The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
One of the most important parts of planning your wedding, is choosing the right wedding photographer. Once your big day is over, all you have left to capture those fleeting moments are the pictures or video you invested in. Take time to carefully research your options and find the wedding photographer that matches your style, your budget, and has a vision that you love.
The two biggest aspects of choosing your photographer are a combination of love of style and personal connection.
Before you can make a final decision on selecting your photographer, you need to make sure you love the way their photography style or portfolios look. They should appeal to your sense of style, sophistication, and type of photography. This is part of your pre-meeting homework.
Take time to investigate local photography studios, solo photographers, and freelancers. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and go from there. When you are looking for a portfolio to fall in love with make sure you:
- Do your research on the company or person
- Check out their gallery or online portfolio
- Visit their website and look around. Do they have a blog? Read it!
- Check out reviews or client testimonials to get a sense of where the photographer knocks it out of the park and where they may fall short.
- Check out their social media
The most important thing is to find a photographer that speaks to you.
After you have narrowed your photographers down to some favorites, it is time to get to know them on a personal level. The best way of judging whether a photographer will work for your event is to ask yourself some important questions after you have met them and received all the answers to your specific photography questions.
Take a moment to reflect on each interview and ask
- Could I be friends with this person?
- Do I feel relaxed and confident with this person around?
These are two VERY important questions a bride should ask herself when choosing her wedding photographer. Weddings are stressful. It’s a long day from start to finish. You need to hire a photographer that will help you feel at ease.
They oversee the course of the day. From small moments to large ones, your photographer is capturing the details of your big day. In order to get natural and authentic photographs, you need to feel comfortable with them being present for at least 6-8 hours, if not more.
Hiring a wedding photographer is extremely personal, so be consistent in your interviews.
Sure, if you are on an extremely tight budget, you can sacrifice expertise for your friend’s college roommate. But you’ll sacrifice documenting your perfect day, perfectly. It is important to find a seasoned professional who is punctual, reliable, and personable.
Before you meet your potential shutterbugs, send quick inquiries to each candidate!
It’s much quicker to rule out anyone who does not fit your most basic criteria. It saves you time and saves them time in scheduling a meeting if it is never going to work out from the get-go.
Send a detailed email or message to your most eligible candidates and request answers to these questions:
- Is my wedding date available?
- How long have you/your company been in business?
- How many weddings have you photographed?
- How far in advance are we required to book your services?
Take the answers from these easy questions and sift out anyone who did not meet your most basic criteria. It doesn’t matter if you loved their online gallery, if Joe cannot shoot a wedding on your date, there is no reason to push forward with a meeting.
Schedule consultations with all your candidates before making a final decision.
Did they pass the initial test? Now it is time to really get into the details of their business. By talking with multiple photographers, you will be able to get a sense of their style and mannerisms to see if you click. Make sure to ask the same questions of all your potential photographers so that you can make an informed decision.
Here are some important questions to ask during your consultations:
- How would you describe your photography style? Do you prefer one style over others?
- How would you describe your working style?
- Despite your preferred method of photography, will you offer me a selection of both candid and posed shots?
- Do you specialize in indoor, outdoor, or both?
- Will I be able to give you a list of specific shots I like?
- Do you have an updated portfolio with examples of full weddings?
In addition, you want to know the logistics of your wedding day!
You need to figure out how each of your chosen photographers works. Figure out what their expectations, limitations, and preferences are when shooting a wedding. Sometimes, their ideas of how the day should go will clash with yours. The more prepared and conversational you are about how you envision your day, the smoother it will go.
Here are some easy questions to ask to get an idea of what working with your potential photographer will be like:
- What type of equipment do you use? Do you have backup equipment?
- If there is a situation where you would not be able to shoot my wedding, do you have a plan? Will that be part of our agreement?
- Are you the only photographer shooting the wedding? Will you have an assistant or a second photographer with you?
- Are you photographing other events on the same day as my event?
- Is it okay if other people take pictures while you are taking pictures?
- How will you and your assistant dress for the occasion?
- What time will you arrive on the day of the event? Will you check out my venue ahead of time? Have you ever shot any weddings at my venue?
- Do you charge hourly or a flat rate? If my event goes longer, will you stay? Will it cost an additional fee?
- Are you insured?
It’s Time to Talk Price!
It’s no secret, anything wedding related is pricey. When it comes to budgeting your big day, you need to decide what the most important aspects are and make a higher budget for those items. Photographs are one of the only reminders you will have of your big day. Placing a decent chunk of your budget and time into choosing the right photographer will make a big difference on your wedding day.
When it comes to your budget, consider the following questions when chatting with your potential shutterbugs.
- How much is your deposit and when does it need to be paid?
- Do you offer payment plans?
- Do you charge any travel fees? How far do you travel and what are the fees associated with it?
- Do you offer packages for your photography? What is included in the packages? Are they customizable?
- Do you offer a cancellation or refund policy?
- Do you provide color retouching services?
- How many images will I receive? Do you offer prints or digital files only? Do you help in creating albums?
- What is the ordering process for prints and how much time will my guests and I have to order them?
Hiring your wedding photographer is stressful, but it does not have to be.
Use some or all these questions to help find the photographer that is right for your big day. Do your research and find out whether a private photographer or a company is right for you. Talk to your most recently married friends and find out who they used and whether they loved them or not. Envision the day you want and then find the professional that will make that vision a reality.