How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

With over 200 booths at this year’s Bridal Festival, finding the right wedding photographer for your big day can be very overwhelming.  We all want to work with brides and grooms, or we wouldn’t be in the industry, but there are always deciding factors on who you hire.
One of the biggest ideas that I feel is important to remember when looking for a wedding photographer is to remember that not all photographers are created equal.  We all have our strengths, and weaknesses.  This is where you have to decide what strengths you want to have as a part of your wedding day.
How are you suppose to decide who is right for you?  Beyond looking at their beautiful images, you have to ask questions.
Stunning Wedding ImagesThe following are the key components I believe should be addressed when talking with the multiple photographers.

The first interaction with a wedding photographer speaks volumes, even at busy events such as the upcoming Bridal Festival.  You want to work with someone that is personable, has a genuine interest in you and your wedding, and you want to have that instant connection with them.  If you are wondering why that would matter, it is because when I am shooting a wedding I am with you from the beginning of getting dressed until you leave the reception.  You don’t want to be around someone all day on YOUR day that you don’t get along with, so this is one of the first pieces in finding the right fit for you.  The way I know I will and do stand out is my big personality.  Your photographer should not add to the stress, they should add to the exhilaration! I have heard a few too many times from bridal party attendees that “the photographer from my last wedding was so controlling and stressful!”  I am in no way a comedian and don’t even consider myself a “funny” person, but hey, I try! I bring balance to the table-of-stress on your wedding day and leading up to it. Whether its on purpose or on accident, I will make you laugh with me or at me. I help control the flow of your day with a smile, a laugh and guaranteed warm-hearted snide-remarks (these are received well by our trouble-makers: the groomsmen). You will never find me adding to your stress, but you will find me joking, laughing and dishing-out playful banter. Guess what this gets you? Awesome candid photos…especially on the dance floor!
Fun Filled Dancing

A group of questions that  should be brought up when talking with a potential photographer are about what you will expect from your photographer on your day.  What is my photographer going to bring with them?  I always bring a lot of my equipment because if there is that perfect shot that needs something special, I am able to grab my lighting equipment or a different lens to capture the beautiful photograph that I want and that I know you will love.  Another equipment question that you should ask is if the photographer has backup equipment.  This is as simple as having extra batteries, extra memory cards, and extra flashes.  I always carry extras in my bag that my assistant carries, as well as, in my vehicle with the rest of my extra larger equipment that I bring, such as my light stands.  I believe knowing if the photographer has these items with them you are given that extra security that nothing will be missed on your wedding day and that is the most important thing.
Destination Photography Gear_001

Another question that is very reasonable to ask your photographers, is what do they wear to the weddings they work.  I think many people forget about this aspect of their day, because it is a fairly small piece to the large puzzle, but you really want the people you have hired to be dressed appropriately, as it is a wedding and they should be dressed professionally.  I always come dressed professionally, while still being able to move around easily to get that perfect portrait.  I believe this speaks for more than just the wedding day, because your bridal party, your guests and other professionals you have hired interact with your photographer too.  If anyone gets a bad perception of your photographer, than they will not recommend them further.  So many of my brides and grooms come to me from referrals and I think the way I present myself has helped to continue my positive feedback.

Beyond what I can say that I offer, is what others that have worked with me say.  This brings us to the next questions you should be asking your potential photographers.  You should ask for reviews and contact information from your photographers.  There are so many social media spots now that reviews can be found online at some of the top locations such as; Facebook, Weddingwire, and Google+.  Those are just a few spots online, but you will really want to have a conversation over the phone or even in person (if possible) with past brides or grooms to really understand how they experienced their wedding with me by their side.  I think this is one of the most important pieces in finding the right photographer for your wedding day because these are the people that I have already worked with and continue to work with me past their wedding day.
Rings of Laughter

Last, but not least, you should definitely talk with your photographer about what you are going to receive before, during and after your wedding day.  Are they going to really give you their time and dedication to your special day?  I know I do.  I dedicate multiple in person appointments with my brides and grooms before their engagement session, as well as, email contact as often as needed.  I pride myself on really getting to know my couples and forming a relationship with them so on the big day we aren’t stiff and wondering what to do.  I also offer in each package an engagement session.  This session is our ice-breaker in front of the camera.  My goal is to help you feel comfortable and practice different poses and looks before we have to do it all dressed up.  We take our time and this is a lot of fun because we get beautiful images out of the session and capture your personalities which in the end helps me know where to take our photographs on the wedding day itself.  After the engagement session I of course continue contact as the count down begins, meeting again to view your images from your engagement session and discuss more details for the wedding day.  I even take it a step farther the week of the wedding and meet in person one more time to really nail out those last minute timing details, because as I stated earlier, I am yours from the beginning to the end.  This meeting is when we cover if I need to be there at 7:30am, when the grand exit is scheduled and much more.  I don’t want to miss anything during your special day, so you won’t have to worry about me coming late or leaving early.  I am there for you.
Wedding PreparationAfter all is said and done, you want a wedding photographer that is going to be there for you, as you are the most important people of the day.  I believe that I have a lot to offer to each couple and have multiple people that have had amazing experiences of working with me and what I bring to your wedding day.  Remember to ask those questions and enjoy the experience of planning your wedding, we are here for you.
Come find me at the Bridal Festival this weekend, January 11-12, at booth #316.

114 W Pacific #209
Spokane, WA 99201

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer | / Posted on | Bridal Fair, Engagement Sessions, Vendors, Vow Renewal Sessions, Weddings

All Photography and Original Text © Crystal Madsen Photography

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