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Choosing a Wedding Photographer | Understanding Styles – Part 2

Client Resources

In the first post in this series I talked about the importance of understanding a photographer’s style and why you should know what style you like before starting your search for a photographer. I also compared and contrasted some various aspects of photographic style. (If you haven’t read it or need a refresher, hop over there first!). Today we’re going to take things to a more practical place and talk through HOW to figure out what photographic style you resonate with.

Step 1: Go down a Pinterest rabbit hole

If you’re already an avid Pinterest user, start by creating a fresh new board. If you’ve never used Pinterest, I encourage you to hop on it for this purpose! Once you’ve got your Rabbit Hole board created, start a timer for 30 minutes. Go to the search bar (i.e., do NOT just start scrolling in your home feed) and type in “Weddings”. Yes it’s very generic, but that’s on purpose 🙂 I want you to Pin the first image that catches your eye (don’t spend more than a minute scrolling to find that first pin). It’s important here that you are only looking for image STYLES that speak to you – images that you could envision receiving in your gallery and being thrilled to see. Try not to be thinking things like ‘oh I like this style but not this exact centerpiece’.

After saving that first pin, STAY ON THAT SCREEN and scroll down (you should see a note that says “More Like This”). In other words, do not exit back to your initial search and do not go back to your home feed. The rabbit hole exercise is intended to take your first Pin and keep digging deeper and deeper into that hole. As you scroll through that section, find another Pin that excites you and speaks to you, save it, and again remain on that screen. Continue doing this process of Pinning and staying on that screen to find more and more things “like this” until your timer runs out.

Tips

  • Try not to spend more than 1 minute scrolling for your next Pin.
  • Don’t put too much thought into it and don’t get caught up in the nitty gritty details of an image – trust your gut feeling on whether or not an image excites you and makes you feel something.
  • Try to Pin some different things – in other words if the first image you stumble across that excites you is of a reception table, make sure you don’t just keep pinning tables. Pinning something slightly different each time will help dig up more and more content as you get further into the hole.

Step 2: Evaluate

Ok so you’ve finished your Rabbit Hole. You should now have a board of at leasts 30 pins to look through. Spend a couple minutes looking at your board. Zoom out as much as possible so you can see a lot of your board at once. Ask yourself the following questions and write your answers:

  • Are the majority of these photos light/bright or dark/moody?
  • Do the majority of these photos have bold/saturated colors or muted/soft colors?
  • Do the majority of these photos feel styled and perfected or do they feel candid and unprompted/untouched?
  • Are there a lot of “details only” or “detail focused” images or are the majority of images focused on people?

Step 3: Do an Instagram dive

Ok, this is the last lengthy part of this process! You’re now going to switch platforms and do what I’m calling an Instagram dive. For this, you’re going to set your 30-minute timer again, open up Instagram and go to your search bar. Type in #(your city)weddingphotographer and start scrolling.

As soon as you see an image that speaks to you click on the little ribbon at the bottom right of that image. It will show an option to Save in a Collection. Click that and then create a title for your collection (think of it as a Pinterest board). And, don’t worry – no one gets notified when you do this!

Now that you’ve got your board created, you can continue scrolling through that specific hashtag, saving any images that speak to you to that board. Continue until the timer runs out.

Tips

  • Don’t switch hashtags unless you run out of content. If you do switch hashtags, switch to something very similar like #(yourcity)wedding , #(yourcity)weddings, #(yourcity)weddingphotography or #(yourstate)weddingphotographer . In other words, keep it as local as possible and keep it wedding focused.
  • Don’t go looking at profiles or reading captions or anything like that. Just scroll and save. You can look at profiles later!

Step 4: Evaluate

You’re done with your dive! Now time to evaluate. This is going to look identical to your Pinterest evaluation so, again, ask yourself the following questions and write your answers:

  • Are the majority of these photos light/bright or dark/moody?
  • Do the majority of these photos have bold/saturated colors or muted/soft colors?
  • Do the majority of these photos feel styled and perfected or do they feel candid and unprompted/untouched?
  • Are there a lot of “details only” or “detail focused” images or are the majority of images focused on people?

Step 5: Create an adjective list

Last but not least…Now that you’ve done two deep dives and evaluated them separately, spend a few minutes comparing your answers. Were there some common threads in your responses? Write those out. Before you start searching for your photographer you need to know where you land on the Light/Airy – Dark/Moody spectrum, the bold vs. muted color spectrum, as well as on the Posing spectrum.

As you’re looking through your two boards are there words that are coming to mind? Write those words out! Having some adjectives in mind will help you find a photographer that you resonate with.

Below are some examples (though there are tons more that could be added so get creative!) of adjectives that may describe the images in your boards. These can be helpful words to know as you start searching because, more often than not, you’ll find adjectives like this on photographers’ websites. So if you have a few words already in mind and then see them on a photographer’s site, you can be more confident that you’ve found someone you’ll love!

  • Natural
  • Cinematic
  • Romantic
  • Storytelling
  • Documentary
  • Classic
  • Modern
  • Joyful
  • Candid
  • Bright
  • Colorful
  • Bold
  • Dramatic
  • Sophisticated
  • Intimate
  • Timeless
  • Adventurous

Alright! You’re done!

Hopefully this gives you something tangible and practical to work with as you start your search for a wedding photographer. Again, it’s incredibly important that you pick someone who is already producing work you resonate with and who shares similar “adjectives” so to speak. If you just pick someone at random and assume that they’ll tailor their services to match your taste, you are in for a disappointing ride and that is not what anyone wants your wedding experience to be like! The photos are the one thing from your wedding that will outlast everything else. So don’t take this decision lightly!

Happy Planning!

Other posts in this planning series: 
Recommended Chicago Wedding Vendors
Choosing Your Wedding Date
Choosing your Photographer: Number One Question to Ask
Choosing Your Ceremony Time

see more wedding planning resources here

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