Choosing Your Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

Once couples start searching for Milwaukee wedding photographers, they quickly learn the decision isn’t going to be easy. Pages and pages of options, more styles than they knew existed and vastly different price points. Digging even a little deeper, couples will find variability among photographers in the nuances as well. Image delivery – flash drive or digital? Image rights – print release or not? Service and client experience – low touch or high touch? The more you learn, the more questions you have. In this post, we will take a look at how couples can tackle this important decision to make the perfect decision.

Style of Your Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

As you embark on your search, start with style. Close your eyes and imagine your wedding. Consider the lighting, consider the colors, consider the setting. What do you see?

Light and Airy

Do you picture it bright and and sunlit? If so, you’re likely going to be most satisfied with a bright and airy photographer for whom you can narrow down your search using terms like “bright and airy Milwaukee wedding photographer” or a term like “fine art Milwaukee wedding photographer.” You might even search “Milwaukee wedding photographer film photography” as a good chunk of these photographers love and work with film. In this style, the darkest parts of the image are still discernible, the shadow are light. Skies are always pastel or white with very little contrast and greens are usually of a lighter tone, sometimes even bluish. Skin tones are gentle and lighter than they are naturally. You’ll find that some photographers pull heavily toward this lightness, and some use lighter lights and slightly darker blacks.

Dark and Moody

Maybe you close your eyes and see a dim space, lit only by candle light. Or you see a couple running through a dark green field with deep oranges and dark shadows. This style is often referred to as dark and moody. Try searching for “dark and moody Milwaukee wedding photographers.” With this style you can expect to see rich colors and a lot of detail in the sky and lighter parts of the image, where the dark portions are so dark they’re often indiscernible. If you love dramatic skies and high contrast, this one is for you. Skin tones are deeper, with more detail and darker than they are naturally. You’ll find that some photographers pull heavily toward this style, and some pull only some elements.

Classic

There is no true middle style, per se, however, we refer to the middle as “classic.” In my opinion, this term can sometimes carry a negative association and find itself akin to plain or boring, even though it isn’t always so.

Posing

As you look through your search results, ask yourself, do you gravitate toward images where the couple is looking at the camera for the majority of the photos, or do you prefer the couple looking away? Do you appreciate the fashion magazine oriented images or do you prefer a photojournalistic approach where the couple almost appears to not know the photographer is there?

What will you want in 30 years?

All of these options have their place, and most of it lies in the taste of the client – you. None of them are wrong or right. You just need to determine what you like, what will compliment the look and feel you are creating at your wedding and what you imagine you will want in 30 years. No pressure. Don’t rush this decision, it’s the most important one.

Price Point and Cost of Your Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

Photographer price points vary tremendously. Generally speaking, cost increases as a photographer becomes more experienced and photographs weddings with more complexity or higher budget. One additional factor that can really make a photographer worth the investment is their customer experience. Typically, a great customer experience comes with a slightly higher price tag; this is typically a learned skill by seasoned photographers.

Image rights and editing also affect price. We will talk more about later in the article. Generally speaking, wedding photographers that offer printing rights and fully edited images may charge more.

Rough Pricing Categories forProfessional Milwaukee Wedding Photographers

In Milwaukee, professional wedding photographers fall into three price categories:
$2500-$2999
$3000-$4499
$4500+

Pricing at 5th Photography

Speaking for 5th Photography, I am in the the highest category. My clients are investing in my services based on my years of experience, my high-touch luxury customer experience, short image processing times, service range provided, quality of work, film costs, professional equipment, lighting expertise, maintenance of equipment and skill, a personality match, extensive portfolio, international experience, high-end product line-up, and heirloom quality memories. My clients view hiring me as a worthwhile investment because I have guarantees and redundancy built into my system that minimize their risk and deliver on their hopes and dreams.

Pricing for the Future

Every price range has advantages. Interview your photographers and see who delivers a suite of services and products that are meaningful to you. Assess what is most important to you and determine if experience in various lighting situations, data integrity, and quality are important to you. My next question to you would be how important is it to you?

Values and Personality of Your Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

As you begin speaking with Milwaukee wedding photographers allow for time to get to know each other as people. In some cases, your photographer will be with you longer than your partner will be on the wedding day. You’ll want to be sure you are a good personality match.

Qualities to Look For in a Wedding Photographer

Look for qualities like professionalism, ego, direction, initiative and confidence. You’ll want a photographer that listens to you and knows how to turn your wishes into artwork. If you are quiet, will you need some coaxing to get you out of your shell? If so, a soft-spoken, timid photographer may not be a great match. What do you need? You’re hiring a photographer to ensure you get what you need, make sure your selection is thoughtful.

Personality at 5th Photography

When I meet with potential clients in Milwaukee or around the world, I like to ask what they are looking to create on their wedding day. I ask what their priorities are – celebrating? Portraits? A sentimental ceremony? Fashion and glitz? Knowing that, I can start painting the picture of the day, how the timeline will unfold and how I will serve as the art director on their wedding day. I operate on professionalism, punctuality, initiative and humor. I look for clients that resonate with these elements. If they do, we are a good match. If not, I asses to see if we will be a good match.

View more Milwaukee wedding photography work by 5th Photography at St. James 1868 and at Villa Terrrace.

Increasing the Atmosphere with Wedding Planners

My clients almost exclusively work with wedding planners. There is something magical about wedding planners. The clarity and eye-candy they bring to celebrations adds beauty and soul in to the atmosphere. Selecting the right planner to lead the wedding pro team is critical. They are the heart of the team. Together, we make the wedding day a success. Planners are crucial in wedding production, so I recommend using a Milwaukee wedding planner to all of my clients. Team dynamic leads to amazing chemistry on and off camera. This chemistry elevates the experience of you as the client and for the guests.

As the client, you need to feel comfortable on the wedding day. Also, you need to be able to be who you are and you also need be able to be guided. As your photographer in Milwaukee, I will guide you through different portions of the day, alongside your planner to stay on schedule. With my experience, I also where a styling hat, a directing hat and an artist hat. Together, you and I create the portfolio of work you dream of. It is important to me that you welcome me into your day as your guide. If we reach that in our professional relationship, nothing can stop us from creating absolute magic on the wedding day.

Look for a photographer you enjoy being around and have chemistry with.

Planner Tips

Looking for a Milwaukee wedding planner? Check out two of our favorites: Renee Breanne Design + Co. is an artistic director and designer who thinks through every artistic element of your day. From overall design, to your stationery suite, Renee is there to enhance your vision to its fullest potential. She ensures a stress-free planning process with coordination of all design and the full pro team. 

Maybe you’re looking for a one-stop shop for planning logistics, floral design, catering and bar service. Enter Gracious Events, a sister duo that has been on the forefront of Milwaukee events for the greater part of two decades. They operate like a unit to feed and delight. And they definitely do a lot of feeding and delighting.

All the images in this post were taken by 5th Photography at an event put on start to finish by Gracious Events.

wall of beautiful cocktails with lemon

Image Delivery and Use Permissions of Your Milwaukee Wedding Images

Image use varies from photographer to photographer. What you shoudl keep in mind is that there are three general approaches to image use. Full printing rights (full-size files), no printing rights (sometimes accompanied with web-sized images for sharing that may or may not have a watermark on them) with all images available for purchase as hard-copy products like prints, albums and enlargements, and lastly a hybrid of the two (typically a set number of images provided with printing rights, but all other images available for purchase.

Most photographers also have products available for purchase that is either self-fulfilled, where clients can make purchases of prints, albums and enlargements on a website or through a concierge-styled service where you place an order through photographer or their staff, directly.

As mentioned earlier, wedding photographers that offer printing rights and fully edited images may charge more upfront. While photographers who do not offer full-resolution digital files may charge less up front.

The vehicle of image delivery is also important to ask about. Will images come to you electronically via a link? Or will the images come to you on a flash drive? Ensure you are receiving images in a current (not antiquated) way and that it is convenient for you.

Keep in mind that professional photography products like prints, albums and enlargements. Come with a higher price tag as the method for creation may be more labor intensive, often is associated with hand-work (tearing, binding, gluing, designing, etc.), is printed on higher quality papers, is bound with higher quality materials, and is chaperoned through a design and production process.

Service and Customer Experience With Your Milwaukee Wedding Photographer

In todays day an age, perhaps you’ll join me in recognizing how wonderful wonderful customer service is. In 2021, over 90% of consumers stated that they read reviews prior to making a purchase. Can you guess what service-based companies are reviewed for? You guessed it, customer service.

While it should be an expectation across all industries that customer service be a given, market entry of new professionals isn’t always associated with great service. Here’s what to look for in a photographer. Evaluate what matters to you. Responsiveness, professionalism, styling and wardrobe advice, update calls, timeline management, supplemental photoshoots (rehearsal dinner, boudoir, etc.), willingness to travel, flexibility, guidance, gifting, follw-up, checkins, and disposition.

Conclusion

Dear friends, that brings us to the end. I’d like to conclude with a statement that professional photography will always be an investment, but when you select the right photographer, it will be a wonderful investment that will capture your most important memories. Your memories are priceless. Ensuring you invest in quality service and skill is crucial, but nonetheless sometimes daunting. Reach out to me and I’ll help guide you through the process.

Many questions come up through wedding planning. Here are some others I get asked about. Should I have a first look? And also Should I have an unplugged wedding?

Thank you for inviting me into your day.

Reach out to Steph directly at steph@5thPhotography.com

I truly hope this article serves you. I would love to hear your plans. Together we would create photos that will stand the test of time and that will be ready to grace the pages of a magazine.

Contact me via below for a complimentary consultation.

SUBMIT

"Steph captured the beauty of us as individuals and our chemistry as a couple. I sobbed when of joy when we saw our photos. She captured our love - the way I felt when I held him and the fullness with which he loved me. I didn't think those things could be captured on camera. But Steph did that."

- Olivia & Enzo

Toronto Bride & Groom

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