When you first get engaged, it can be so overwhelming thinking of the long list of things you need to do (and the fact that you need to get them done, like… yesterday)!
At near the top of that list? Finding your wedding photographer.
But how do you even go about choosing your photographer? Where do you look? How do you know if they’re the right fit for you? What should you expect? …We know all those questions are swirling around your head, because we’ve been there too! There are so many choices out there, and it’s such a big decision to make, so how do you even go about making it?
Good news for you is we’ve got 7 professional photographers here to give you tips on how to choose the perfect wedding photographer for you! They’ll share with you their knowledge on photography styles, questions you should ask, and more! Keep scrolling to find answers to all those swirling questions and help put your mind at ease.
Settle on Your Style
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This is one of the most important aspects of choosing your wedding photographer.
There are many styles of photography (light and airy, dark and moody, photojournalistic, film, fashion, etc.) and one isn’t better than any other but it’s important to decide as a couple which best fits your personal style and your wedding.
Go through Instagram/Pinterest/blogs and look at which images you are most drawn to. Are they bright and full of light or moody with warmer tones? Do you like posed portraits or candids? After you’ve narrowed in on what you like, the most important step is deciding if you can see yourselves in those photos. It is entirely possible to love an image but it not suit your style or personalities. As a couple, are you more drawn to intimate, close-up images, ones that showcase the landscape, something less serious?
Keeping these all in mind you can begin to look at the work of your own local photographers to pick who will best capture your wedding as you envision it.
Do Your Research
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When researching potential wedding photographers, ask yourself these 2 simple questions:
1. What do we want from our photos in 30 years and
2. What do we want to do with these photos after our big day?
Answering these two questions before meeting with a potential photographer will help you on the way of determining which photographer might be the best fit for you. Do you want to see yourself in photos with an editing style that was “trendy” 30 years ago? Do you want your images to be timeless? Remember, that your wedding portraits are a long term investment.
Also think about what you want to do with your photos after the wedding. Does your photographer offer any products other than just digital files on a usb stick? Again, think long term and more about how you want to be able to view your photographs for years to come.
Meet Them in Person
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Today, it is so easy to find a photographer on the internet and book them right then and there. Although you may LOVE a photographer’s style on their website, it is so important that you meet the photographer face-to-face, whether it be in person or through a skype call meeting.
It’s at this meeting where you’ll get to see what it’s like working with them, view any products they have to offer, and ask any questions you may have. It’s also important to take note of the photographer’s personality and how they interact with you, as it will often translate to their behaviour, and photography, on your wedding day. After all, your wedding photos will be the most cherished wedding investment, so make sure you hire a photographer you absolutely love!
Ask the Right Questions
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Like I say about wedding photographs themselves, it’s about quality over quantity. You can spend your time with potential photographers going over the many suggested questions you found online, or you can hone in on the ones that mean the most to you. Here are the questions I believe will have the most value and inspire some great conversation between you and the photographer you are meeting with:
1. Which part(s) of a wedding day do you enjoy the most? (This will help you to see if you value the same things, and will give you insight into how your photographer will approach your day. I personally could go on and on about the first look, sunset portraits and heartfelt vows & speeches.)
2. What can we expect after our wedding? (The photographer should explain if they provide sneak peek galleries (a must in my opinion), editing process, delivery timelines, albums, etc.)
Remember, it is absolutely okay to get “down to business” and ask about things like insurance, years in business, backup equipment, and what would happen if your photographer could not make it to your wedding day. This is important stuff and although I love developing friendships with my clients, it is equally as important to be a responsible business person who they can count on.
Ask to See A Full Gallery
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It’s easy to make an Instagram feed look ‘pretty’ these days. It’s also very common for businesses or photographers to only share the best 2-3 best photos from a wedding day on their feed. By asking your photographer to send you a full gallery to preview, it will give you a more complete picture of the work they are capable of.
Wedding days are busy, stressful, and often the photographer is under a tight time constraint. You need to hire someone who is confident changing camera settings quickly and can shoot in a variety of lighting situations! Make sure you know the photographer you are investing in can shoot confidently indoors and outdoors, in bright sun or shade, and can deliver a full gallery you are happy with!!
Discover Your Photographer’s Approach
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Selecting a wedding photographer is no small task. It’s a once in a lifetime choice for a once in a lifetime event, and you need to make sure the person you’re hiring meshes well with you, your expectations and your style.
When you’re booking a photographer, you need to be sure that their approach to your day and your images is one you can trust. Make sure you’re aware of their process, methods, and delivery. Get to know them and how they work!
Once you’ve discovered you love their style and their personality and that contract is signed it’s time to start building trust. When you allow your photographer to approach your wedding day in the same way you discovered they would (in your first conversation with them), your experience with them will be one for the books.
Trust Your Photographer
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You need to trust your photographer and what better way to build that trust than with a genuine relationship. It’s that first phone call, email and in person meeting that really solidify if it’s a match or you need to keep looking. It’s so important to find a photographer whose work you not only love, but whose personality really jives with you both.
As a photographer, being trusted is the single best compliment and assurance that I can go about doing my job without feeling second guessed. The magic happens when I am able to be creative, when I have a couple that is game for my minor detour because the light is hitting that spot just right. Trust is the element that takes your wedding day from good to great.