How to Pick a Wedding Photographer
Your Wedding Day
Congratulations you’re engaged! What’s next? Everything. There seriously is everything. And while I can talk about everything, I’m going to stick to what I know best, wedding photography. Most importantly, how to pick your wedding photographer.
At one point or another, you or someone close to you has needed a professional photographer. If that’s the case, you’ll find that Greater Philadelphia is saturated with photographers. If you look a little deeper, you’ll see there are different costs, editing styles and wedding collections available. This probably makes the decision-making process even more difficult. My main goal of this blog is to help you look past the cost and highlight reel photos and take you behind the scenes and what it takes to be a wedding photographer and why you should choose the best one for you.
What car would you chose?
Picking a wedding photographer is like picking a car. On one end of the spectrum you have a Kia, on the other end you have Rolls Royce. They both get you from point A to point B. One will get you there economically, one gets you there in style. One is cookie cuter, one is a more exclusive. Both are the right choice for the right client. You just have to figure out what client you are and what car you want to drive. For the record, I’m neither a Kia nor a Rolls Royce. I’m more of a fully-loaded mid-range manufacturer…with the upgraded rims. Gotta have nice rims.
My Fully Loaded Features
What goes into a wedding photographer determining which hypothetical car manufacturer they are? A lot actually. Let me explain why I consider myself a fully-loaded mid-range. I specialize in one thing…engagement and wedding photography. Ok those are two things wrapped into one. I invest in continued education in the wedding industry through workshops, which train the mind to be more creative. I read books written by industry leaders to deliver the best product possible. I buy the best equipment capable of seven frames per second and shooting in dark conditions, which allows me to capture those fleeting moments you’ll want to look back on.
In 2009 I registered James Webb Photography with the state of New Jersey and since then, have shot over 100 weddings as both a primary and second shooter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this business is to expect the unexpected and roll with it. A wedding day is a living thing. Despite all of your planning, it breaths and does what it wants. My goal is to adapt, change and roll with the day. I capture it as it happens. I follow the laughter, shoot through the activity and deliver your day in the most creative way I can.
Want Stories? I’ve Got Stories
One time a limo was 90 minutes late because they had the wrong address. I still needed to capture a first look, 30 different family photo combinations and bride and groom photos. A first look normally takes 10-15 minutes, each family combination about one minute and bride and groom photos about 45-60 minutes. I somehow managed to efficiently capture the family photos in less than 20 minutes, giving me the same amount of time for bride and groom photos. It was magical! I got us back on track and made it to the ceremony on time. My bride told me that it was my calming demeanor that kept her in check. What can I say, I’m cool. I mean, have you ever seen a car with upgraded rims that wasn’t cool?
Experience also brings the ability to anticipate moments. Keeping the camera to my face while observing my surroundings helps me capture my client’s expression at the alter, a father wiping a tear away or other random unscripted moments that make your wedding day YOUR wedding day.
I’ll never forget the time I was capturing a client’s first dance. I happen to look beyond the couple and saw the bride’s mom, dad and grandfather soaking in every moment of the moment with loving admiration. I focused on them and fired a couple shots before the dance ended. It’s one of my favorite shots I’ve taken. It’s moments like this that only an experienced photographer can anticipate and capture well.
A wedding photographer’s editing style is all a personal preference. Some prefer a light and airy style, some prefer moody and some like to keep things a little more natural. I love working with light to add shadows, depth and texture to my photos. I want you to feel like you are a part of the scene.It gives it a ‘moody’ feel i guess. So again, this is something else to consider when picking your photographer.
When to Book Your Wedding Photographer
Your wedding photographer should be the second vendor you hire, your venue being the first. Why? We are a valuable resource, and aggressively sought after! I recommend awesome DJs, florists, limo companies, make-up artists and videographers. I work with my clients to design the timeline, which helps you plan the day accordingly. I’ve made some great friends in this business and always recommend the best to my clients. I’ve become skilled at helping my couples plan their timeline so they’re not paying for unnecessary hours and we have enough time to travel or hit all those cool photo spots at the venue.
Plus we book up quickly, especially the more popular ones. About 1/4 of my couples book me two years out! So if you have a photographer in mind, book them!
Other Things to Consider
Your wedding photographer is an extended member of your bridal party. We are with you for a large part of your day, so you need to get along with them. The food goes away quickly, your venue cleans up and gets ready for the next event, the music ends at the end of the night, flowers die, but your wedding photos are forever!
Now that you’ve come this far, contact me today so we can discuss your day and how I can contribute to it. Also be sure to check out my blog featuring some of my favorite photos!
At the end of the day, look past the cost of a wedding photographer. Look at the value, look at the style, look at the art and look at the intangibles. Oh…and the rims. Gotta have cool rims.