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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Much of your wedding day happens in rooms and places other than the same one you’re standing in. That’s why choosing a wedding photography team is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. They hold in their cameras the ability and the know-how to capture all of these beautiful moments. Here are a few tips on how to pick the best wedding photographer for you:   

1. Start Early
Professional photographers typically book their calendars 1 – 2 years in advance. Once you have a date and your venue booked, start your research. Give yourself time to compile a list of photographers that match your style and budget. 

2. Know Your Style

Do you like emotive, candid, romantic photos? How about bright and airy? Look at samples of wedding photos on Instagram, Google, and blogs to gain a vision of what you want your photos to feel like. Narrow in on what you love, and then tailor your search to photographers that have a similar shooting style and editing process.

3. Meet Face-to-Face

Photography is a very personal decision. These professionals will be included in some of the most intimate moments of your wedding day (first looks, bride and groom portraits, etc.) You want to know you and your fiance can gel with the photographer’s personalities. If they don’t offer to meet, that’s your first sign they may not be the ones for you. A seasoned professional knows that consultations are crucial.

4. Quality vs. Cost

It’s true, you get what you pay for. The best deal on a wedding photography package may not always guarantee the best outcome. Photography is not an area of your wedding budget that you’ll want to hold back on. Ask about base pricing, hourly pricing, even possible discounts if you bundle services. Don’t pay for something you don’t need, and be bold. Professionals appreciate it and will respond well. 

5. What are my Options?

Does your package include a free engagement session? Prints? Print credit? Ask questions, and more importantly – don’t be afraid to ask if a package can be customized for your needs. How many hours of coverage does the package include? How many shooters? Ask any and all questions, don’t assume. 

6. Do You Include Two Photographers?

This is one of the biggest days of your life, it deserves two full-time shooters. If your photographer of choice is a single shooter, can a second shooter be added to your package? And, will you be able to meet them prior to the wedding? Sometimes a second shooter is an additional add on, so ask! How seasoned are each of the photographers, are they posing experts, and do their styles match yours? Are they a doing this as a hobby, trainee, or a career-photographer?

7. Can I See a Full Gallery?

Yep, ask to see the goods! It’s perfectly acceptable to want to see a full gallery of a wedding your photographer of choice has shot. This will help clue you in to the following: consistency of editing, number of images, overall quality of images, various angles, capturing the “big” moments, artistic eye, and posing guidance. If they are reluctant to share a full gallery, this may not be a good sign. Like any of us, photographers post and display their best work on social media. Ask to see the rest! 

8. What Type of Gear Do You Use?

What’s in their camera bag? Are they Nikon or Canon shooters? What type of lenses do they have and how many? It can feel a bit like going to the mechanic, we realize that. It can feel like learning a foreign language. Here’s a little advice! Wedding lenses that are a must: 24/70 mm, 50 mm, and a 70/200 mm. These are the “classic” wedding lenses that most seasoned professionals will have. Ask about off-camera flashes. Doing a sparkler send-off? Reception indoors? Ask if they are prepared to shoot inside. How do they plan to capture the send-off when it’s dark outside? They should and will have a game plan. 

9. Can I Get it in Writing?

Proposals and contracts protect you and the professional equally. Deposits should be required along with a signed contract to secure your date. This ensures that they cannot cancel you for a “better” wedding. Contracts also detail items such as photo delivery turnaround, cancelation policies, and payment plans. Ask to see a sample contract beforehand if you’re unsure and want the details first.

10. Can I Add-On a Venue Walk-Through?

Once you’ve secured your photography team, schedule a venue tour with your coordinator. Getting your team all on the same page helps the flow of the wedding day go smoothly. Consider things such as: lighting and background. But remember- of the two lighting is most important. Plan your wedding timeline around the sun. Ask your photographer to chime in when planning things such as ceremony time. They will be glad you asked. Natural light photographers know how the sun and shadows work, so rely on their input when crafting your timeline. 

The confidence and trust you place in your photography team will pay off in the long run. You deserve the absolute best photos on the absolute best day of your life. They will be your legacy, generations to come will view them and remember your love. Make this decision with your heart and your head.

November 23, 2022

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