My best tips on where to start and how to pick your wedding photographer
You’re engaged! (YAY!) So now it’s time to assemble your dream team of wedding vendors. Where to start?
Wedding photography is undoubtedly one of the most important slots you’ll fill when it comes to your wedding vendors — not only do they spend the entire day with you, but they’ll be documenting everything — including all the other amazing vendors you might plan to include in your own wedding, like flowers, your dress, suits, venue, and so on. It’s one of the only things that you’ll have long after your wedding day, and choosing the right photographer for you will also influence your wedding experience. Hiring someone who you’re comfortable with and who will capture the day the way you want is so important.
So how do you figure out who’s the right fit, and what should you be looking for?
Every couple and person has a different style, different vibe, different expectations, and feelings going into their wedding day, so it’s hard to say what *the one* thing is that you should be looking for. I’ve put together a few of my most important things you should be looking for as a way to get started, but all in all, this can come down to your gut feeling and the way you interact with a certain vendor.
Here are some of the key things you should think about when starting your search for a wedding photographer:
1. Have a budget range in mind
First, it might be helpful to do some research on the average cost of a wedding photographer in your area. Knowing what the normal cost is going to be ahead of time before you begin to laser-focus your search may help you save some time. I always tell couples not to have a set-in-stone number in their minds, but rather a range that you’re comfortable with spending. After all, prices will vary from photographer to photographer, and having a range in mind will help you be more flexible if you find THE photographer who is absolutely perfect for you that you two want to invest in. It is understandable to keep budgets when it comes to wedding planning, but having flexibility will help you find a photographer who will be perfect for you based on their abilities, what they offer and the photo experience rather than just choosing based on a number.
2. Was their website helpful to you *before* you sent an email?
3. See a full wedding day gallery
I think it’s important for couples to review a full gallery from photographers they are interested in hiring for a few reasons. 1. It’s important to know that this photographer has actually photographed a full wedding day, and 2. It’s important to see how a photographer may handle different lighting scenarios, and if you like their overall style of shooting.
Some things to keep in mind when looking through a photographer’s gallery: Keep in mind that this is NOT your wedding. This particular couple may have picked colors, styles, venue, made certain choices like time and place to be married that will be TOTALLY different than from what you have in mind — what’s important here is to look at how the photographer captured all these things. Do you like the style of their portraits? Do you like the emotion, the colors, expressions, and candid photos that this photographer captured? Do you feel like these important moments were captured in a real way that you would yourself look back on?
4. Make sure your personalities mesh
Never underestimate the importance of actually liking your photographer’s personality! Did this photographer listen to your vision and offer helpful suggestions? Look for an honest, organized, and friendly photographer. This person should also be great at listening to your ideas, and a positive force in helping your wedding day unfold. This is the person who will be your shadow most of the day, so making sure you’re a good fit and you feel comfortable around them is so important. Go with someone who puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way.
5. Do your homework and look for online reviews
Websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire, or even a simple Google search can be really helpful tools in determining if this photographer has real, positive reviews from customers. While this isn’t the only thing you should base your decision on, it is always helpful to hear from other, real clients about their real wedding day experiences with this person and how the photographer conducted themselves when working. Online reviews are often glowing, but they can also shed light on which photographers have issues or who are not professional. Remember, it can be easy for someone to make a striking portfolio of photos and put them online — but always double-check their online reviews to see how they treat their clients and how they handle themselves.
I hope this list is a great place for you to start when it comes to your wedding photographer search. This info should help you make informed decisions when choosing between photographers, and give you the insider info you need to know when it comes to choosing a wedding day photographer that’s a perfect fit for you two.
If you have any other questions or tips on choosing a perfect wedding photographer, let me know below!