How to Find Your Wedding Photographer
Finding a wedding photographer is not an easy task! There are so many talented photographers out there, how do you even know where to begin your search? Well, here's your answer. This helpful list should get you started!
1. Ask your friends and family
There's nothing better than a personal referral! Talk to your friends and family members who have recently gotten married, and find out who their photographers were. Ask if they absolutely LOVED their photos, as well as about their overall experience with their photographer. You not only want to find a wedding photographer who creates beautiful pictures, but also one who is reliable, friendly, and organized. Get your friends to dish about the whole experience - from the booking process to the engagement photos to the wedding day itself.
2. Ask your other wedding vendors
If you've already started booking some of your other wedding vendors, ask them if they know any photographers that they can recommend. Venues in particular are great about giving recommendations, but don't eliminate a photographer from consideration just because they are NOT on a venue's preferred vendor list. All the wedding photographers I know love getting to shoot at new venues!
And any of your other wedding vendors can be a good resource as well. Ask your DJ which photographer takes the best dance floor pictures. Ask your hair stylist or makeup artist whose photos are the best for capturing the getting ready portion of the wedding day. Anyone who has been in the wedding industry for awhile will definitely have their favorite photographers that they've worked with!
Google is the obvious place to turn to when you're doing a search for anything! So of course it makes sense when trying to find your wedding photographer as well.
One of the most common ways to search for photographers on Google is to use your location. And while phrases like "Northern Virginia wedding photographer" and "best DC wedding photographer" may seem specific, both will actually turn up MILLIONS of results! Most people don't have the patience to click through more than 1 or 2 pages of Google results, so how do you make sure the best photographer for you turns up? You just need to make your search more specific to the type of photography you're looking for, so add in some adjectives!
candid Northern Virginia wedding photographer
fun and colorful wedding photographer in Washington, DC
Virginia wedding photographer who loves dogs
You can also do a Google image search as well. At the top of your Google results page, the default selection of "All" is highlighted, but you can change that to "Images." This a quicker method of seeing a photographers's work because you don't even need to click through to their website. And if you like what you see, then click away and head to their page!
4. Search on social media
Most wedding photographers love sharing their photos on social media platforms. It’s the perfect place to show off their best and most current work, so for potential clients this can be a gold mine! My two favorite social media platforms for conducting your wedding photographer search are definitely Instagram and Pinterest.
Instagram. Instagram is one of the best platforms for finding wedding photographers because it is so photo-centric! You can quickly browse through hundreds of pictures, and slow your scroll when you find the photos and style that stand out to you. When trying to find photographers on Instagram, try searching for hashtags that are relevant to your local area, such as
You can also try searching Places, and looking up local venues to see photos that have been location-tagged there. When you come across a photographer that you like, start following them! Keep up with their latest wedding work, and follow along with their Stories for some glances of their personal lives or behind-the-scenes on wedding days.
Pinterest. Ah Pinterest, such a helpful tool for many engaged couples as they plan for their wedding day. While we all know it's perfect for getting inspiration for things like wedding decor and hair styles, you can also use it to search for your wedding photographer! Like Google, Pinterest is basically a giant search engine. So try looking for key phrases like "DC wedding photographer" to find local photographers in your area. You can also add in additional search terms like "bright and colorful," "light and airy," or "dark and moody" to narrow the results down to photographers who fit the style you're looking for. And searching for pins of your wedding venue can be helpful as well!
5. Read wedding websites/blogs
Browsing through local wedding blogs is another excellent way to find a photographer. These blogs typically highlight the best real weddings in your city or area, so they can be an incredible source of inspiration. When wedding photos are featured, the photographer's name and a link to their website are always included as well! (Credit is actually given to ALL of the vendors involved in the day, so this can help you find other vendors too.)
Here are some of my favorite DC and Virginia weddings blogs:
There are also wedding planning platforms like Wedding Wire that can be great for browsing through photographers. One of the most helpful features on these sites is that you can read tons of reviews from the photographers' previous clients! Just remember that some vendors PAY to be listed at the top of the results on these types of sites, so feel free to click through a few pages. There are plenty of good photographers farther down the list who just don't choose to spend their advertising dollars in this way!
And while it's great to find a wedding photographer who is local to you, don't be afraid to widen your search! If you find a photographer whose work you love but they live a couple hours away, or even across the country - still reach out to them! Most photographers are willing to travel for weddings (I know I love to do it!), and even with travel fees they might still be within your budget. It doesn't hurt to ask.
Once you've put together your list of favorite photographers, how do you narrow it down to the best one for you? Check out my blog post on how to CHOOSE your wedding photographer!