Choosing the right Wedding Photographer can be a very difficult thing to do if you don’t know where to start, what to look for, or what questions to ask. Not to mention, every wedding & every couple is different & unique. Just because a photographer is good at what they do, doesn’t automatically make them the right choice for everyone. Here are a few tips from a photographers point of view.
You should start your search early… at least 6-12 months before your wedding day. Most experienced or sought after photographers schedule this far (or more) in advance. It’s less stressful if you have a realistic timeline for planning. Don’t try & squeeze it all in a few months! You will most likely have a much harder time finding anyone reliable who is available on such short notice. Preparing ahead of time can relieve a large part of your wedding planning stress.
Ask friends & family for referrals. Who has gotten married recently? Were they happy with the results & the demeanor of the photographer? Ask other wedding vendors as well, such as your wedding planner, venue coordinator, or florist for example. Chances are someone will give you a recommendation that will at least be a good starting point. Also, the internet is a great place for inspiration, collecting ideas, & getting a feel for different photographers’ work.
You should create a short list of a few photographers who’s images speak to you. Make sure to meet with them in person to see which ones you connect with based on photo style, personality, & budget. It’s a big decision & these are memories to last forever, so make sure you follow your heart!
I would say the MOST important aspect to think about is personality. If you do not get along with or feel comfortable having a conversation with this person, then how will you be on your wedding day? If you aren’t comfortable around them, then you will not be yourself or natural for your special day. Remember these photos will last for years to come & should reflect your genuine happiness & emotions.
Take style into great consideration…this is also a very important factor when choosing a wedding photographer. You may like traditional & classic shots, but their style may be more modern or artistic. Typically good photographers are versatile & can shoot in a blend of styles to tell more of a story. Look through their photos & see if there is a good mix of traditional & posed, candid captures, & more creative shots & details, close ups, etc. . Make it known what types of shots you enjoy the most. If you are moved by the samples of their previous weddings, then they are most likely a good match.
There are some imperative questions you should ask to know exactly what you will end up with. What is included with your package? How many hours & locations & are there extra fees? Do you receive any prints, proofs, disks, copyrights, albums, etc? Are there travel fees? Who will be actually shooting the photographs…make sure it is going to be them personally & not someone else they have subcontracted. Although, sometimes an assistant or “second shooter” tags along to help out… this is always good to get another perspective. Ask if there is a way to customize your package from the standard choices, if you want something specific. Get everything in writing & sign a contract, when you feel all of your needs have been met.
If you are still unsure, then consider getting engagement portraits done. This is a great way to know if you love the photos & have a good rapport & connection. It is also a good way to establish a bit of a relationship & let the photographer see you both on a more personal level before the big day!
Planning a wedding can feel extremely overwhelming. Your photographer should put your mind at ease by answering all of your questions, being friendly & professional, & making sure they understand what is most important to you. That way the focus can be on celebrating the love & the joy of the day. This is how it should be! For me, I truly love being part of such a monumental day in people’s lives & being able to preserve moments & memories & emotions.