquet.
    • Fine Art or Artistic – Do you like photographs taken out of the wedding context? – meaning more on the artsy side or abstract rather than the traditional way of shooting a wedding? This kind of style will surely cut your wedding photos above the rest because it won’t look like anyone else’s.
    • Lifestyle Photography – Do you like a mixture of photojournalistic and classic photography? If you are aiming to have candid shots mixed with direction and styling, this style is right for you.
  • Their Equipment – Make the most out of your research and know the equipment being used to cover a wedding event. So ask what type of camera and equipment they are using. Do they have backup equipment in case the main camera starts malfunctioning?
  • Their Professionalism – Hiring a seasoned wedding photographer has a solid background on covering wedding events. This is very important because they know how to approach different circumstances that may arise during this kind of event. Because of the various setup, venues, and lighting conditions, an experienced wedding photographer will know first-hand what to use and what’s not to use. Knowing that your wedding photographer will do great in any given situation will not only give you smooth interaction but also peace of mind.
  • Their Cost – How much are you going to allocate to the wedding photographer? Are you just hiring their photography service? Or will you get the full package that includes fine prints, a coffee table book, and a framed portrait?
  • Their Post-production Details – Ask your shortlisted photographer how long will it take to get the photos and other items included in the package. Usually, it takes a minimum of one month to get all photo proofs. Keep in mind that photographers shoot in raw files, way bigger than the common JPG files. Raw files allow photographer the ability to correct photos, hence, it will take longer to upload, process and edit it. Moreover, ask them how many photographs should you expect? Do you need to select the photos for editing? Is there any additional cost for retouching options or special effects?
  • How would they cope if it rains – There is always a chance of rain in New Zealand  (possibly alot less in Hawke’s Bay). Experienced and good photographers will embrace any weather and any conditions. They know how to bring out the best in each scene, and view each scenario as an opportunity to create something beautiful and unique for the bride and groom. A good photographer will make you feel excited and confident about the rain and rain wedding photos.

A stunning bride and groom portrait using flash wedding photography on a New Zealand beach in Auckland by Two Little Starfish Wedding Photography

Compare wedding photography packages

List down what services you really need, like how many albums you need, how many backup photographers, the number of fine prints and if it will include an engagement photo shoot. Wedding photography packages vary on what is included and this is reflected in the prices. So it is important to ask your shortlisted photographers to give you an estimate considering all the things you want to include in the package. In addition, know how many hours of coverage are included. Will this cover the pre-wedding events up to the grand exit at the end of the reception? Don’t forget to ask about travel cost, over time charge, as well as any additional cost that you may need to consider.

At the end of the day, how much you want to spend on your wedding photography is less based on what they charge, but more on how much the memories mean to you. Some brides are happy with just $1500, or less, while others are comfortable at spending $5000+ on their wedding photographer. There is no right amount. However, it is important for you to be comfortable with the final decision. At the end of the day, you don’t want to feel regret each time you look at your beautiful images. Check out our 10 tips to cut down your wedding cost.

Two Little Starfish Wedding Photography showcases what can be done on raining day with this stunning evening image of the bride and groom

Their wedding photography contract

Ask your shortlisted photographer for a sample wedding contract so you can read over legal details of exactly what you will obtain and how it will be delivered before signing any contract. Make sure that the contract states that the photographer you met will be there on the wedding day and if you should expect a second (or third) camera person or assistant. Moreover, take note how many hours the coverage will last and other services you agreed upon.

Another topic that you need to discuss and must be included in the contract is the photographer’s ownership or rights over the photos taken at the wedding. While it will clearly state that the photographer can use them promotionally, it will better to know where and how they will those photographs.

We have put together a comprehensive guide to a typical New Zealand wedding photography contract that you can read more here.

Book and relax

You will know once you have found your right wedding photographer after doing your due diligence. Some people just simply know, and while some brides need more research to be assured. But once you are happy with your decision on wedding photography, be confident and book, sign the contract, pay the deposit, and then sit back and relax, even for a moment. Remember that wedding planning is a journey, for both the bride and groom. The more you can enjoy the process, the journey, the happier the wedding day will be. While it is an important day of your life, it is still simply just a day. Marriage is lifetime journey. It is too common to see brides and grooms get uptight about the planning process and forget about the joy and the importance of the wedding day. So remember, relax, and more relax.

Following these tips will effectively help you in choosing the right wedding photographer for your big day. Do you have other tips on how to choose the right wedding photographer? Share your tips and thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear them!

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