I know that choosing your wedding photographer can seem daunting and overwhelming. But it really doesn’t have to be! I am breaking it down into 5 simple steps that will take you from choosing your photography style to booking the perfect photographer for you. Ready? Let’s go!
1. CHOOSE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE
If you’ve never thought about your wedding photography style, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I would be willing to bet most couples don’t realize how many different styles of wedding photography actually exist. You need to know what photography style(s) you love before you can start looking at photographers. Keep in mind these are your wedding photos and they will last your lifetime, you may want to consider something more traditional verses some the “trendier styles”!
Wedding Photography Styles
Traditional — A traditional photographer appreciates the staples of a wedding and will capture them for you with art and grace. You can expect a modern take on the posed photos in your grandparents’ wedding album. Traditional wedding photographers typically focus on capturing the details that are important to you, including family photos, décor, and other images that will tell your wedding story in detail. You will find some variations on tradition (light and airy, bold and vibrant, etc). These come more into play with the editing style.
Editorial — If you love the look of photography in magazines like Vogue, GQ, and Harper’s Bazaar, then you might like your wedding to be photographed with a similar feel. Editorial photographers usually shoot creatively and over the top. While you won’t find candid moments in this style of photography, everything about the editorial look is dramatic, edgy, and sexy.
Moody and Dark — A moody look means that your photographer edits their photos in such a way as to mimic film imagery (or they might be a hybrid shooter — shooting both film and digital). If you love bright, bold colors and want your photos to look exactly how you remember your wedding day (color-wise), then the moody style may not be for you. However, if you’re looking for an artistic, interesting perspective of your wedding day, then this style might be what you are looking for.
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH
With so many professionals’ websites and social media accounts to look at, it can be tough to know what you’re even looking for. One thing is that they have a website. If the professional is simply using Facebook for their entire business, that can be a red flag that they may lack experience or professionalism. Once you’re on that website, there are a couple of important pages you should browse. The first is their portfolio, which is going to give you a feel of what they believe their best work is. You may notice a consistency in their work, and if that is a style you like, keep them on your list! If you’re interested in seeing more of a certain style, make note of what you liked in their portfolio when you reach out and ask if they have similar work you can take a look at. Another great idea is to ask to see a full wedding gallery! This will give you great insight on what you can expect that photographer to deliver!
The second part of their site you want to peruse is their blog. One of the things you’re looking for here is that it has been recently updated, showing that they’re actively booking clients and putting out consistent work. If you’re able to see yourself in this professional’s work, it’s a good chance they’re a fit for your wedding.
3. REACH OUT TO YOUR FAVORITES
Once you’ve found 2-3 photographers who you would like to contact, it’s time to reach out and ask some questions. Keep in mind that this email is the beginning of a relationship with your future wedding photographer, and you’re making just as much of a first impression as they will with their response. Don’t send the same email to every photographer you find online. Get to know them, their work, and what you love most about their business. Then tailor each email to the photographers you’re genuinely interested in.
With this first email, you’ll want to be sure to ask the following questions:
- Is your date is available?
- What packages do they offer, current pricing, and contract information?
- Can they provide references?
You might also want to consider a phone consultation! Some questions to ask: ask about their approach to their work, what makes them love shooting weddings, approximately how many images they deliver for a wedding, and find out what you can expect from them on your wedding day and throughout your relationship. Photographers know this is a big decision, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable and well informed!
4. MEET IN PERSON!
The only way to truly get to know someone is to meet them, which is why in-person interviews are a great idea when choosing your wedding photographer! What you’re really looking for in this interview is how comfortable you feel with the person behind the business. The vibe you get from the person is just as important as the questions you ask. Would you feel comfortable having this person follow you around with a camera all day? Do you feel confident when this person tells stories about past weddings they’ve done? Does this person share a similar design aesthetic?
Bring some basic questions to the interview. Things like: what is their booking process, how they go about setting up engagement sessions, and anything else you can think of to help you make the right decision for YOU!
5. TRUST YOUR GUT
You’ve done your research, you’ve narrowed down the choices…now it’s time to trust your gut and make a decision. Which photographer made you feel the most comfortable? Which photographer can you see blending in seamlessly with you and your guests on the big day? As long as your short list includes credible professional photographers who align with your vision and fit into your budget, you can’t go wrong. Go with your gut.