So you’ve started to plan your wedding – congratulations!! You really want to find a photographer who is the right fit for you and you know how early they book up, but you’re overwhelmed by all of the options. Maybe you have a budget in mind and that helps you narrow things down, but still! Photographers vary so much, from posing to editing to booking policies, add-ons, travel fees & literally so much more. Here are my tips, straight from a photog, to hopefully get you headed in the right direction and book your dream wedding photographer.
Avoid the urge to send out 20 different inquiries to 20 different photographers within 20 minutes. Trust me, they will all start to run together once responses start coming in. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed and starting to price shop instead of carefully reviewing and setting up meetings with each one. Your dream photographer might be in there, but they have a higher chance of getting lost in the shuffle, and in your inbox. Start with 2 or 3 at most so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each one.
Speaking of setting up meetings, try to set up a little coffee date or at least a phone call with each photographer you inquire with. Many photographers love to do this anyway and will likely initiate setting something up. Scams and horror stories aside, it is so important to talk to your photographer first just to get their vibe! You will probably spend the most amount of time on your wedding day with this person, so definitely choose someone you like, trust, and have easy conversation with.
Ask the right questions. More than likely you’ve never inquired with a wedding photographer before, and most people don’t know what questions are important to ask. Here are my top 5:
Often our best work that we feature on our websites are couples photos or maybe from styled shoots that were totally constructed. You’ll want to see how they handle details, family photos, party shots… do you like how they photograph sparkler exits?
This is a good gauge of how professional a photog is and how seriously they take their business. Also, many venues require vendors to be insured and will need proof.
Some photographers are more documentary, which means they’ll be doing a lot of observing and capturing moments as they unfold. They may not pose you or control situations as much. Other photographers love to set up and pose every single image, carefully arranging you exactly where they want you and making sure every hair is in place and every shot is composed perfectly. Some love very traditional posing, others take a more artistic or unconventional approach. You’ll want to have a good idea of what approach appeals to you two the most.
Some photographers work with associates. This means someone else will be physically at your wedding taking photos, but they’ll deliver the raw images to the lead photographer for editing and delivery. This is something you’ll probably want to know before you book. Also, some photographers have a 1 wedding per weekend policy, others will pack in 3 in one weekend. You may have different feelings about that, especially if you want a photographer who is able to give you a ton of attention and personalized advice.
Memory cards corrupt. Definitely not often, but it happens! Most photographers’ worst nightmare is losing our client’s wedding photos, so we have processes in place to minimize the risk of that happening. They should be able to give you a warm fuzzy that your photos won’t get lost. Things to listen for: Do they shoot with two memory cards for backup? Do they backup to an external hard drive when they get home? How many external hard drives? Do they hold onto your raw files at least until your gallery is delivered to you?
Personalization & Add ons. This is a great way to narrow down your options. Are physical products like prints or an album important to you? Choose someone who offers print shop credit with their wedding packages or delivers really stunning fine art albums. What about film? Search for digital and film photographers. Is it a game changer for engagement photos to be included? Do you know for sure you’ll want bridal boudoir, so you want someone who specializes in that as well? As an example, maybe search for boudoir photographers in your area and look at which ones also photograph weddings.
Pinterest is your friend for narrowing down what style you want. Look at the way different photographers edit different colors, and the couples they seem to work with. Can you see yourself in these photos? You might even be able to find your photographer from Pinterest! At the very least, you’ll find some great inspiration and narrow down what style you are looking for.
Don’t discount out of town photographers or travel photographers. If you find one you really love who isn’t local, it may be well worth it to reach out to them still. Some photographers really want to travel and may even offer discounts for desirable locations. You may have to forego engagement photos with someone based far away, but travel photographers generally are really strong when it comes to photographing different environments and being creative in spaces they’ve never been to before.
When you do inquire, introduce yourselves, provide your wedding date & venue, and tell them where you’re at in your planning process and a little about your vision. A bonus is to tell them what attracted you to their work and services, this helps us feel like we know you a little better right off the bat! We love hearing about all your little details, so never feel like you’re sharing too much or being a bother.
These are my best tips for narrowing down your search and making sure you are hiring a professional you can trust, but also someone you like being around and you know will deliver you amazing photos! Drop your questions or additional advice in the comments 🙂