5 Key Things to Look For When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

If you’re in the middle of wedding planning, you probably have a ton on your to-do list. And my guess would be “find a photographer” is probably close to the top of that list. 

And, maybe, because there are so many of us out there, it’s all starting to feel too overwhelming. 

I get it! Finding “the one” is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with no idea what the end result is supposed to look like.

Plus, we all have different styles and offer different services. How can you find someone who really gets you and your wedding vision? Because the last thing you want is to be too busy getting posed like a perfect Barbie doll that you miss out on one of the best days of your life.

First, believe me when I tell you it’s going to be just fine! I understand where you’re coming from. And I’ll do my best to help ease your anxieties, starting with this post on what you should be looking for when choosing a wedding photographer. 

01. Connection

In a shrinking world, we may only be six or fewer social connections away from each other (according to the six degrees of separation.) But that’s not the kind of connection I’m talking about – Although, pretty cool, right?

What I’m talking about is the importance of connection between you and the person on the other side of the camera. When you’re trying to narrow down wedding photographers whose work you like, ask yourself, “Do I actually like this person?” Can you see yourself grabbing a coffee with them? Is what they value the same things you value?

Because think about it – you’ll be spending a whole lot of time with your photographer before, during, and after the wedding. So, it’s important to hire someone you and your partner mesh with on a personal level.

This doesn’t mean you have to look for someone who hits BFF status (but bonus points if they do!) If the photographer is fun and easy to be around, and you and your partner feel comfortable around the person, then that’s a win.

So, how can you know if you have a connection? 

First, get to know them through their words and images. Read their about page and social media posts. And if you’re nodding your head in agreement after all that, or saying to yourself “this person totally gets me!” then reach out. Ask to get to know them in person over coffee or over the phone to make sure you’re on the same page.

02.  Price and Experience

When choosing a wedding photographer, it may seem like common sense to let price be a guiding factor. And it should. To a certain extent. 

If you’re working with a budget, by all means, keep to it! But don’t tighten the belt so much so that you deny yourself professional pics. After all, this day only happens once. 

And don’t dish out all your dinero because you think the most expensive photographer is the best choice.

To find the right wedding photographer for you and your fiance, you must take a careful look at both the price and experience. 

Many couples have shared horror stories about how they opted for the cheaper alternative only to receive lackluster service and wedding photos that their dog could have taken. While other couples empty their bank accounts with naive notions that because their photographer charges big bucks, they’ll be able to perform miracles.

The reality is, photographers are only human. So, the best thing you can do is look at their strengths and weaknesses. Things like: time management, organization skills, social skills, quick (and efficient) communication, experience, reviews, and flexibility. And, last but certainly not least, what exactly is included in their fees.

Once you have a good grasp on these factors, then you and your fiance can figure out what’s necessary. And what the deal breakers are. 

03. Services They Offer

You want to know what you’re paying for, right? So don’t be afraid to get into the details on this one. Yes, money is weird to talk about. But a negative outcome is even worse.

Ask about the rates for their standard collections and what’s included. Sometimes things like engagement photo sessions and wedding albums are included in the package, but may not be the quality you’re expecting. While other times, these services are offered at an extra cost. 

Some other questions to consider are:

●      How much coverage will there be? Based on the certain number of hours, will all of the events you want captured be possible? And what happens if the timeline runs behind?

●      How many photos will you receive? And when will you receive them?

●      Do you have the rights to print your images? Or can you only have them printed through the photographer?

●      What are the available add-ons? What if you don’t want to add on an album now, but might later if there’s extra money left over?

●      Will there be a second photographer? 

Most photographers will have packages to suit your needs. Or, if they’re like me, they’ll provide customized packages so that you can pick and choose options to create a wedding photo package perfect for you.

04. Portfolio

The best part about choosing a wedding photographer? Looking at lots of pretty pictures! 

But it’s so much more than that. A photographer’s portfolio shows you their experience, style, and how they capture one of the most epic days in a couple’s life.

Take my advice and look through the photographer’s website portfolio, their blog posts, and their social media. Look at the kinds of venues they’ve worked at. How they’ve handled both natural light and flash photography. The consistency in their work over time. And if there’s a good mix of traditional and candid photos.

Next, ask if you can see a few full albums from past weddings. Why? Because the portfolio is only a slice of the wedding cake. What you see on a photographer’s website and social media pages are highlights from various weddings. But when you look at a full wedding album, you can see more clearly how the story unfolds. You can see if their style is consistent. And whether or not the majority of photos are winners. 

If possible, ask to see weddings similar to yours. For example, if you’re planning a sunset ceremony outdoors or the same venue you’re holding your reception at.

05. Photography Style

Last, but certainly not least, a key thing to look for when choosing a wedding photographer is their style. There are a lot of buzzwords when it comes to this topic, and my guess is you’ve probably already read a bout a few:

TRADITIONAL:

Classic

Timeless

The kinds of photos you’d find in your parent’s wedding album or hanging in their house

Mostly posed

PHOTOJOURNALISTIC:

Candid

Documentary-style

Capturing the day as it unfolds / Minimal posing

Lots of movement

DRAMATIC:

Dark

Moody

Creative use of light and shadow

Editorial

FINE ART:

Film-inspired

Bright

Airy

Soft

There are many other photography styles, such as black and white, landscape, hybrid, etc. Some wedding photographers even like to mix and match to create a unique look of their own. 

And with so many styles to choose from, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. But don’t get caught up in all the labels. Instead, sit down with your partner and look through the various styles. And notice if you’re drawn to one more than the other.

If you already have a few photographers in mind, look through their photographs and notice which ones you like and why. And remember, you don’t have to pick just one style since most photographers offer a mix of techniques. Just keep in mind which artistic style speaks to you and look for a photographer who specializes in that style.

So there you have it! Some of the most important things to look for when choosing a wedding photographer. 

Keep these topics in mind, and I promise, you’ll be able to find someone who suits your needs and captures the kinds of photos you’ve always dreamed of. 

Get ready to check “find a wedding photographer” off your to-do list! And if I can help you do that, click here to inquire.

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