When you are photographer shopping, the best piece of advice is to pay close attention to each photographer’s portfolio, but what are you actually supposed to look for? Chances are you’ve never done this before, so you see some pretty images and call it good. Anyone can produce pretty images, but not every photographer will be right for your day. Here are tips on what to look for when you are judging a photographer’s portfolio.
1. Do they have pictures in various lighting conditions?
It’s easy to take pictures of a stunning couple in perfect lighting, but your day might not be “perfect.” Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, and sometimes the Midwest decides to show you who’s boss. That’s why it’s important to look for images in varying conditions. Do you see any images taken in the rain? Do you see any indoor images with really awful florescent light? It’s important to make sure you see a variety in their portfolio to know they can really handle any situation.
2. Do you see images from your venue or similar looking venues?
Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter if the photographer has shot at your exact venue, but it is important to make sure you see similar venues on their site. If you are getting married in a dimly lit church, but they only show images of outdoor ceremonies, make sure you ask for more specific examples or move on to someone who shows images with a similar vibe. A photographer’s rule of thumb is to only post what you want to shoot, so if you don’t see anything matching your day, that could be a red flag. It also might just mean they haven’t updated their images in a minute, so be sure to ask for clarification if you absolutely love a certain photographer.
3. Do they have images from all parts of the day?
Once again, it’s easy to post portraits in perfect lighting, but you want to make sure the photographer can capture the entire day. Pay close attention to getting ready images and reception images. Oftentimes, these are taken in non-ideal lighting situations, so it will show you their overall skill level. If you don’t see any indoor images posted, ask to see a few before making your decision.
4. Are the images of real couples and not models?
Styled shoots are a big deal in the wedding industry and these images are pretty easy to spot. A styled shoot is essentially a model shoot where they’ll work with professionals to create portfolio-worthy images. They’ll always have picture-perfect details in perfect conditions with a couple who knows exactly how to pose. If a photographer is posting more styled shoots than actual wedding images, that can be a red flag. It might show they haven’t done many actual weddings and styled weddings definitely won’t prepare them for everything that comes with a wedding day.
5. Do they showcase all different body types, ethnicities, etc?
The most important point is to look through their galleries and feel like you can see yourself in the images! You aren’t going to look or act like any other couple, so make sure you see images and think “yeah, that could be me.” Whether you are looking for body diversity, race, ethnic, cultural, etc, it’s important to find someone who showcases couples like you!
There you have 5 ways to judge a photographer’s portfolio. Keep in mind that it’s not always a deal breaker if you don’t find all you are looking for. Whatever you do, always ask to see a full gallery! That is the only way to tell if they can capture a full wedding day.