Congratulations! If you’re reading this then you are most likely engaged…or about to be! One of the most important decision you’ll make when it comes to wedding planning, is who your choose as your photographer. It can seem like an intimidating task with so many good ones to choose from.
Your photographer will be the one capturing those special moments of laughter with your bridesmaids while you’re getting ready, or a teary moment of your mom, or loved ones, zipping you up into your wedding dress, and that butterfly moment of the first time you see each other as husband and wife. You want a photographer that can capture these emotional moments beautifully.
These and many more are huge moments on your wedding day. 10 years from now the only reminder you’ll have of these moments aside from your memories will be these photographs! Its an important decision. Let’s say you say yes to your dream dress! When you put it on you’ve never felt more gorgeous! You venue is incredible and everything you dreamed it would be. Your hair and make up is perfect and you’ve never felt more beautiful! After spending thousands of dollars on these things you want them to be beautifully showcased in your photos. When selecting a photographer, you want to find someone who can not only beautifully showcase these items, but someone that has the skill and vision to create images that can elevate these details even more into lasting memories through beautiful images.
So many brides have shared with me over the years that they wished they invested more in their photographer because they were so disappointed in the photos they received.
This is exactly why I’ve written this article to help you! Choosing the right photographer doesn’t have to be a daunting task! I wanted to share my best tips for helping you choose the best photographer for you!
Let’s dive in!
We’ve already discussed why your photographer is important! The rest of this article will cover the 5 basic steps for finding and choosing your wedding photographer!
After reading this article you will know how to:
-Identify what style of photography you like
-Researching & Finding A Good Photographer
-Things to ask your photographer
-How To Know If A Photographer Is The Right Fit For You
-Book Your Dream Photographer
Pricing: We won’t focus on that much here, since it’s covered largely in our “How Much Should I Spend On My Wedding Photographer Post?” Check it out!
1. Identify What Style Of Photos You Like!
This can be a hard question if you haven’t thought about it before! A photographer’s photos should make you feel the way you want them to make you feel while retaining a timeless and talented look that won’t quickly go out of style.
There are SO many editing styles out there! Light and airy, natural, vibrant, dark and moody and everything in between! Do a quick search to find the style that you are really drawn towards.
If you’re not sure where to start I suggest going to Pintrest and type in “wedding photography” and start to notice what photos stand out to you. Which photos do you find yourself drawn to? How do they make you feel? If you’re not sure what that editing style is you can click on the image and go to the photographers website. Usually a photographer will describe their editing style somewhere on their website!
PRO TIP: If a photographer is willing to change their editing style to fit your desires, they are NOT the right photographer for you. Professionals often spend YEARS perfecting their unique editing style. You want to find a photographer that already produces images in the style you love. Otherwise you risk another photographer editing in a style they are unfamiliar with and the end result is often much less than desirable!
Simply put, do you love their photos and can you imagine yourself in them? Do you love their editing style?
2. Research & Finding A Good Photographer
Some of you may be thinking…”Kari, how do I even find a photographer? There seem to be so many options!? Where do I start and how do I find a good one?” If you’ve asked these questions, then you’re not alone. I’ve listed in order below the best way to find a photographer.
REFERRALS: Ask your wedding venue what photographers they recommend (this is great because it means these photographers are already familiar with your venue!)
I don’t recommend posting on Facebook or asking your friends and family if they recommend any photographers, because there are higher chances they might recommend a friend who isn’t actually a professional photographer!
Google: This can be overwhelming with so many photographers popping up in your area. (Read the section below on how to quickly review a photographers website to know if they are a fit for you) You can search generically like “Colorado wedding photographer” or “Denver wedding photographer”. But if you know the editing style you like, make your search more specific. Like “light and airy Colorado wedding photographer”
Other places you can also search; Pintrest, Instagram, and even Facebook
Review Their Website
How can you find out if a photographer is the right fit for you? After you’ve followed steps one and two you already have an idea of what what style you like and where to find a photographer. Now it’s time to review their website.
“Do their photos make me feel the way I want my photos to make me feel on our 25th anniversary?”
This is a question for you to ask yourself. Are their photos so trendy that it’ll be yesterday’s fad by the time you hit your 2nd anniversary? Anyone remember sepia photos being stylish? Does it look like they are just adding filters to their photos to cover up lack of skill, or are you moved by their images and the moments they capture?
“Do they have lots of good photos or do only the first few on their website look good?”
Look beyond the first few photos on their website! Look for too-white wedding dresses or too-dark tuxes; the wedding dress shouldn’t be a giant white blob in every photo. Look at the skin tones, do they look natural?Look to see that their photos are consistently in focus, especially in low-light situations.
Once you get to the photographers portfolio or blog page do the images move you? Can you picture yourself in similar images? If the answer is no- move on. This may seem harsh but is the answer is “i’m not sure” then MOVE ON. Now is the time to find your dream photographer! Someones whose work speaks to you! You don’t want to settle on your photographer or be unsure about them. A professional should know how to showcase their best work that speaks to you!
3. Contact Your Dream Photographer
Once you’ve found a photographer that has you EXCITED, it’s time to contact them! They should have an easy-to-find contact form that you can fill out from their website. Include information about you and your fiance such as your wedding date, wedding venue, and a few important things you might want your photographer to know. (why you chose to contact this photographer, if you want to schedule a meeting with them)
Most photographers should reply back to you within 48 hours. (keep in mind if it’s the weekend the photographer is likely out of the office working with clients)
The photographer e-mailed you back with next steps (YAY!) like setting up a meeting or sending you information on working with them. Are you excited to be talking with this photographer? If so, it means that you made a good pick so far!
Should I contact as many photographers as possible or even multiple ones at once? I think If you’ve followed the above steps that you should have to! It should be a fairly small list of photographers whose work you admire, whose website spoke to you, that when you think of them photographing your wedding day you almost well up with tears because you know they’ll capture everything you want and more! Sure it’s okay to reach out to a few at a time is they ALL fit this description. You shouldn’t ever be sending out more than 2-3 inquiries with different photographers at a time!
4. Questions To Ask During your Meeting
You can find TONS of lists on the articles of questions to ask your photographer. Some lists have OVER 30 questions! Personally I think these lists are over kill. If you’re following the advice in the article then you should already trust that your photographer is an expert in the industry and will act professionally.
Here’s some valuable questions to ask that don’t often make the lists that will really help you decide “How to choose your wedding photographer”!
- Can you tell me about one of your favorite moments you’ve ever photographed?
This will give you insight into how this photographer connects with their client and how well they can tell their story. Do they give specific details, or is it all generic?
- What is it like to work with you on a wedding day?
Does their workflow appeal to you? Do they seem like someone you would enjoy working with?
- What’s the toughest situation you’ve faced on a wedding day?
This will show you how well they think on their feet and handle pressure.
- Do you have business insurance?
If a photographer has business insurance this means they are a professional and take their business and your safety seriously! If they answer no to this question, this is possibly a red flag
5. How to know if a photographer is the right fit for you!
Review and Book!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself after your meeting to further evaluate if this is the right photographer for you!
Did they ask me what I Wanted?
This is a BIG one! It may seem obvious, but there are some photographers out there who are just shooting for themselves (trying to just get images for their portfolio that they want.) You want to find a photographer that makes you feel confident that the most important things to you become the most important things to your photographer they day they photograph your wedding. So how can you tell what the photographers goal is without flat out asking? During your first meeting with them did they ask you questions to get to know you and your fiance? Did they ask you questions about what the most important things to you in your wedding day are? Did they ask you about your family and your relationship, the important people in your life who will be apart of your wedding that you definitely want photographed? You want to identify photographers that have YOUR best interest in mind and are most concerned with you getting photos you are in LOVE with!
Did I get along with their personality?
Looking natural in your photos is a product of having a good connection with your photographer who can make you look and feel your best in front of the camera. This might not be an immediate rapport, especially if they’re a little shy, but if a photographer really rubs you the wrong way form the get go, don’t go with them just to save a buck!
Did they make you laugh? Did they put you at ease? Were they fun to talk to? Did they communicate well? These traits will all help contribute to deciding how to choose your wedding photographer
I joke with my brides that they’ll be with me even more than the groom! Beside the wedding planner your photographer will be interacting with you and your closest friends and family all day! You want to make sure it’s someone whose personality you like and someone you like being around. Someone who is kind and respectful ….Your photographer can actually make or break the atmosphere/vibe/tone of the wedding day! It’s a big deal!
Did I read the contract?
A great photographer will have a good contract. Read the contract before booking and ask for them to explain any terms you don’t understand. If the photographer does not have a contract, even if they are a family friend, do not book them!
LASTLY “Do they have good, consistent reviews over the years, and at least some recent good reviews?”
You can tell so much about a photographer by reading reviews. Check google, the knot, or facebook. Are the couples leaving reviews saying things that really resonate with you about what you want your experience with your wedding photographer to be like?
Don’t worry if they don’t have “the most” reviews. The style you choose may not be the most popular, or the photographer you’re looking at may do higher-end weddings, but a lower volume when compared to someone else. As long as they have consistent, good reviews, this is a good sign.
**PRO TIP: Are the reviews more about the photos or the experience? It should be a given that the photos are good (if you’re working with the best professionals) If you read reviews that just talk about the photos and not the experience this could be something to consider. I’ve had brides leave me reviews right after our session before seeing ANY photos (aside from the ones they saw on the back of my camera during their session). What do they talk about? THE EXPERIENCE. It should be a given that your photographer provides you with photos you LOVE and obsess over. But what is it like to work with them? Are they fun, relaxed, give good instruction, and make their couples feel comfortable? Look for that in the reviews!
“Who really stands out to me the most?”
Ask yourself: Out of all the photographers that I’ve considered…
…who’s photos did I like the best?
…who seemed the most professional?
…who did I like on a personality level the most?
This is the MOST important aspect of choosing your wedding photographer. Make sure you LOVE the photos the photos they produce, you like their professionalism, and that you love their personality! If they don’t make you feel comfortable and relaxed you will likely still feel that unease on your wedding day. Like I said earlier, they will be with you the WHOLE DAY.
Realistically no one will meet all the standards perfectly, but it should be apparent they value excellence and they should be able to answer most of these questions.
I hope this post has helped you answer the question, “How do I choose a wedding photographer?”.
If you have any other questions for us or would like to reach out and share your experience, please feel free to contact me!