Wedding Tips

How to find (and choose) a wedding photographer

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How to find a wedding photographer: Remember, your photos last forever, and are the one thing that lasts from your wedding! There are a few important things to consider, even before you start inquiring with photographers.

How to find a wedding photographer

What photography style do you like?

What kind of photography style do you like the best? Certain filter-influenced looks may be trendy on Instagram, but will you like those photos 50 years from now? Is the style timeless? Think about what you want your forever photos to look like.

Some styles to consider are:

  • Bright and Airy: Photographer chooses lighter backgrounds when possible, brightens the images, while hopefully maintaining true-to-life skin tone and details
  • True to Color: “True to life”
  • Dark and Moody: There are various levels of this – very dark, with most colors desaturated, very warm – bringing out oranges while maintaining the darker editing style, and of course some are going to edit darker than others.
  • Film: Whether actually captured on film, or edited to look like film.
  • Fine Art: Editing is usually more on the bright and airy or true to color side, but posing will be more selective, often looks similar to the film style. 

Note: Photographers will not change their editing style. This is why it is so important to know what style you like before you start reaching out to photographers. You will not be able to hire a “dark and moody” photographer and ask them to edit your photos with the bright and airy style. 

After style, the most important thing about choosing your photographer is that you are comfortable with them! You’ll spend almost your entire day with them! And if they prioritize the client experience, you’ll likely talk to them and meet them a few times before your wedding day.

Photography can feel a little nerve racking, and intimate. It’s super important that your personalities are compatible, and that you’ll be able to let yourself relax in front of your photographer. Trust and comfort are huge!

How much do wedding photographers cost?

With that, don’t just base your choice on price, especially if feeling comfortable with your photographer is important to you.

A lower priced photographer may provide an awesome experience, but are lower priced because they are new in the industry. This is not necessarily a bad thing (I was very low priced when starting out, and still prioritized a great client experience!). Just make sure you see full wedding galleries and trust their abilities to capture your day.

On the other hand, some lower priced photographers may not provide a great experience, or be trustworthy. This could happen at any price point though, so make sure you trust your gut, talk to them before booking, and ask them proper questions! If you try to get the best discount or lowest price you can, you will generally get what you paid for.

There is no concrete answer to how much wedding photographers cost. The average price can change based on where you live. You will be able to find photographers who charge anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000+. Price will depend on the photographers’ experience, how much time and energy they put into each of their couples, costs of running their business, etc. Just be extra careful when searching on the lower end.

Ask to see a full wedding gallery

If you don’t know the photographer, or aren’t finding them through a friend, make sure you see a full wedding gallery. Websites are just highlight reels, but you want to make sure you love the full product. (Keep in mind your wedding will look different than someone else’s wedding, but the style and ability of the photographer throughout the day should be consistent!). If a photographer refuses to show you a full gallery, be skeptical. 

Going off of this, make sure you see the photographer’s reception photos. Especially if having those is important to you. Some photographers call themselves natural light photographers, and then struggle with anything that’s inside or not in “natural light.” You want to make sure your photographer can take great photos at your reception, or in any other scenario where you have to be inside. Many photographers do not include reception photos on their website, which is pretty normal, but you’ll be able to see them in a full gallery. 

Information you should get from your photographer before booking:

  • What is their pricing structure, and what does their base price actually include? Many photographers will have “starting at __” on their website, but that could be for a 3-hour package or a full day. Get complete pricing from them. The average wedding needs about 8 hours of coverage (hours are consecutive), but you may need more depending on your day.
  • See if it includes an engagement session, or how much that costs to add on.
  • What do extra hours of coverage cost?
  • What is your approach to posing? Do they tell you what to do for portraits, or do they only capture candid, “documentary” style photos?
  • Is this a photography company, or a single person or duo? Sometimes with companies, they’ll send any photographer. You might not even know who it is until they show up on your day. In most cases, this is not ideal!
  • Can I see a full wedding gallery?
  • What is your backup plan in case of emergencies?
  • How do you back up photos? Having dual memory card slots on their camera is important!
  • How do you photograph dark receptions or indoor spaces? They should generally be using some sort of flash, especially if it’s at night or an indoor space with little natural light.
  • What is the timeline for receiving photos (anywhere from 1-4 months is pretty standard)?

Trust your gut, be thorough in your search, and make sure you click with your photographer! You only get one “shot” at capturing these memories (no pun intended :))!

How to find a wedding photographer

Click here to read my full guide on where to find your wedding vendors.

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