We truly believe that your wedding photographer is not just another wedding vendor. Once you find your venue, planner, and dress, the next step is to find a wedding photographer!
Your photographer is a big deal for so many reasons. For starters, they will be with you the entire day. Besides a videographer and day-of coordinator, you can't really say that about too many other vendors! Also, they are creating the physical memories that you will have of your wedding day for the rest of your life. That's a pretty big deal!
However, we know how overwhelming it can seem to find the right wedding photographer. The market is pretty saturated these days! How do you know who will be a good fit for your wedding day?
How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer
Here are some of our tips for choosing the right wedding photographer for your big day!
What are you looking for in a photographer?
First, it's important to think about what you're looking for in a wedding photographer. A few different things will go into this!
Think about who you are as a person and a bride. If you are a more laidback, go-with-the-flow type of bride, then having a photographer with a Type A personality might stress you out. And if you are a Type A person yourself, then having a more laidback photographer might make you feel like the day isn't going how you would like it to.
We'll get into this more a little bit later, but a good way to find out your photographer's personality is to meet with them in-person!
Also, you're going to want to think about the style of photos that you're looking for. This is something that a lot of people probably don't think about before they start planning a wedding, but it's important! Photographers have a lot of different styles — from light and airy to dark and moody and everything in between. If you are looking for your photos to be dark and moody, you won't want to choose a photographer who specializes in a light and airy editing style, and vice versa. Two great indicators of a photographer's style are their portfolio (found on their website) and their Instagram!
Ask your venue & other vendors for recommendations
If you are completely stuck on where to start when researching potential photographers, then ask for recommendations! Your venue and your planner are very good places to start. Your venue will likely have recommendations of photographers that have been to the venue quite a few times, so they know how to work well with it!
On the other hand, your planner knows you and your vision for your wedding day. So, they can offer more personalized recommendations for you.
We suggest asking for both and researching all of your options before narrowing it down!
Ask for personal recommendations
If you have any friends/family that have gotten married in your area recently, reach out to them for recommendations! These recommendations can be a little bit more helpful, because they actually worked one-on-one with the photographer for their wedding day. They can tell you about their full experience — from the time that they booked them to the day that they received their gallery!
Check out their websites, social media, and reviews
While you're researching, be sure to check out their website to find out more about them. If they don't have a website, that could be a red flag that are new, inexperienced, or not very professional. This doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't use them, but that is something to consider!
Be sure to check out their social media, too. Is it updated regularly? If so, this is a good sign that they are working a lot of weddings. You can also take a look to see whether or not they are responsive to comments — this shows how they are with their clients!
Finally, be sure to check out their reviews. You can check Google, websites such as The Knot or WeddingWire, and Facebook. This is a good indicator of how past couples feel about their experience with the photographer! If they have a lot of negative reviews, this can be a red flag.
Reach out to a few of your favorites
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few potential favorites, it's time to start reaching out to them! The best way to do this is through email or the contact form on their website. Or, you can always give them a call to chat with them!
Some important questions to ask them right off the bat are:
- How long have you been photographing weddings?
- Have you ever worked a wedding at my venue? (Note: It's okay if they haven't!)
- Are you available on my wedding date? (If they are not, ask if they have other recommendations for you to reach out to!)
- Can I have a list of your pricing and packages?
Schedule in-person consultations
After you've reached out to a few photographers and start receiving responses, you will probably start narrowing it down even further. Reach out to your absolute favorites (this is usually between one and three) to schedule in-person consultations with them! We really suggest meeting in-person if at all possible — your photographer is such an important vendor that you will establish a relationship with, so seeing how you mesh with them in person is crucial!
When you are meeting with them in person, there are some things that you will want to find out:
- Ask to see a few full galleries, either at your venue or at venues that are similar
- How will you receive your wedding gallery? Will you receive print rights?
- Do they backup their photos, and for how long?
- Ask about their process — pre-wedding, wedding day, and post-wedding.
- What sets you apart from other photographers?
- Ask about anything that you're nervous about — how they help with posing, how they handle last minute changes, and how they deal with potential uncooperative wedding party members in group photos?
Have an engagement session
Finally, once you have decided who you want to book — have an engagement session! You can do this before or after you have already signed a contract with them. Some photographers will even include a free engagement session with their wedding contract, so be sure to check!
The reason that we suggest having an engagement session with your photographer is so you can get comfortable with them before the wedding day. This will make for a much smoother process right off the bat on your wedding day!
For me personally, I did not have an engagement session with our photographer. Near the end of the wedding day, we were so much more comfortable with our photographer and posing. I wish that we would have had an engagement session so that we could have been fully comfortable from the start! Don't make the same mistake, I promise that it's worth it.
When it comes down to it, hiring a photographer is a huge decision. Don't feel rushed to choose the first one that you meet with! You will have these photos forever and you want to love them.