Top 10 Mistakes in Choosing a Wedding Photographer


How do I choose a photographer?!
How do I choose a photographer?!

Hi!  As the business manager with Jessica Janae Photography and years of being in the photography business you won’t be surprised to hear I’ve developed a few opinions about this industry.  I will be sharing a few of these opinions, observations, and stories in future articles for photographers and clients alike.  We’ll explore what’s going on in the photography business and share some of the funny and educational things that we all experience in this world.  Hopefully we can all learn something.  If not, maybe we can laugh enough to take a bit of the stress out of staring into the abyss of a 20 straight hour of color correction session.

Top 10 Mistakes in Choosing a Wedding Photographer

  1. Shopping solely based on price.
  • Those that choose photographers based solely on the least expensive choice are almost always disappointed.  Photography is an art form and has much more to do with the person than the camera.  The least expensive choice is usually the photographer who bought a nice camera then claimed they were a professional photographer.  Cameras can be so complex that one of these “Fauxtographers” may shoot all day, get back home, and realize that they had a setting wrong and all the photos are ruined or not even there.  I can tell you from experience that some of the saddest inquiries that come to us are those asking for us to re-shoot because their photos were all ruined or lost.  Don’t take chances with your memories.  As professional photographers we take very seriously the memories you’ve entrusted to us.
  1. Family or friends shooting your wedding.
  • Even the best-intentioned friend and family photographers will miss many shots as they try to be part of the events instead of capturing them.  While they visit with their good friends and family members they inevitably miss things.  The second reason is the potential for permanently damaged relationships.  We’ve seen lifelong friends that a bride and groom never speak to again because they didn’t like the photos or their photos were lost or damaged.  This is especially painful when it comes to family members.
  1. Not considering photographer’s personality
  • The best shots are taken by someone you’re comfortable with.  Many shots that look too posed or unnatural have less to do with skill, but more with your relationship with your photographer.  Someone you can laugh, cry, and be silly with will capture real moments instead of artificial, uncomfortable poses. We’ve all been to that wedding where there’s somebody with a camera creeping around the edges of the event and you’re not really sure if they’re supposed to be there or just some guy who walked off the street and started taking pictures.
  1. Not in love with photographer’s work/style. 
  • There are many different styles of photography.  Make sure you really love the photographer’s style and editing.  Look closely through a photographer’s portfolio and look at the types of shots they get and the story they tell.  Next, check the artistic style found in the editing.  Is the skin too edited, causing it to look plastic or unnaturally smooth?  Are the colors natural and complimentary?  Can the photographer capture those heirloom shots you want to hang on your wall forever?
  1. No clear idea of the style you like as a bride.
  • If you don’t have a good idea of your style and what you like you’ll find yourself unhappy even with great shots.  Come to your photographer with an idea of what you want, then a good photographer will be able to guide you in the best way to capture you’re vision.
  1. Waiting too long to book your photographer.
  • Wait too long and your photographer you will most likely be unavailable for your chosen date.  Do this and you won’t have time to get photos back for reception prints and invitation photos.  Plan ahead by deciding when you want invitations to go out and whether you want prints to be done before the reception.  Take those dates and realize that a shoot will need to be done 3 to 4 weeks in advance of those dates
  1. Not prepared to discuss wants and needs when sitting down with photographer.
  • The meeting with your photographer should be about you sharing your vision.  Save pictures that you love on your phone or bring magazines to show your ideas.  Your photographer will be able to take that vision and show you how to make that vision uniquely yours.
  1. Not a clear understanding of the work that goes into excellent photography.
  • Art is not quick or easy.  Capturing a picture is just the first step in a much longer process.  It takes only a second to push that button but many hours to turn those memories into art.  After the shoot, a photographer goes through and sifts out all the shots with closed eyes or weird light or the many other things that can go wrong with a picture.  Next, those photos are edited for color saturation, balance, skin tone, and a thousand other things, all of which takes time.  Much of the frustration after a shoot can be alleviated by understanding the time it takes to prepare your memories for you.
  1. Groom on the fence.
  • Grooms…either be a team player or let the bride get what she wants!  We know that most grooms don’t spend time looking at wedding albums or dreaming of the perfect wedding.  Your bride has almost certainly done this for years and has her perfect day in mind so support your bride’s vision.  If you have spent time thinking of these things then you can be a great help and together the two of you can create a perfect vision.  Finally, be supportive and cooperative during the shoot.  Don’t be that guy who announces several times during the shoot that this is stupid and you hate having your picture taken.  Remember, you love your bride and for her this is incredibly important.
  1. No prepared budget.
  • You will most likely have an idea of how much you can spend on your wedding.  It’s best to decide how much of that budget will be spent on photography before deciding on a photographer.  One of the most common things heard from couples after everything is over with is that they wish they had spent more of their budget on photography.  Photography is the single most important thing you’ll spend your budget on.  Flowers fade, dresses hang in a closet but these photos will adorn your walls for generations to come.

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