Congratulations, you’re engaged and planning what will be one of the greatest days of your life! This time is so exciting but it can also be slightly overwhelming, especially when there are so many choices. One of the most important choices you will make is when choosing your photographer. There is so much that goes into this choice and it is a highly emotional one. So don’t let the amount of choices scare you. By the end of this post, choosing your photographer will feel like a piece of wedding cake.
1. What’s your aesthetic? Everyone likes something different, and thankfully there is a wide selection of styles to choose from. Some prefer the light & airy look while others prefer dark and moody – and some are somewhere in between! If you are not sure what your favorite aesthetic/style is, go to your Pinterest board of your favorite wedding photos and evaluate what you like about them and if there are similarities between the images that ultimately led you to choose them.
2. What is your posing style and level of comfortability? Some people like to be told exactly what to do, while others prefer for the photographer to capture candid moments (which may also be photographer guided for the best results – because let’s face it – in the moment we get nervous, distracted, etc. and our candid selves do not always reach our full potential.. so a little nudge is nice). Another question to ask yourself is, do you want the photographer to use flash or would you prefer natural light (if possible, of course). Do you prefer the extroverted photographer who is possibly laying in the aisle during your vows? Or do you prefer the more introverted fly on the wall type? Or maybe you don’t care one way or the other as long as they get the shot. Good news is that there is no right or wrong, just something to think about.
3. What do you need? Think about how many hours of coverage you will need on your wedding day. Coverage can range from a couple of hours to a full day. In some elopements, destination weddings, and cultures that can even mean multiple full days! Coverage to think about is engagement or bridal sessions prior to the wedding day, getting ready (bride and groom), detail shots, ceremony, reception, and send off coverage. Knowing the amount of coverage you need will help you navigate photography packages to find the perfect one for you. Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for but are absolutely in love with a certain photographer? Get in contact with them! As creatives, we love to create and would love nothing more than to create a package tailored to serve your needs!
4. The Product – It’s important to be clear on what you are looking for. Using your clear vision on what you want/need to hire your photographer will save you from disappointment in the end. Are you just interested in digital files in an online gallery or would you like professional prints and albums? Are you going to be drooling at the thought of getting your wedding photos back hoping for a sneak peek or are you okay with a 6 week wait? Do you want a photographer who is going to blog and brag all over their social media about what an incredible day you had (it was incredible, you deserve it!)? Knowing what you want will help you choose the right photographer who offers the right packages that serve your wish list.
5. Budget - I’m a budget nerd, I love them, I thrive with them… but the majority of people do not feel the same way. I like to think of a budget as permission to spend – instead of the dreaded restrictive feeling the word usually gives us. So start by giving yourself permission to spend by putting money into your photography budget. It’s important to be realistic when budgeting for photography, because generally, you get what you pay for. You’re not going to find an experienced photographer with a second shooter to photograph your 12 hour destination wedding for $100 and no travel fees… and if you do, you should probably run the other direction… fast.
6. The Experience – Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. This is so true, especially when it comes to your photographer. You want a photographer who loves what they do, genuinely cares about your day, and goes above and beyond to deliver everything they promised and maybe even a little more! You want a photographer who cheers you on, deescalates stress, and who’s energy vibes well with yours. When you find a photographer you are interested in booking with, they will likely offer to go out for coffee or set up a phone/video call. Now, some people are just ready to book through email, and that is totally fine, but If you’re okay with meeting up prior to booking, definitely take them up on it because it will help both you and them decide if you’re a good match for each other… and a good match equals a good wedding day!
To begin, write down what your dream aesthetic, experience, product, price, and coverage is. Find photographers who match the aesthetic you like (Do a google search of your area, look on Facebook, or ask you already married friends and family for recommendations!). Once you have a list of possibilities, check to see if what they offer fits what you need/want and if they have your date available. Narrow down your list until you find the perfect one to tell your love story! This can be a lot to do on your own, so grab a couple friends to help and have fun with it.
Using all of these tips, I am confident that you will find the perfect photographer for your special day!