Most couples spend quite a bit of time selecting the dress, the food and the venue. However, Miami Valley wedding photographers suggest spending a similar amount of thought and care when selecting the photographer.

Know Your Photo Style

There are many different types of wedding photographers so couples should make sure that they know what they like and what kind of photos they’re looking for before meeting with a potential photographer.

“Do you tend to go for a light and airy (brighter) edit or a dark and moody (darker) edit, or do you prefer something in-between? There tends to be endless choices nowadays, (so) choosing an editing style you prefer can help to narrow your search,” says Chelsea Hall, owner and head photographer at Chelsea Hall Photography in Dayton. Couples should also consider if they want photos that are more editorial or photojournalistic in the their appearance.

“Editorial tends to be a more perfected, posed look, while photojournalistic is candid and imperfect, but tells the story,” adds Hall, who leans toward photojournalistic images herself.

Max Surikov, owner of Maxim Photo Studio, which has locations in both Cincinnati and Dayton, says he has seen the number of couples asking for photojournalistic images increase over the last five years.

“Also more and more couples are looking to create wedding day images that are ‘non-Pinteresty’ and are exclusive to them. I coined this photography style as artistic photojournalism. It is a combination of photojournalism and the use of available and off camera lighting to create wedding images that have not been possible as recently as three years ago,” he says.

When determining if a photographer’s style fits your own Hall suggests looking at a full wedding gallery before making a decision.

“Anyone can take a handful of good images, but a professional can handle all types of lighting situations on a wedding day,” she says.

Professionalism is Key

Kevin Lush, owner and photographer with Kevin Lush Photography in Dayton, says that couples should make sure to find a professional photographer to guarantee best results. A legitimate business will have a business license, pay sales tax and have backups of everything. In addition, couples should expect the photographer to act professional throughout all their interactions.

“Go with your gut! If you find a photographer you love and they are available on your wedding day but the photographer does not communicate quickly think about choosing another,” says Lush.

Surikov agrees, saying that the experience is key.

“I am not referring specifically to the number of years that a photographer has been in business, instead I am referring to the level of satisfaction that the clients attain starting with the first time that they interact with the photographer, the promptness of the response, under promising and over delivering, friendliness, etc. Ultimately, the photographer can deliver amazing images, however, if those images are coupled with slow service and unprofessional conduct the clients will be left wanting more and probably unsatisfied,” he says.

Get to Know Your Photographer

Lastly, couples should make sure that they feel comfortable with their photographer.

“Finding a photographer you can vibe with is extra important. They are going to be with you all day. It would be a shame to choose someone who captures great images, but makes you feel uncomfortable,” says Hall.

The couple’s relationship with the photographer can help make or break their wedding day. Lush, for example, likes to go the extra mile the day of the wedding to keep everyone in a positive mood.

“At receptions I often get drinks for the bride and groom so that they can continue to enjoy their day without waiting at the bar. I try to make the day as easy and fun as I can,” he says.

Surikov suggests couples include an engagement session with their photography package so they can spend more time in front of the camera and with the photographer.

“The couple will gain valuable insights into various posing tips and tricks and we get familiar with each other’s personality. I find that the wedding day portraits are much easier when my couples include an engagement (session) because they know how they look best in front of the camera,” he says.

Ultimately, booking the wedding photographer requires finding whoever is best for you and your wedding. However, couples should remember to book them quickly.

“Once you find someone you love and they get back to you quickly book them! There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the perfect photographer only to discover you waited too long to book,” says Lush.

And while budget is important Hall recommends reconsidering it if what you really want is a little more expensive. “Don’t be afraid to raise your budget to find someone you can trust. The biggest complaint I hear from married couple friends is that they wished they would have spent a little more on their photographer to get images they loved and cherished,” she says.