How to Choose the Right One for Your Big Day
Choosing the right wedding photographer is an essential part of planning a wedding. Your wedding photos will last a lifetime, so it’s essential to find a photographer who can capture those memories in a way that truly represents your style and personality. Here are some tips on how to choose the right wedding photographer:
- Start your search early: The best photographers get booked up quickly (oftentimes 12-18 months in advance), so start your search as soon as you have your wedding date and venue booked. Your venue may provide great recommendations for a photographer, you can also search for photos of your venue on Instagram and see which photography team took the photos you love the most.
- Determine your style: Do you prefer traditional posed photos (borrrrrring) or candid, documentary-style shots? Would you also like a couple of (show-stopper) more creative images worked into your day? Great! Find what you like and communicate that to any photographer you speak with. However, be careful not to get caught up in photographic trends that come and go, as those styles will eventually go out of favor and just not age well. Look for a photographer that can create stunning portraits in many different lighting scenarios. If your ceremony will take place outdoors, a natural light photography style may work well, but if later you are moving inside for the reception, make sure you see a catalog of photos from the reception as well. You want to ensure your photographer can use off-camera flash to highlight key moments of the reception and capture the energy of the dance floor!
- Look at portfolios: Browse through photographers’ portfolios to get an idea of their style and quality of work. Pay attention to how they capture details, lighting, and emotions. Also make sure to ask for full galleries so you can get a sense of the quality and consistency over a full wedding day. It is easy to promote only a couple of the best photos from a wedding day, but you really want to know that your photographer is going to deliver solid work over the full course of the day. Here is a full wedding gallery captured by the Mackey Photo team.
- Read reviews: Read online reviews from previous clients to get an idea of their experience working with the photographer. There is something so powerful in the social proof that online reviews provide. I read reviews for all of the big purchases I intend to invest in. Photography is no different. You want to hear what other couples are saying about your photographer so you can get a sense of trust that you will also have an awesome experience. We have over 100 Five-Star reviews. Check them out HERE.
- Experience: This is your wedding day. There are no do-overs, so making sure your photographer has “been there and done that” is huge. This isn’t the time to rely on Uncle Bob with the nice camera. You need someone who can wrangle roundy groomsmen, help grandma into the family photo, handle a terribly lit getting ready suite fogged with hairspray, and someone who can take an elbow to the ribs or get a drink spilled on them on your dance floor. This is not for the timid or the weak of heart. Hire someone who has a hundred, or even hundreds of weddings under their belt. They’ve got you covered.
- Meet with potential photographers: Schedule a meeting with potential photographers to discuss your wedding vision and get a sense of their personality and communication style. This is what I refer to as the “vibe check” and it is a critical part of the booking process. You really want to get a sense of how your photographer will approach the wedding day, and how they communicate and make you feel. Your wedding photographer will be by your side on the wedding day so you really want to make sure they feel like a friend and will be fun!
- Discuss pricing and packages: Make sure you understand the photographer’s pricing and packages, what’s included, how many hours of coverage you’ll get, and how many photos you’ll receive. All photographers are not created equal and neither are the packages they offer. Really make sure you are getting great value for the money you plan to spend and you can be the next rave review on the photographers website. You will find that most full-time professional photographers in our area will range in price between $3000 – $6000 based on what they are including.
- Your printed photo album and artwork: Does your photographer include a photo album or can you purchase one after the wedding. Do they provide services for helping you create canvas, metal or framed prints for your wall? These are all things you will want to know ahead of time so you can make the appropriate choice based on what best fits your needs. Some photographers are what we refer to as shoot-and-burn photographers, meaning they will shoot the wedding and then send you only the digital photos, leaving you with the task of creating your own album. Unless you are a graphic designer, this can be a big task and may stop you from ever getting a printed album. So make sure to ask!
9. Trust your gut: Ultimately, you want to choose a photographer you feel comfortable with and who understands your vision for your wedding day. Following the steps in this guide will help you feel more confident in choosing the best photographer for one of the most important days of your lives, but always trust your gut.
You got this! Now go book the best photographer ever and have a beautiful wedding and an even better life.