The sentiment of, “your wedding day flies by in the blink of an eye” couldn’t possibly be more true. At the end of your wedding night, you’ll probably find yourself wondering where the day even went as you pull bobby-pin after bobby-pin out of your hair. Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your 1 year anniversary. While many details and expenses of a wedding day add to the overall atmosphere and experience, there aren’t many tangible reminders of each part of your day. So before you really dive into wedding planning, knowing how to find the perfect wedding photographer is key to a memorable wedding day.
As a wedding photographer (and past bride), the value of photographs is unmatched. With so much importance placed in ensuring your memories are captured for a lifetime, you may find yourself wondering how to find the perfect wedding photographer for your day. I’m here to walk you through advice on finding the right photographer for you, what questions to ask your potential photographer, and more. Let’s get into it!
Advice for Choosing a Wedding Photographer
NAIL DOWN A BUDGET
Before you even choose your wedding date, I want to encourage you to establish a budget. While this isn’t the funnest task in your “wedding planning to-do’s”, it is probably the most important task.
Dream up your wedding day with your fiancé. Do you imagine flowers covering every square inch of space? Have you always imagined a buffet or a plated dinner? What venue do you have in mind?
Write down everything you imagine about your day.
From that list, establish what your “must-haves” are as an individual AND as a couple. Maybe you really place a lot of value in your florals whereas your partner places a lot of value in a videographer.
Compromise, compromise, compromise. Whether your budget allows for everything on your must-have list or just a couple things, compromise!
STICK to your budget. Remain vigilant as you allocate funds. Although you definitely “get what you pay for”, don’t spend above your means if it’s something that will financially hurt you.
Once you have your budget in place, you now know what numbers to work with when searching for wedding vendors. As you shop around, you want to keep a few things in mind:
Location – Where is the photographer located?
Editing Style – What kind of editing style are you and your partner most drawn to? Some editing style examples would be: True-to-Color, Light + Airy, Dark + Moody, Warm
Photography Style – Similarly to editing styles, photographers have a style in which they work. Some examples of photography working style would be: Editorial, Documentary, Fine Art, Traditional, Candid/Photojournalistic
Services – What services are included in a package? Is an engagement session included? Does the photographer help with any kind of planning?
Reviews speak volumes. ‘Nuff said. Go to their Google Business page, Facebook, Instagram, or even their website. If your photographer is somewhat “new”, don’t be afraid to ask for some references (they shouldn’t hesitate to provide this).
ASK (A LOT OF) QUESTIONS
I’m jumping a head just a tad here, but when it comes to finding the perfect wedding photographer, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Search through potential photographers’ FAQs, their website, or even social media. If you aren’t finding answers to questions you may have, reach out through their preferred contact method!
Questions to Ask Your Potential Wedding Photographer
Do you have our date available?
How do we secure our date?
How many weddings have you photographed?
How long have you been photographing weddings?
Will our wedding be the only wedding you’re photographing that day/weekend?
The Photography Details
How would you describe your editing style? (true-to-color, dark + moody, light + airy, warm, etc.)
How would you describe your photography working style? (candid, formal, documentary, traditional, etc.)
If your style is more candid or documentary, do you still photograph posed family and wedding party formals?
Do you edit out blemishes or retouch anything? Do you Photoshop anything?
Do you use digital, film, or both?
Are we able to give you a shot list of photos we want?
Could we see a few recent full galleries?
Will you be the one photographing our wedding? If not, are we able to meet with the on-site photographer? This is important if you love the photographer’s editing style, but the photographer has other obligations so another photographer in their place (also referred to as an associate photographer).
Is a second-shooter included in all packages or are they an additional cost?
Are you insured?
If you have a family emergency or are sick, do you have a backup plan?
How do you backup our images?
Could you walk us through the gallery delivery timeline? Do we get any sneak peeks?
How many photos will be delivered?
What do you (and your assistant, if applicable) typically wear to weddings? If you are having a black-tie event, you probably don’t want your photographer to show up in jeans.
Have you worked at my venue before? If applicable.
PRICING + PACKAGES
*Be sure to review the photographer’s website to read through the packages ahead of time.
Can you walk us through your different packages? If you are a low-key couple who doesn’t want to be paying for “extras”, some packages might not be right for you.
Are your packages customizable
How many hours of coverage are included? Are we able to add additional hours of coverage?
How much of a deposit is required? When is the remainder due?
Do you offer payment plans?
Do you have a refund or cancellation policy?
Are engagement photos included or are they extra?
Do you offer rehearsal dinner coverage?
Do we have full rights to the images?
How will we receive our final images? If online, do we have unlimited downloads?
Are we required to print through your shop or are we able to print elsewhere? Are there any discounts for printing through your shop?
Do you provide RAW images?
Do you assist with making wedding albums?
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer
Once you’ve gone through the nitty-gritty details with your potential wedding photographer, it really comes down to your gut feeling. Did you like their personality? Did you feel like you clicked pretty well? Remember: you’ll end up spending more time with your wedding photographer on your wedding day than with your spouse.
Now that you know how to find the perfect wedding photographer for your big day, you have the fun job of starting the search! Happy wedding planning, friend!!
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