**Updated June 2020**
We all know the saying “You get what you pay for” and I personally think it fits most cases… but this is not one of them.
Choosing the right wedding photographer shouldn’t be harder than choosing your resort or a color palette. But without a doubt, the right choice will make you fall in love with your photographs!! The memories you’ll have in your photos will be as vivid as the ones in your mind.
Things to consider:
- Your personality
- The style of photos you like
- Your wedding photographer’s style
- Your wedding timeline
- Your interest in photos
- Your budget at the time of hiring
- Resorts and Photography: Hidden Costs and Reality
Let’s dive in and see why these are so important when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. I’ll start with your personality.
Your Personality Matters
Are you romantic? Do you like funny pictures? Do you enjoy being goofy in front of the camera? Or are you camera-shy?
Most couples forget how important their own personality is when they’re being photographed.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself in front of the camera. If you are lucky to have a wedding photographer that allows you to do that – someone who makes you comfortable in front of the camera – you will notice a huge difference!! Not only will you feel better while the photos are being taken, you’ll also see a huge difference in your photos. They’ll be very different than the photos you’re used to seeing taken on a phone or by a family member.
Which Photography Style Do You Like?
This is the hardest part of this entire post. Most couples aren’t sure what photography style they like.
Do you have a Pinterest account? Have you been saving wedding photos for the past few months?
If you haven’t done it yet, you are part of that rare group of brides that are not planning their wedding through Pinterest.
If you know what we are talking about, it is time for you to let go of the computer mouse, step back, and look at your Pinterest favorites.
What do you see?
Romantic photos? Posed photos? Photos with flashes that obviously aren’t coming from natural light? Lots of kisses? Lots of laughter?
This is the best way to select your favorite style. If you like romantic photographs look for a wedding photographer that has romantic photographs! If you like posed pictures filled with lights and colors, then look for a photographer that works with flashes and assistants.
Having a selection of photos with people laughing and then choosing a photographer based on a portfolio filled with couples staring at the camera wouldn’t be the right decision.
So analyze your personal photography style and find a photographer that matches that. Don’t choose a photographer based on price, or even worse, the one assigned by your resort. Let me dive into that a little bit more…
Which Photography Style Are You Getting?
This is fundamental. Are you hiring a photographer because you like their photos or because you like their prices?
You should always choose professionals for the quality of their work! Their website is their work. The photographs they show are a true reflection of their personality.
If you see couples in love, you will have a photographer that believes in love.
If you find disconnected couples, incapable of looking united, this doesn’t mean they don’t love each other… It means their photographer couldn’t communicate and couldn’t capture their love. Sadly, this is often seen in bad-quality weddings or with inexperienced photographers.
If you see nice photos on an outdated website, that’s out of style and messy…how do you think that photographer will deliver your photos? I can almost guarantee you that it won’t be organized or inspiring.
Judge the work of the person you hire based on their presentation. You won’t regret it.
Is Your Wedding Timeline Organized?
Photographers are not Wedding Planners because we don’t like being the center of attention, but we certainly have a lot of similar qualities.
A good photographer should advise you on the organization of the events of your wedding day.
A bad photographer will tell you exactly what to do and won’t allow you to adapt the schedule based on your priorities.
It is important to dedicate enough time to the getting ready because most people might think 20 or 30 minutes would be enough to take photos of these moments, but the reality is that you actually need 45 minutes to an hour to do it right. The same thing happens with the session. You can do it in less time, but you will have better results if you dedicate a bit more than 30 minutes.
Whenever you are planning your wedding day remember to organize events with enough time so you are not rushing through the activities. The best way is to do everything in a relaxed manner and let the day run smoothly. Go with the flow. A good photographer will be there to capture the moments as they happen.
Wedding Photos… Why Should I Care?
Well.. this is simple.
No matter how much you spend on decoration, food, travel, wedding dress, accessories, and everything else, the only tangible memories that will remain from your wedding day will be your photographs.
Having an album to show your family, future children, and grandchildren (why not?), will allow you to re-live your wedding day over and over again. And who wouldn’t want to re-live the best day of their lives?!
Hopefully understand by now how important the photos are, and why it is so important to hire the right person with the right qualifications.
Why is Wedding Photography SO EXPENSIVE?
We get that question every now and then.. and I don’t think our prices are expensive AT ALL.
It’s simple. Most people see Wedding Photographers as the person who shows up, takes their camera out of a backpack, takes pictures, and then leaves.
And while that is a big part of the job, that’s only about 20% of our job description. We invest loads of money on expensive lenses, cameras, flashes, tripods, accessories, website design, cloud space to share our work, etc. etc. The list goes on and on!
If you consider that an entire wedding can cost between 10,000 and 30,000 dollars, dedicating a small percentage of it to a photographer could never be the wrong decision. You’re paying a lot of money to have your dream wedding. And you should have a keepsake from that day.
I always recommend establishing a budget for photography based on the expenses of your wedding. Is the wedding costing you 3,000 dollars? You probably don’t want to spend 2,000 dollars on a photographer. But you can have a small photography package! You can still get beautiful photos with exceptional quality.
Is your wedding total over 20,000 dollars and you don’t have 10% to hire a photographer? Your photos will not reflect the quality that you expect from your wedding day.
A couple that spends 20,000 dollars to get married in Punta Cana gets the best deal. The quality of the suppliers should be top-notch as well.
Don’t forget to dedicate a percentage of your budget to hire a qualified photographer. Years from now, you’ll be glad you did!
About Resorts and Photography
If you don’t know it yet, your coordinator will tell you before your wedding: Most hotels charge a Vendor Fee to allow access for MakeUp Artists, DJ, Photobooth, Photographers, and Videographers.
These vendor fees vary from 200 to 1,000 dollars to allow the photographer to work on your wedding day. You can check yours on this list.
Remember when I said, “ you get what you paid for”?
Well, if you read this far you will know what we think about hiring trained professionals to document your wedding the best possible way.
Most resorts offer photography and videography services. Although I have my own opinion about these services, I won’t talk about it here.
I do think it’s right to inform you about pricing at the resort and where that money goes. A lot of people think that a 2,000 dollar photography package bought inside the resort means the photographer will be paid that amount. This could not be further from the truth.
The resort generally receives half of the money, and the photography company the remainder. From there, they will pay the photographer a small commission to take the pictures. Many times, without the necessary equipment, no backup cameras, or enough experience to meet up to the standards of what you are paying for.
These photographers will do their best and we don’t want to criticize their intentions. We simply want to let you know the reality of the situation so that you can make a conscious decision when choosing the suppliers for your wedding.
To choose a wedding photographer, take into consideration your intentions, your needs, your taste as a couple, the photographer’s style and personality, and the possibilities to access a qualified vendor.
I recommend you hire vendors that are professionals at what they do.
Ask for opinions, ask your Wedding Planner, but don’t trust blindly on what your resort tells you since most of the time, they are making an effort to sell you something you can get for less and better quality elsewhere.
Thanks for reading!