Choosing any vendor for your wedding day requires a decent amount of work on your end. You should be meeting with vendors, researching reviews, looking at examples of their work, and ensuring they’re a good fit with your vision for your wedding. When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer you also need to ensure that the team that will be working with on your wedding day are people you feel comfortable with. If you feel uncomfortable or ill at ease with your photographer it will show in your photos, making this a very important decision during wedding planning.
Keep reading for our complete guide on how to choose a wedding photographer to ensure you find your perfect vendor for your wedding day.
Decide On Your Budget
Deciding on your photography budget is an important first step before looking for a potential vendor. Having a budget in mind will help eliminate vendors that are too costly, and save you the trouble of interviewing vendors you can’t afford. Your budget will also set some realistic expectations about what you can expect from a photographer and will allow them to show you which packages are within your budget.
Book Your Venue First
It’s important to book your venue before booking your wedding photographer for a number of reasons. First, booking your venue is the only way to secure your wedding date and be sure you won’t have to change the date later if your desired venue isn’t available. Second, it’s a good idea to choose a vendor that has experience photographing weddings at your venue. It’s also a great way to determine if you like their shooting style since you can see exactly how photos will look at your chosen venue.
Wedding venues will also provide you with a list of recommended vendors that have experience at their location. This is a great starting point if you don’t have any photographers in mind already.
Decide What Style You Like
Another great way to narrow down wedding photographers is deciding on a photography style you like and searching for photographers that specialize in that style. There are several options to consider and include fine art, photojournalistic, editorial, lifestyle, and dark and moody.
To understand what you do and don’t like, you should spend some time online browsing different styles and see which you are most attracted to.
Ask Friends & Family For Recommendations
Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a wedding photographer. Ask recently married friends, family, and even coworkers who their photographer was and what their experience was like. Look through their photos of their wedding as well as other photos by their photographer to see if you like their style and the quality of the photos.
If you’re working with a wedding planner, that is another great resource for recommendations, since they have so much experience working with local vendors.
Read Social Media and Other Online Reviews
One of the best ways to select a wedding photographer is to research online reviews. Browse their social media accounts to see what other couples are saying about working with them. Check websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire, as well as Yelp, and Google Reviews.
Before you hire a photographer (or any wedding vendor), it’s advisable to read the reviews to make sure their past couples had good experiences with them and would recommend them to others.
Meet With Your Favorite Phographers
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few photographers you like and you know are available for your wedding date, you should schedule time to meet with them. During this time you should be thinking about how well you feel like you get along with them, how comfortable you feel, and if you feel like they are a good match for what you’re looking for. Additionally here are some questions you should ask them during this meeting:
- How many years of experience do you have shooting weddings?
- What style do you prefer to shoot in?
- Have you photographed weddings at our venue?
- What is the turnaround time for receiving back photos?
- Can we see a few wedding galleries?
- Do we receive print rights?
- Do you backup up our photos? If yes, for how long?
Schedule An Engagement Shoot
An engagement shoot is a great way to see what it will be like to take photographs on your wedding day. This is especially important if you or your fiance are typically nervous when taking pictures, and can help calm and pre-wedding jitters, it’ll also give you more time to bond with your photographer. After the session, take some time to discuss how you felt about the shoot and if there is anything you’d like to do different on your wedding day.