Updated: Mar 31
Hiring a photographer for your wedding is something that should not be taken lightly. While most of the investments you make for your wedding day will be for single use items, your wedding photos will be something that you return to for years to come. They can either give you all those happy feels every time you see them or make you cringe wishing you had done more research before hiring your photographer. I am here to provide you with some info to help prevent that cringe!
As a wedding photographer myself I probably spend more time looking at wedding photographers than the average person. Noticing the different styles, personalities and workflows. Chances are if you are not a wedding photographer and you've never been married before you don't spend a lot of time looking at wedding photographers and aren't sure what all goes in to the work that we do. So I've listed out 5 important things to consider when you search for your photographer!
There are so many styles of photography and editing out there now that it’s pretty overwhelming. But it means you can find something you are in love with! You are probably already attracted to a very specific style of imagery and editing. Dare I refer to Pinterest? Okay fine I’ll do it. Head on over to Pinterest and search wedding photography. Start a collection of your favorite images stat! Once you feel you have created a large enough collection go back to that board and study what it is you like about each image. Are they posed? Candid and emotional? Is the editing bright, airy and minimal? Dark and moody? Warm and earthy? This will help you see the style of photography you prefer and you will be able to search for photographers with a similar style. If you want to check out a board I started with different style categories you can see that here. Pro tip: This exercise can also play a big role in the type of venue you choose! Are the photos outdoors? Are they adventure weddings? Urban settings? Pay attention to your favorite settings and keep that in mind when deciding where you want to have your wedding.
Find someone you vibe with! Your photographer spends a lot of time with you on your wedding day so you’ll want them to be more like a friend by your side than a vendor you hired. Finding someone who you are comfortable around means you'll end up with genuine emotion in your photos because you are able to let loose and be yourself in front of their camera! I’m going to let you in on a little secret to help you find someone you "vibe with". As a photographer that has done a lot of marketing research I can tell you one thing that everyone and their mother tells you to do with your site and social media marketing. To use your personality. So check out different photographer’s website’s, read their “About Me” section, read through their blogs and scroll through their Instagram! If you are reading through a photographer’s site and it sounds like they are talking directly to you, it’s because they probably are! I know I love working with people who become friends! That’s why I put my personality out there, I want my friends to find me! It’s so much fun working with like minded couples and makes going above and beyond for you that much easier. Once you have a few photographers narrowed down reach out to them! Start chatting via email and try to set up an in-person consultation if possible. This way you can meet face-to-face and really find out if your personalities vibe together.
Experience is a pretty big deal when hiring your photographer. You’ll want to make sure they know the drill! Not only should they be a great photographer and have the ability to capture beautiful photos but you want someone who can help you throughout the day as well, someone who can make sure you’ve got what you need every step of the way. Whenever I photograph a wedding I always pack my emergency kit. It has items like hairspray, breath mints, a sewing kit, snacks, bobby pins and straws so no one messes up their lipstick! Little things that may be needed at any point in the day! I’m also ready to fix anyone's bouquet or pin on those boutonnieres. Your photographer should double as a sidekick! Even if you have a wedding planner they will most likely be running around making sure everything is going smoothly on the day of (as wedding planners should) but your wedding photographer will be right by your side for a majority of the day. Aka your sidekick!
Here are some questions you can have in mind during your search;
Are they going to scope out the venue before the day of?
Will they be able to go with the flow if things get a little crazy or if the timeline gets pushed back?
Do they know how to capture those intimate moments without being intrusive?
Do they have backup gear? Will they backup your images?
Ask about their process! What kind of experience do they create for their clients?
Ask them to send you a full wedding gallery, this is a way to see what a wedding day captured by this particular photographer looks like from beginning to end. You'll be able to see what their gallery and delivery process looks like as well.
Lighting is a huge factor in photography and can quite literally make or break an image. So having a photographer that can work in a wide range of lighting scenarios is super important! What time of day will your wedding take place and what type of light will your venue have? Will your photographer be able to use flash properly? Talk to your partner about what images are most important to you. Are they the getting ready photos, ceremony photos, portraits or maybe the reception? Pay attention to the way photographers capture the moments that are most important to the two of you. Again, seeing a full wedding gallery is helpful because you'll be able to see those moments and images throughout the day as the light changes.
I know that budget plays a big role when hiring vendors for your wedding. But one place that I really do not think that you should be cutting costs or price shopping is your wedding photographer! Like I said before, your wedding photos will likely be the only thing that you have to come back to! You could spend $30,000 on your entire wedding and hire a photographer that makes it look like a $3,000 wedding or spend $10,000 on your entire wedding and hire a photographer that makes it look like a $30,000 wedding. You should hire someone who’s work you are absolutely in love with! Your wedding will only happen once and you want photos that you'll proudly display in your home and get all those happy feels when you look at them. TRUST ME. Price shopping your photographer is the most common way couples end up with those cringe worthy photos.
Whew! I hope that you are feeling pretty good about your photography search now! It can be a really fun process, get some of your favorite snacks, pour some wine and go through all of these steps with your fiance! Looking at all of these wedding photos and daydreaming about your own wedding will be so much fun, you may even see some ideas for other aspects of your wedding in the process.