Not too long ago, I was wrapping up a chat with a potential client and they asked me an amazing question I don’t think I’ve ever gotten before.
They asked “As a wedding photographer, what would you ask a photographer you were thinking about working with?”
Having experience as a wedding photographer gives me a lot of insight on the types of things to look for that are important (and the ones that aren’t) and I believe I would probably say there’s one big thing above all of the others that I would value in making my decision.
That one thing?
Viewing 1-2 full galleries of their work
Most photographers (myself included) only showcase their best work in their online portfolios and their social media accounts. This is totally normal and pretty standard throughout the industry and doesn’t mean the rest of our work isn’t up to par. We tend to show off our best work, our favorite shoots and weddings, AND also work that we think will be most exciting to the largest amount of people. Which means sometimes photos of other parts of the day (like cocktail hour and family formals, for example) don’t get as much time in the spotlight as they might otherwise.
This is a really great reason to request a couple of full galleries from a prospective wedding photographer! Viewing a full gallery (especially of a wedding that is similar to yours) will give you the best idea of what you can expect to potentially receive after your big day.
Here are my tips on what to look for when looking through these galleries:
- Do their photos integrate seamlessly with their second photographer’s photos? Ideally, you won’t be able to tell who shot which photos because the second shooter and main photographer’s shooting styles are similar enough it’s not noticeable.
- Do they handle different lighting situations well? Some photographers may be great at indoor lighting but not as good at natural lighting…others may excel at natural light and be less equipped to deal with venues that are darker. A full gallery will showcase different types of lighting throughout the wedding day.
- Are their editing styles consistent with the rest of their portfolio? Consistency is key, especially when it comes to editing styles. Good photographers will deliver consistent results even through various types of wedding day scenarios.
- Are there a good mix of types of photos? Candids, details, portraits, etc are all an important part of a wedding day and a skilled wedding photographer will mesh together these types of photos throughout the wedding gallery because all of them play an important part in telling the story of the day.
- What kind of venues have they worked at? Are they familiar with indoor church ceremonies? Or outdoor weddings where the sun is really bright? Ask to see a wedding gallery that’s similar to yours.
- Do people look comfortable in their images? Good photographers will put people at ease and that should be reflected through the photos in their real life galleries. Some photographers will showcase work from styled shoots (nothing wrong with that!) where models were used. I would look to see that they photograph real brides and grooms in a natural and comfortable way. That would give me confidence the same could be replicated for me too!
- Can you see yourself in their photos? Last but not least, it’s important to consider whether or not you connect on an emotional level with the photos taken by a potential wedding photographer. Could you picture yourself in one of the galleries the photographer shared?
Another somewhat less important tip to think about is whether or not the gallery is fairly user friendly and easy to navigate. I wouldn’t consider it a dealbreaker if you are pretty technology savvy, but if you aren’t and the gallery is tricky to figure out, it may be something to consider.
Most photographers are more than happy to share full galleries with prospective clients, so if you’re interested in seeing a couple, just reach out and ask! This may help you make an informed decision when choosing the right person to capture your event!