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How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Photographer


Once your wedding day is over, your wedding photographs are what will become your most treasured wedding keepsake. They are what you'll post to your social media and send to your family and friends the moment you receive them. After your wedding day, you'll most likely be obsessively refreshing your inbox every day while asking yourself, "Are they here yet!?" This is why it's so important that you choose a photographer that is just right for YOU.


Unlike the work of your other vendors, photographs aren't something that you can go do a tasting of, visit, listen to, or try on. There's a lot of careful research you'll want to do when trying to find your photographer. We're outlining a "study guide" to help you do your homework!


Photo Credit: Ally Joe Photography


Book your venue first, and set your date.

Securing your venue first is a savvy move – photographers, like venues, can be booked up to a year in advance. Ideally, aim to hire your photographer 9 months to a year before your wedding date. Need assistance choosing your venue? Check out our guide on selecting the perfect wedding location.


Once your venue is locked in, leverage their expertise by requesting their preferred vendors list. Venues typically maintain a roster of trusted photographers familiar with the space, ready to capture the best shots. While not mandatory, having a photographer who has previously worked at your venue can be advantageous. They'll possess knowledge of optimal locations and lighting conditions. 


Alternatively, if you’ve chosen to hire a wedding planner, they will likely have a list of vetted photographers lined up for you that fit your style and budget. 



Photo Credit: Boulevard Photography


Figure out the style of photography that you like.


What kind of aesthetic speaks to you? Bright and airy? Classic and timeless? Dramatic and editorial?  Explore wedding blogs and photographer portfolios to discover your ideal style. Most photographers can adapt somewhat, but many have a signature approach. Here's a quick breakdown of popular styles:


  • Photojournalistic: Capturing candid moments that tell your story authentically.

  • Traditional: Classic posed shots with photographer guidance, resulting in beautiful compositions.

  • Contemporary: A blend of dramatic and unique shots, offering an artistic twist.


As you search, prioritize photographers whose style reflects the feeling you want for your wedding photos.


Photo Credit: Miranda Lynn


Begin Reaching out to Photographers 


To ensure your wedding photos perfectly capture the emotions and unique details of the day, start by setting a realistic budget. Research starting prices or packages from local photographers to get a sense of what aligns with your spending goals. 


For inspiration, chat with recently married friends whose photos you love, scour social media and magazines for styles you love. Finally, check photographer websites for testimonials and reviews to gauge their reputation. Once you've narrowed your search to a budget-friendly shortlist, contact your favorites to check availability and schedule consultations. During these consultations, delve into your specific needs and vision, including your timeline and if a second shooter is necessary to capture every unforgettable moment.



Request Packaging and Prices:


Photographers' fees can vary; some include comprehensive packages with albums, prints, and high-resolution images, while others have a flat or hourly rate, with additional charges for specific pictures or albums. To avoid surprises, carefully review price lists detailing various packages at different price points. Inquire about the photographer's time commitment (ideally seven to nine hours) and the availability of a second shooter, enhancing the capture of intricate details. Understanding these factors ensures clarity in selecting a photographer within your budget constraints.




It's All About the Vibe


Ensure your personalities click – it's crucial since your photographer will shadow your every move on the big day. The more comfortable you feel, the better your photos will turn out. Browse their website, read their "About Me" section, and set up a call to gauge if your personalities mesh. Share your wedding vision and see if they're genuinely excited to be part of your special day.


When reviewing a photographer's portfolio, make sure it includes recent weddings shot from start to finish, providing a more accurate representation of their work compared to a highlight reel. Additionally, inquire if they have experience at your venue and request to see relevant photos.



Book your wedding photographer: 


With your shortlist of compatible photographers, it's time to make the final decision. Reach out to your top contenders and schedule consultations. During these meetings, discuss your specific needs and vision in detail. Don't hesitate to ask questions about their experience, process, and backup plans in case of unforeseen circumstances. You’ll also want to clarify who will be shooting on your wedding day. Some larger studios have multiple photographers, while single-person operations may involve an assistant handling certain shots. Regardless, ask to see the work of the specific photographer (or photographers) assigned to capture your wedding moments.


Once you've connected with the photographer who resonates most with you and aligns perfectly with your budget and vision, book them! Most photographers require a signed contract and a deposit to secure your date on their calendar.


Remember: Choosing your wedding photographer is an exciting adventure.  Take your time, explore different styles, and find the artist who will capture your love story perfectly. These aren't just photographs; they're a visual heirloom that will forever commemorate the magic of your wedding day.


Photo Credit: Two Pair Photography


Conclusion: 


Choosing your wedding photographer is an investment in memories. These aren't just photos; they're a tangible representation of your love story, capturing the emotions, details, and magic of your wedding day. By following these steps and prioritizing your connection with the photographer, you'll ensure you find the perfect artist to translate the joy and beauty of your celebration into timeless heirlooms you'll cherish forever.

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