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Looking for someone to capture your big day? Here’s my advice on how to find the best wedding photographer.
You just got engaged – congratulations! Now comes the fun part, where you choose the vendors who help make your dream wedding come to life.
Your photographer is the one vendor whose work will live on beyond your wedding day is your photographer’s. With most other vendors, you can usually taste, touch, or see how things will look before your big day.
But wedding photography requires a lot of trust in your photographer to know they’ll photograph your wedding day as you want to remember it. Your photographer’s work will also serve as the way for your other vendors’ hard work and further beautiful details to live on.
That being said, choosing a wedding photographer is arguably one of the most crucial vendor choices you’ll make, and I’m here to help reduce the stress of this big decision! Continue reading for my advice on how to find the best wedding photographer to make your wedding an absolute dream.
Do they share your overall wedding vision?
Before investing in a photographer, you must first decide which photography style you like best. There are many different styles (i.e., dark and moody, editorial, candid), and most photographers specialize in one – occasionally a couple.
For example, I specialize in timeless, true-to-color images that capture the genuine emotions you felt on your wedding day. I photograph candid moments as they unfold for you to remember for a lifetime.
You want to look through different galleries, noticing what you like and dislike about different styles. Once you find a particular style you’re gravitating towards, narrow your search for photographers who specialize in that style.
Once you find a wedding photographer who matches your wedding aesthetic, they can help you bring your dream wedding vision to life!
How much experience do they have? Have others worked with them?
You only experience your wedding day once, so you want to be confident in the person capturing it.
The quality of photos you’ll get back will mainly depend on how much experience your photographer has – the more weddings they’ve shot and the longer they’ve been in the industry, the more experienced they’ll likely be.
There are a few ways to gauge experience: asking other vendors, reading reviews, and looking at their past work.
Ask Other Vendors
An experienced wedding photographer should have many other vendors who have worked with them over the years. If you have a wedding planner, ask them for recommendations – they certainly can attest to a photographer’s work quality and personality!
Asking around to other vendors in the industry is a sure way to find out if your potential wedding photographer is a reliable, trusted partner for your wedding day!
Many venues also have a preferred vendor list of recommended vendors they’ve worked with in past weddings. Always research before booking, but this is still an excellent place to start if you aren’t working with a planner.
Read Their Google Reviews
Another great place for honest feedback on your potential wedding photographer is through Google Reviews. You should never hire a photographer solely based on their social media – they can post whatever they want here, but they can’t hide the truth in customer reviews.
I highly recommend reading past couples’ reviews of the photographer’s work to learn more about their experiences working with them – what did they like about their services? What didn’t they like?
You can quickly see if other couples view them as a trustworthy, reliable vendor and gauge whether it’ll be a good fit for your wedding day.
Look at Their Past Work
Still on the fence? Another way to check for experience and credibility is by looking at their website and past galleries.
Has any of their work been featured? For example, some of my features are from popular bridal websites and publications, such as The Knot, WeddingWire, and Style Me Pretty!
You should also look at their galleries and the variety of shots they choose to capture throughout the wedding day. Do you enjoy how they photographed these weddings? Does anything feel awkward or uncomfortable?
Do you jive with their personality?
You’ll spend a lot of time on one of the happiest days of your life with two main people: your new spouse and photographer. This means you need to trust and get along with this person!
You want to find a wedding photographer that can match your energy. For example, if you’re a super outgoing couple and hire a serious photographer, you’ll instantly notice a personality clash. And you don’t want unnecessary tension on your wedding day!
It takes trust in your photographer to capture such an important day for you and your spouse. Your wedding day is a vulnerable, intimate experience – you want someone who takes this seriously.
So, before booking your wedding photographer, get on a phone call or meet with them in person for a lunch or coffee date. This is a great way to connect with your photographer and get to know them beyond their portfolio to see if it’ll be a good fit.
I do this with all my clients before booking, and I’ve found great success finding couples I genuinely connect with, even beyond photographing their wedding day.
It’s so important to have that personal connection with your photographer and that you actually enjoy being around them. This makes for much better photos and an even more enjoyable wedding day.
Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer
Once you’ve researched and narrowed down your list, I recommend interviewing your favorites. Here’s a brief rundown of questions to ask a wedding photographer!
You’ll want to start by getting some of the technical questions out of the way, such as:
- How many photos will I get back?
- What is the turnaround time for receiving my full gallery?
- Do you offer a second shooter?
You’ll also want to explore that personal connection I mentioned earlier in this conversation. Ask about their photography style and why they gravitated towards this approach.
Why did they choose a career in wedding photography? What makes them different from other wedding photographers? Their response to these questions will give you a lot of insight to help you make a more informed decision.
Also, you’ll want to ask about their process for photographing weddings, from planning to executing. You’ll be working with them before, during, and after your big day, and they should be able to explain their process to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask them the tougher questions. Do they have a backup plan in case of an emergency? How do they calm wedding nerves? Do they know how to pose people who aren’t used to being in front of a camera?
Do a Test Run
If you’re still feeling a bit nervous about your choice, I highly recommend scheduling an engagement shoot with this photographer before your wedding date.
This session will serve several purposes. First, it’s a great way to get comfortable and bond with your photographer before the big day.
You can get a better feel for their photography approach, posing style, communication style, and personality. It can help ease your nerves in front of the camera during this session, so you’re at ease on your wedding day.
Second, this test run will give you beautiful pictures to use on your save-the-dates and invitations!
While it’s not fun to think worst-case, this is an excellent chance to address if you don’t pair well with your photographer. This prevents you from finding this out the hard way on your wedding day! After this session, you can explore other options and find a better match for capturing your big day.
Choosing your wedding photographer is a massive decision – you’re entrusting someone to preserve one of the best days of your life through photos.
I encourage you to take your time to find the best wedding photographer to make your wedding day the very best it can be.
Are you interested in having me capture your special day? Submit a contact form, and I’d love to set up an initial call to chat about how I can make your wedding photography dreams come true.
Associate shooting for Love & Theory