4 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN INVESTING IN YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
How much time and investment should go into finding the right photographer for your wedding day?
That question could be answered any number of ways depending on who you ask. Some of your friends and family might give their input on this topic and I guarantee you’ll end up getting a different answer each time. But let me ask you this: how many chances does the wedding photographer have to get it right? One!
There’s no ‘take two’ for a wedding, so seeing wedding photography as a worthwhile investment is critical when considering how you want your day documented and your precious memories captured for generations to come.
Although you may need to save money on your wedding, there are some elements that you should spend more on. One of these is your wedding photographs. Don’t be cheap when it comes to wedding photos, hire a professional wedding photographer. Here’s why…
Wedding photos are your lasting keepsake of the day and along with a video (should you choose to have one) are some of the few things you will drag out time and time again to show family and friends or to just reminisce over together. With this in mind you want them to be utterly gorgeous and a true reflection of the wonderful day you had. A professional wedding photographer knows which angles to shoot and how to take them and make them magical. It really is the little things that make a difference and only a true professional photographer can do that.
These four things are essential when it comes to producing a wedding album that captures all the best bits of your wedding and leaves you feeling great about the decisions you made upfront. These skills may not come cheap, but when you compare what an experienced photographer can offer compared to a novice, you will notice the difference.
I often get asked,” What happens if you’re sick or someone dies and you can’t make it there?” Well, first of all, I’m there regardless of how sick I am! I’ve shot some weddings sicker than a dog…lol…but seriously, I take reliability to the extreme. The weather doesn’t stop me either. I will drive in all extremes and I guarantee, I’m gonna show up on time.
Heaven forbid though something happens, my backup is my team of second shooters that are highly experienced and accustomed to tailoring everything according to my brand – so everything stays consistent, no matter what! Always having a ‘Plan B’ in place is what any professional worthy of your investment would and should do.
Additionally, BLC strives to build and maintain strong relationships with both our vendors and our couples. More often than not, I am shooting alongside some of the best known planners, videographers, makeup artists, venue owners, etc. We spend a tremendous amount of our time and resources partnering with these vendors in the off-season collaborating and creating in order to provide a level of service to our brides that goes above and beyond in this industry. Those human connections are authentically built for the sole reason of securing reliability and trust with our couples!
It can be hard to evaluate trust upfront and to know when it’s the right fit or not. For me, trust is established through performance and delivery. There’s a reason why all of those online reviews are helpful! Taking the time to really comb through these when comparing photographers is just as essential as reviewing the venues! Really take your time studying their brand – does their style fit your taste, do their galleries document what you would be wanting, do the photos capture a mixture of candid and posed, etc.? These are just a handful of things you should be looking at when researching online.
Another suggestion that I urge couples to be looking for in reviews is whether or not the couples critique the performance of the photographer. What level of service did they provide? How far and to what lengths were they willing to go create an unforgettable experience and produce stunning images?
Personally speaking, when I am working a wedding, I am diligently seeking out the best spots to shoot, evaluating the timeline of the day well in advance to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible, and connecting with the entire bridal party and family members. My second shooters have been known to hold babies, calm toddlers, fix dress malfunctions, fix hair and makeup at the last second – even pray with the bride just before she walks down the aisle to calm her nerves. Without a doubt, we work hard for our couples because we value them tremendously!
Once you’ve narrowed your results down a bit, don’t be afraid to schedule a face-to-face meeting. I personally believe this is one of the most critical steps in hiring the right professional. A person can read a lot about someone when they can see their movements and ask them challenging questions. A photographer worth investing in will come to that meeting prepared to talk about your vision for your wedding day and leave you with very little to no reason as to why you shouldn’t hire them!
A professional photographer has invested thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, in quality equipment and education. They spend hours upon hours fine-tuning their craft only to still find themselves striving for better. It’s really pretty simple: talent can be readily determined when reviewing online galleries.
It can be tempting to ask your uncle to take the photographs simply because he owns a nice camera, and this in itself is fine if he knows how to use it and has experience at taking wedding shots. However, many who go down the DIY route to save money live to regret it – remember your wedding is a once only occasion, you cannot go back and have your photographs done again if you do not like them!
This is where I challenge the thought of hiring a friend/family member and really do your research on the experiences and level of service other brides have had with their photographers. A good photographer can take a good photo, but they can also ruin the experience for the couple if they’re not careful.
Thoughtful and purposeful planning should begin months in advance through the conversations and meetings between a photographer and their couples. I spend hours learning details about the couple and their vision for the wedding day, not just for the sake of talking (though I’ve been known to talk your ear off…lol), but so I can help create an experience for them that is positively unforgettable. I want them to know and feel that their investment in me was both wise and worthwhile.
When things don’t go according to plan, and at some point you can expect that they won’t, an amateur won’t know how to recover. The stress and variables of wedding day photography are not something to be taken lightly. It’s literally the fastest moving day you can ever imagine. If you are not prepared for that, or know how to handle those situations, the walls can close in very quickly! Even the best photographers in other genres can struggle.
Wedding photographers have to learn to fire off great shots quickly, sometimes with fast changing light. Experience and skill will get you through most situations, but without it, it could cost you well beyond the financial investment. Really evaluate the work and the reviews of the photographer. What experiences have their brides had?
Having great photos that represent you, as a couple, and being able to walk away feeling thought of and cared for is what BLC strives for. Combining our education, experience, and skill with strong human connections is what creates the kind of atmosphere we want for our couples. We believe that at the end of the day, you should feel valued, relaxed, and confident in your investment. This is exactly the kind of experience we want you to have and to be able to share with others.
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Formerly known as Brian L. Coss Photography or BLC Photography, the Coss Creative team delivers luxury wedding photography and videography in Chicago, IL and worldwide.
Photographer & Filmmaker Brian Coss and his team go beyond imagination, capturing your authentic moments and the raw emotion of your wedding day.