It dawned on me when I was helping my sister pick out her wedding photographer that there are a lot of things to consider when you are the searching client. In the end my sister was thrilled with her choice and I think it was due to some careful considerations. While I am focusing on picking out a wedding photographer, the same principles apply across all types of photography. Hopefully you will be confident in choosing your photographer after applying these tips!
Tip 1: Image Style
Image style is, in my opinion one of the most important factors when choosing your photographer.
I would begin my search by looking at Instagram or browsing images on the web. What kind of images catch your eye, which images do you want to see more of? Are you drawn to bright colorful images? Soft muted earth-tone images? Light and airy pastels? Do you want images that tell stories and document? Or do you like more structure and posed images? A photographer is doing more than capturing your memories, they are also creating art to display in your home, so to like their artwork is a very important factor!
Tip 2: The Search
Don't limit yourself to searching just in your local area. Many photographers will travel. Just keep in mind that they may require lodging and reimbursement for mileage or airfare if the location is a certain distance from where they are. Ask your friends for any photographer references they might have. If you have a friend who was thrilled by their experience, then you will have more trust right from the start. To trust your photographer is huge! Set your search parameters online and see who pops up, join wedding sites or reach out to the venue you chose and ask them for a list of photographers who have worked there before.
Tip 3: Brows Portfolios
O.K so you asked for references. Maybe you inquired on social media, maybe you did an online search and page after page of photographers popped up. Now what?! All the choices can be so overwhelming! Oh, but wait...because of tip 1 you already know what kind of images you like! It should not take long to click on a photographer and be able to assess if their work is what you are looking for AND if their work is consistent throughout their portfolio. Make sure they have examples of images inside as well as outside, black and white as well as color. If their portfolio is not consistent, chances are you won't know what to expect for your final images. Spend some time looking at the websites and social media platforms of a few of your favorites.
Tip 4: Budget
Predetermine what your budget is for your photographer. Budgets are important. Something to think about when planning is what is important to you? Is it the experience you give your guests with venue and food choices? Is it the floral arrangements and wedding attire? Do you want images or video to look back on and share with your friends and family? Do you care more about your honeymoon than the wedding itself? If photography is a priority to you, decide how much of your budget you will put into it. Many photographers are willing to work with you by offering payment plans or discounts for early booking. Just as you are looking for your ideal photographer, photographers are also looking for their ideal clients. If you are a great match for them, they may go out of their way to work with you.
Tip 5: Initial Inquiry
When you reach out to potential wedding photographers, pay attention to how they respond to you. Do they respond in a timely manner? Do they communicate clearly? Are they personable? Find out if they offer the services you are looking for and also if they are comfortable documenting the type of ceremony you will be having. Tell them what you envision for your day, what parts of your day mean the most to you and what you are excited about. You should be able to determine if they are a good match for you.
Tip 6: Meet Up
Most photographers will love the chance to meet you and talk to you about your wedding. By the end of the meeting you should have a good idea of what the booking process is, how they will work with you on your wedding day as well as leading up to your wedding day. They can help you plan your timeline, offer expert advice on locations and times of day for each event, and even communicate with your wedding planner and other vendors to alleviate your stress. Read the contract so you are clear on what they will deliver and when so that your expectations align. While you just met, you should have a good connection. It's important to be able to be yourself, feel relaxed and have confidence in your photographer.
Tip 7: Engagement Pictures
Whether or not you want or need engagement pictures you should highly consider having them taken with the wedding photographer you choose. This does wonders for your wedding day. You get to know each other a little more, you get comfortable in front of the camera and you build trust with each other. Your wedding pictures will be that much more magical because you will be able to relax and let your true self shine through.
These are just a few basic tips I hope will help to get you started out. Some people even appoint someone to do the research and inquiries for them! In any case, have fun, don't stress and enjoy every moment of your planning journey.
Do you have other great tips? I would love to hear them! Leave a comment below or
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