By Steven Young: Stak Studios
The big day is surrounded by excitement and activity. In fact, there's often so much going on that it can be difficult to take in all of the most important moments. Luckily, some of these moments can be captured in photos. But the key to making sure that you can look back on this day with a smile is to hire a skilled photographer who shares and understands your vision. Here are a few tips for choosing a top NYC wedding photographer.
1. CHOOSE YOUR STYLE
One of the first things you need to consider is the style that you're interested in. Most people want something that will appeal to not only the couple but future generations. Look through the wedding albums of others and decide what expectations you have and what exactly draws you to a particular style. Once you have an idea, you should be on the lookout for a photographer that has mastered the style that you want:
Photojournalistic "The Candids"
Candid photography is much more than angelic portraits that feature captivating photo-editing effects. Instead, it's about creativity and telling a beautiful story. Rather than styled and posed shots, the photographer focuses on emotional moments that are unguarded and uncensored. This style is similar to a documentary in that it's based on spontaneity and action. The photographer who specializes in candid images has a keen sense of what matters most and can capture these moments quickly.
Traditional Family Shots
There's a lot to be said for highlighting the people that are nearest and dearest to you. And this is the focus of the traditional shot. Unlike candids, the traditional style is about posed, stylistic images. It captures the ceremony, rituals, and most importantly, your family and friends. You get to look back on the moments that you've been imagining for quite some time. This includes things such as the cutting of the cake, toasts, speeches, "the first look," and group shots with your entourage.
The photographer who specializes in the traditional style has years of experience with capturing the key shots that are important to most people. They know how to give direction and how to keep everything moving as quickly and smoothly as possible. They also know how to get the best reactions from your wedding party.
A Healthy Mixture
While it may be simple to choose one style over the other, it's often a good idea to incorporate a mixture of the two. This ensures that your wedding album is interesting and fun to look back at. Ultimately, the best photographers have mastered both styles. They'll be able to capture the emotions as well as the traditional family shots that you've been looking forward to since you've started the planning.
2. CONSIDER THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S PORTFOLIO
If you want to be sure that the photographer can offer what you're looking for, it's important that you take a look at their past work. The best photographers have a portfolio that shows off their level of skill. Consider how diverse the portfolio is. Ideally, it should include everything from reception shots to family portraits.
You should be captivated by how well they were able to capture the honesty and raw emotion. Are you drawn in by the level of intimacy portrayed in the images? When viewing the photos, you should be able to experience everything from love and joy to anxiety and relief. These are the types of images that will make your wedding album interesting and the images memorable.
3. LOOK BEYOND THE WEBSITE
Most photographers have a website on which they post their best images. While you could base your decisions solely on the images that you see here, it's a good idea to look outside of their site. Ask for a full gallery. This way, you'll get to see all of their samples and you'll be more confident in the decision that you make.
Aim for Consistency
There may be a couple of shots that stand out to you. But keep in mind that it's best to work with a photographer that's consistent. Anyone is capable of taking a nice shot from time to time, but it takes a true professional to consistently capture great moments. You may have your favorites, but every shot should be worth adding to an album. By working with a consistent photographer, you can ensure that you have a lot of images to choose from in the end.
4. ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
A big part of the vetting process is checking for recommendations. Every photographer has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. While their strengths may be obvious to you, the weaknesses are something that you have to work to find. The key is to get the most accurate sense of what their weaknesses are so that you can decide if they're something that you can actually live with. The good news is, there are several ways to collect this information.
When it comes to getting the scoop on the services that a business offers, there's hardly anything more helpful than online reviews. And that's because these are the unbiased opinions of individuals who've already been clients. If you want an uncensored opinion, then check review sites like Yelp.
What type of feedback is the photographer getting? Did this individual live up to their end of the contract? Were they on time and ready to go? Most importantly, was the client pleased with the photos?
Is there a common complaint that reviewers tend to share? Perhaps everyone was pleased with their photos, but the photographer didn't have the best communication skills. Is this something that you can deal with? Whatever the feedback, if you notice more negative than positive, this could be a red flag.
You don't always have to rely on the opinions of strangers. Sometimes you can get a recommendation from a trusted friend. Have they worked with the individual that you'd like to hire? If so, what was their experience and would they use them again? If they haven't worked with the person, do they know anyone who could deliver the results that you're looking for?
Consult the Venue
Sometimes it's a good idea to consult with the venue. They often have a large network and are familiar with who's who in the wedding industry. They may be able to offer a few options that you've yet to consider. The staff at the venue can also lay out the pros and cons of each photographer that they recommend.
Consider their Reputation
If you have a wedding photographer in mind, then a good reputation should precede this individual. This means that even before you get in contact with them, you should feel as if you've already heard enough to make a sound decision. Of course, you should still take a long, hard look at their portfolio to find out if they're the best fit for you. However, if you choose from some of the best wedding photographers in NYC who are known for doing quality work and offering stellar customer service, then you're more likely to get the results that you're after.
When it comes to choosing the best NYC photographer for your event, make it a priority to work with someone who suits your style and meshes well with your personality. Ideally, you should have a connection with this person. If so, they'll do a better job of conveying the emotions that you want to feature in your wedding album. If you do your homework, you'll be able to relive these special moments for years to come.
All images courtesy of Stak Studios