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How to Find the Perfect Wedding Photographer / Photographers 
-By Larry Stanley 


   Choosing a photographer from amongst the many does not have to be a difficult process. Here are some tips to help you find the right person for the job.


Tip #1: Photos... Photos... Photos

   First of all choose the photographers to interview by the photos they produce. You will find a wide range of descriptive terms attached to today's wedding photography. For example: documentary, traditional, photojournalistic and contemporary are all terms used to describe style and approach. Do the research, look at as many wedding photos as you can and see what you like!

   Today that's quick and easy research because most experienced wedding photographers have web sites you can visit. Use them to study their style and abilities. In this way, you can save time doing personal interviews by narrowing the selection before you start making appointments.

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Tip #2: Personality

   Obviously, we are all unique individuals and as humans we get along better with certain types of people. When you interview photographers ask yourself a few basic questions: 

  • Do I like this person?
  • Would I choose to spend the day with him or her in a close professional situation?
  • Will he fit into the social environment of my wedding day?

    Personally I think a photographer is hired to photograph the event, not to direct it or command more attention than the Bride and Groom. My approach to wedding photography is more photojournalistic in that sense (read more on my approach here). I believe that a wedding photographer should blend into the event, look for and capture the magic of the day and direct only the creative portraits of the bride and groom, wedding party and family grouping.

   Some portion of the day should be devoted to personal portraits and if you want the best work out of your photographer, give him the time and space he needs to produce for you. Photographs are among a very few items that you will have in hand after the day has passed.

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Tip #3: Performance

   As a professional I love it when I get personal referrals. It means someone was very pleased with my services. Don't hesitate to ask a photographer for personal references.

   An excellent photographer will have any number of couples that are willing to field questions about their wedding photography experience. Another source of referrals is the event coordinators at wedding venues and freelance wedding coordinators. They work with the entire range of photographers from Uncle Bill to the very best. They can often give valuable recommendations.

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Tip #4: Experience

   To be an excellent wedding photographer takes a tremendous amount of technical and personal skill. Skills that are learned mostly from experience. Dealing with every detail of a wedding and interacting with the Bride & Groom, their families and at times hundreds of people and still maintaining the highest level of technical application possible; that takes experience.

   Find out how much experience a photographer has and consider this:
"Years do not necessarily make a great photographer, but a great photographer is always the sum total of his years of experience." You can quote me on that!
Larry Stanley

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Tip #5: Price

   The old adage "You get what you pay for," is usually true for wedding photography. There are only so many weekends in the year and the number of weddings a single photographer can book is limited. Therefore as a photographer comes into greater demand by developing his artistry and experience the price will certainly go up. The end result is that the best photographers are more expensive than others.

   So, as you are planning your budget, if excellent photos are important to you don't scrimp in this area. Ten years from now, the photos you bought will be there on your table to remind you of the other details that might otherwise be forgotten.

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Tip #6: Communication

   Finally, once the decision is made and you've booked your photographer it is very important to communicate what you like, what you imagine and what you expect. As a photographer it's difficult to get inside someone's head and understand their particular sense of style. Obviously, if you've decided to hire a particular photographer you must like their style. I think you should go one step further to insure that you get the best possible photos. Communicate visually.

    I encourage clients to tear out photos from magazines or email me samples of what they like. Visual communication from my client feeds the creative process and helps me to make the photos a very personal collection of images from their wedding day.

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