“Photography is the only true investment on your wedding day,” says Hannah Chen of Hannah Chen Photography, located in the Charlottesville area.
Photography is the one part of your wedding that really will still mean everything to you in 50 years. You won’t remember how the caterer messed up the table settings even though you swore you told him 20 times how you wanted it, but you’ll still pull out that album once in awhile to reminisce. So why rush the decision? Use our tips to making sure you find the perfect photographer for your wedding!
1. Hire a photographer, not a portfolio.
Don’t simply look at a bunch of portfolios and decide based on that. While a professional and quality portfolio is definitely a key factor in choosing your wedding photographer, you need to take a look at the person behind the camera, too. “You really need to like your photographer. They’re going to spend most of the day with you,” says Hannah. If you don’t feel comfortable with that person literally being all up in your face for an extended period of time, don’t hire them. Look for someone who makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Remember, this person will be positioning you and following you around, so make sure your personalities click!
2. Budget accordingly.
Photography is something that many couples don’t seem to want to pay a lot for, but it’s something that you’ll want to save space for in your budget. “Photography is one of those things that you really do get what you pay for,” says Hannah. That doesn’t mean you should let your photographer charge you an outrageous amount — look at rates around the area to see what the average is, then keep in mind why the cheaper ones are cheaper: they have less experience. An experienced wedding photographer will know what to look for at every moment, and will sometimes even have an assistant with them at your event to make sure they aren’t busy loading when you are smashing cake in your new husband’s face for the first time.
3. Tell your story.
Let your photographer know exactly what kind of pictures you’re thinking of, and let them give their own opinions. It’s YOUR day, and a good photographer will make it their mission to tell your story and only your story. “Because I get to know my clients, I get the chance to really authentically capture their day,” says Hannah. “I’m not pushing anything, I’m documenting their story.” You want the pictures to show you as a couple entering a new world together. Let your photographer put that down in history for you.