Five Things to Know Before Hirig a Wedding Photographer - Robert Hamm Photography

Thanks’ for joining me today. I appreciate it. Our topic is choosing a wedding photographer.

I’m going to share with you five tips for evaluating portfolio’s. Before we begin, please don’t forget to like and subscribe to this channel. I really need your help to grow and share my photographic experiences with new photographers and Pro’s alike. The reason is simple: there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and I would like to lend my voice in helping photographers turn their passion from casual interests into competent work, and turn a hobbyist into a working professional when possible. Also know that I am a working wedding and family photographer. If you’ve got a wedding coming up, please contact me. I work throughout the United states and am happy to talk about your wedding with you. So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s begin. This “top 5” is going to consist of what I would look for from a photographer photographing my wedding. This is an insider perspective, and the tips themselves will be quite revealing because they place a focus on the story of a wedding, not just the event itself

So, if you’re ready to get started, let’s begin. This “top 5” is going to consist of what I would look for from a photographer photographing my wedding. This is an insider perspective, and the tips themselves will be quite revealing because they place a focus on the story of a wedding, not just the event itself. Most people think about the photographer only after the venue and possibly the cake. Generally the budget is eaten up by food, venue, drink, and the cake. Therefore, when people start to look for a photographer, they have either already overspent their photography budget OR are willing to hire a lower tiered package. It’s important to recognize, that there are great photographers in every price category- you just have to know how to find them. So, instead of focusing on price, focus on the quality of the work with these Pro tips:

Tip#1: It’s all about the hands.

Are they forgotten? Hey, it’s easy to forget about the hands in any situation other than putting the ring on and toasting to a newly married couple. I get it. As a bride and groom looking for a photographer you’re most likely going to look through a few images, maybe an album, and listen to the pitch, pricing, and delivery schedule. Instead of going with the flow, be kind and ask about pictures which show a creative use of the hands. An experienced photographer knows that we show our love for our spouse thorough the hard work of our hands, and we experience love with one another through gentle touch. A true professional will be able to share with you the journey of your wedding which includes a focus on your hands, and not just through a toast and putting on of the ring.

Loving Hands

Tip#2: Is there a focus on the Groom?

Brides, for many of you this will burst your bubble a little: The wedding is not all about you. It’s not all about the groom either. The wedding is about the joining of two families, sometimes with children from a previous marriage, and coming together to start something new and special. Unfortunately, many new and experienced photographers alike forget this and focus mainly on the bride for the pre-wedding images. There are two reasons for this: either the budget was cut and the couple couldn’t afford a second photographer (because obviously the primary photographer can’t be in two places at once) or because the primary photographer doesn’t have a second shooter and they opted to focus all the attention on the bride. In any event both outcomes are not the best choice. An experienced photographer won’t book with a bride or groom when that photographer cannot accomplish a complete chronicle of the wedding. For me, as an example, the shortest photographic service I offer is four hours. It requires a mandatory 45 minutes with the bride and 45 minutes with the groom before the wedding. That leaves two-and-a-half hours for the wedding ceremony, family portraiture, and reception. This timeline is very tight, and a lot of planning goes into the process. However, it insures that a person who may be having a “justice of the peace” style wedding and thinks that all they need is two hours of photographic coverage is educated into what is needed to cover their wedding properly. Otherwise something will be missed. Many couples choose to “miss” the focus on the groom. Don’t do that. Work with a pro who understands that all parts of the wedding, especially the groom, are covered completely.

The Groom

The Bride

Tip#3: Are you in love with the way the photographer captures the kiss?

Photographing the kiss is either hit or miss for most photographers, and that’s a shame. The reality is that the kiss is a beautiful symbol of passion. Most couples kisses look awkward because photographing a kiss can be difficult. This is an area where skill and experience comes in. Ask to see the kisses. If you’re not in love with them, then it may be a good idea to continue your look for a photographer.

The First Kiss

Tip#4: Are the Details and special accompaniments captured in completeness?

Brides, grooms, mothers, fathers, and the family go through a lot of hard work putting together the perfect wedding. The details, placement of napkins and seating arrangements, speak volumes about a life well lived. Many photographers take a cursory look at these special things. Sure, it’s easy to snap a picture of the cake, place setting, and venue. But, is that the whole picture? No. Not in the least. Professional photographers will set up special arrangements of earrings, rings, shoes. A pro will look at the background before taking a picture and make sure that it isn’t messy. The point here is that to be all about the details is to be detail oriented in the first place. That’s not something many “creative” types are good at. When looking for your wedding photographer make sure they are consistent in their coverage of the details.

Smooth Details

Tip#5: Are the Cakes great, or average?

The cake will be expensive. Do you want the images to be average or exciting? You won’t know until you ask to see images of the cake. Not just one cake either. You should ask to see many different cakes. What you are looking for in these images are dynamic exciting pictures of cake. There should be several pictures of the cake from normal angles and distances. The other images should be of the details within the cake and from angles that make the cake look amazing. An experienced processional will produce such images readily and be excited to talk with you about all that went into getting that perfect shot.

Beautiful Cakes

There you have it- my five pro tips for choosing a wedding photographer.

Get out there and use them wisely! Just keep in mind that as a photographer, I realize that I am the most important vendor at your wedding: You will only listen to your DJ once, you’ll eat the cake and food once, and you’ll be at the venue only for a few hours; however, your wedding images will last a lifetime. When it comes to wedding photography, you pay for experience.

Keep that in mind and don’t skimp on the photography. Choose a package that is about 12-15% of your total wedding budget. This means that if you’re planning on a 20K wedding, you should probably spend about $2,000-3,000 for a boutique wedding photography experience and about $1,100-1,500 for an ala-carte wedding package. Most of all, I hope you use these tips to choose the best photographer for you. I’m Robert Hamm.

Today we have been talking about choosing a wedding photographer. Please contact me if you found this helpful. I am available for weddings in the United States and am happy to help you with your photography. Thanks’ for joining me. Cheers!

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