Choosing a wedding photographer can arguably become one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. While yes, there are a LOT of great and talented photographers out there, choosing the right photographer for yourself can be a super challenging feat. Between editing styles, personality, location, budget, and overall feel, it can be hard to know where to start when choosing your wedding photographer. So I am going to take you through the entire process from when you first begin your search to right before you sign your contract.
Starting Your Wedding Photographer Search
How to Start Looking For a Wedding Photographer
When beginning your search, you will want to start looking for photographers in the area you plan to have your wedding. For example, search terms like Denver Wedding Photographers, or Colorado Wedding Photographers will help you to narrow down your photography options. If you’re more of a visual person you can look through wedding galleries from your venue or use google image search to start looking for your photographer.
When searching for your photographer you’ll want to look for someone local to your wedding venue for a number of reasons. They will know the area that you’re planning to have your wedding in, and travel costs will be lower, so things will be more affordable when finding your wedding photographer. They’ll also know other vendors in the area which can be incredibly helpful when getting into the rest of your wedding planning.
Make Sure You Like Their Editing Style
Editing style is an extension of a photographer’s work and art form. A photographer will not change their editing style to your preferences, so make sure you like the full package. When choosing your wedding photographer you will want to try to picture their photos throughout your home. Could you potentially look at their photos every day on one of your walls? Could you see yourself loving their photo style 10, 20, 30 years from now? Your wedding photos are often all you have and all you will see regularly from your day so find someone with an editing style that fits the vision you have for your photos.
Research Their Work
Do they photograph weddings similar to what you want yours to be like? Have they worked in venues that have the same feel as yours? Do they have a focus on candid photography or more posed and formal photos, and which do you prefer? Check out both their Instagram and their website to get a full feel for what their work is like and what your photos could end up feeling like. Find someone whose work really speaks to you that you feel would fit your venue, feel and the style you’re going for.
Look for Their Google Reviews
When choosing a wedding photographer, finding someone with google reviews is a MUST. Not only does this prove credibility, but also that they provide a phenomenal experience for their clients, enough so that they want to share their experience with other potential clients. This is a great way to get insight as to what it is like to work with the photographer before you even send out your inquiry. Every photographer is different as is their client experience so read through their reviews so you can start to get a picture of what working with them is like. Make note of the ones that sound like they’d be a good fit so you can inquire with them later.
Setting a Budget
As you look for photographers you’re going to want to take note of the pricing of the photographers that you love the most. If there is one thing that you should splurge on for your wedding day, it’s good photography. Good work isn’t cheap, cheap work isn’t good, and at the end of the day, photos are going to be all you have left from your wedding. Find someone who not only can tell your story but does so in a way that you love and will cherish looking back on for years to come.
Set Some Boundaries
Yes, your great uncle Jack might have a camera, but you’re going to want someone who can really document your day and add to your experience. At the end of the day, it is your decision, don’t let your parents or friends influence your decision on who or how your day is documented. Your wedding day should feel how you want it to feel and be documented in the way that you want it. If your loved ones are trying to influence your decisions, thank them for their input, but let them know that this is your day and these decisions are to be made by YOU.
Narrow Down the Options
Using the steps above in your search for a wedding photographer you should have a pretty solid list now of potential options that fit what you’re looking for. From cost and location, to feel, experience, and their product. Now that you have the list it’s time to start sending out inquiries so that you can choose your wedding photographer! Don’t send out too many inquiries at once as it can get overwhelming. Capping your inquiries out at 4 or 5 is a good rule of thumb so you can keep track of where you’re at with each photographer.
Make Sure you Get Along with Your Photographers Personality
Now that you’ve sent over some inquiries, pay attention to how each photographer communicates with you. Do you like their communication style? Are they responsive and timely? Are they laid back and relaxed or more structured and organized? Whatever the answer, make sure they fit your day and the vibe that you’re going for for your wedding. Remember this person is going to be with you for a LOT of time on your wedding day, sometimes more than your spouse. Getting along and enjoying them as well as the quality of their work is crucial to the happiness of your wedding day.
Ask for Full Galleries
Your wedding album is more than just a highlight reel for Instagram. It’s a day full of experiences and special moments that you’ll want to be able to look back on. And with weddings being a full-day event there’s going to be a lot of different lighting and contrasting moments that your photographer will have to work with. When choosing your photographer ask to see an example of a full wedding album from them. Look to make sure they document images consistently, you like their style in all types of lighting and scenarios, and they capture a variety of moments from the day in addition to the most important ones.
Ask About Their Experience
Your photographer is SO much more than someone who takes photos of you. Make sure you trust them to take care of you and to add to the experience you hope to have for your wedding day. Set up a call with your photographer to talk about your wedding day plans. Ask them questions about how they see the day going, how they fit into your plans, and what experience they would provide and add to your day. Ask them about how they interact with their clients, are they someone who documents moments as they happen, or do they guide you through the motions throughout the day? There is no wrong answer! This also goes hand in hand with making sure you get along with their personality. Again your photographer will be with you ALL day, be sure that they will add to your experience!
You’re Ready For the Next Steps
Now that you’ve had a chance to talk with some photographers and narrow down your list you should have a photographer in mind that you really vibe with and are excited about having as part of your wedding day. It’s time to start making things official. Ask for them to send over a contract so you can get the ball rolling and start your final steps on choosing your photographer.
Look Over Your Contract
When will you receive your photos? What exactly do they include in their packages? When will your payments be due? These are all things you will want to look for in your contract before you choose your wedding photographer. Make sure to read your contract carefully and if you have questions don’t be afraid to ask your photographer! They should be open and honest with you about anything in their contract. If something doesn’t line up with your expectations or it isn’t the right fit you still have your list of potential photographers to go back to.
Sign a Contract and Make a Deposit as Soon as You’re Ready
If you fell in love with your photographer, and have great taste, there will be other couples who also want to hire your photographer. In most cases, your wedding photographer won’t reserve your date unless you sign a contract and put down a deposit. So if you want your photographer, make sure to sign that contract and send over your deposit sooner rather than later. This will help you to avoid missing out on the photographer of your dreams. If you like them and everything looks good in your contract, sign it and make the deposit and get yourself an incredible photographer for your wedding!
Now that you have a photographer for your wedding it’s time to start the rest of your wedding planning process. For more wedding planning tips head over to my blog, and if you like my work and you’re still looking for a photographer you can head to my contact page here. I’d love to get in touch with you and see if we’re a good fit for one another!