How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer - 5 Things to Consider
Let’s face it, wedding planning is hard. There are so many options for all of your vendors, it can seem impossible to decide! Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to your top couple wedding photographers, here are a few things to consider before making the big decision.
1. Check out their portfolio
This may seem like an obvious one, but you really do need to review these photographers’ portfolios thoroughly! I’m talking website, Facebook, Instagram - find them everywhere. Make sure that the photos you see posted online match up to the style that you’re envisioning for your own wedding day. You’ll want to pay attention to a couple different things:
Are the pictures candid and natural? Or are they more formal and posed? Determine which type of photos you prefer (or maybe it’s a combination of both) and see if you can picture yourself in in the images you’re finding!
When you talk to photographers, be sure to ask them about their posing style, and what kind of coaching/guidance they offer their clients. Don’t worry, almost NO ONE knows what to do with their hands when they get in front of a camera, so find a photographer who can help walk you through that!
As you browse through wedding photographers' websites, you'll find tons of different editing styles. There are some photographers whose photos are more dark/moody, others who are light/airy, and still others, like myself, who edit with natural, true to life colors.
There is no right or wrong way to edit! Trends in photography are constantly changing, and different couples will gravitate towards different styles and colors. The major thing you want to look for in a portfolio is consistency – if you’ve figured out a style that you prefer, just make sure your photographer edits that way all the time!
2. Ask to see some full wedding galleries
You’ve already gotten a good preview of a photographer’s work from your research in #1, but now it’s time to go more in depth. A wedding photographer is typically delivering hundreds of photos in the final gallery, and you want to be sure you’re happy with all of them! Not just the 20 photo highlight reel on Facebook.
Photographers’ portfolios on their social media and websites highlight the best of the best, and often display photos taken in perfect lighting conditions with beautiful weather. (Mine included guys, of course I want to show off those beauties!) But you want to get a good idea of how a photographer handles a full wedding day – from the getting ready pictures in a tiny hotel room, to the ceremony in the dimly lit church, to the dance floor photos in the dark reception hall. Be sure you’re hiring someone who has experience managing it all!
And let’s be real, every picture a photographer takes is not going to be portfolio-worthy. You probably won’t be awed by every single one of the pictures in these full day wedding galleries with 600+ photos. But make sure that most of the pictures are awesome, make sure they’re in focus and properly exposed, and make sure they’re capturing important moments that you would want documented on your own wedding day.
3. Read reviews
There are tons of websites you can check to find photographers’ reviews. Facebook, Google, and WeddingWire are where you will typically find reviews from my previous wedding couples, but you can also check places like Yelp and The Knot. If you can’t seem to find ANY reviews for a photographer, or the ones you find are very outdated, that might be a red flag. A good photographer will have a consistent stream of happy clients and this should be visible in the reviews you find online.
I’ve even had some potential wedding couples ask me for references – they want to personally speak with some of my previous clients to hear about their experience with me. If you still want more details after reading online reviews, don’t be afraid to ask photographers for references!
4. Make sure they have the right personality
Your photographer is going to be with you ALL DAY LONG on your wedding day. They’re essentially an extra bridesmaid or groomsmen! You want to be sure that your photographer’s personality fits well with you guys as a couple, and with your family and friends.
You’ll get some idea of their personality via their web presence, but the best way to tell if you’ve got a good match is to meet in person. Decide on your top couple photographer options and set up a time to meet. Go grab coffee, get a drink, go for a hike… whatever you think will be the best way to get to know them! If you’re planning your wedding long-distance or just have a busy schedule that prevents you from meeting in person, Skype or a phone call can get the job done too.
5. Check their prices
We all wish money was no object, but of course you’re working with a budget! Before you fall completely in love with a photographer, I know you want to make sure their prices are realistic for the wedding you’re planning. Some photographers will list all their package details on their websites, others do a “starting at” or “average” price, and still others leave you guessing until you contact them. As long as the prices you find online are somewhat near your estimated budget, it’s worth reaching out! After talking to them you may realize you don’t need as many hours of coverage as you thought, or you only need a second photographer for a part of the day…. there are many ways to fit that dream photographer into your budget plans!
And be wary of photographers whose prices seem too good to be true. There’s usually a reason for that!
I hope these tips were helpful for you as you conduct your wedding photographer search! If you’re in the earlier stages of planning and don’t even have a list of photographers to start researching yet, check out my post on how to FIND a wedding photographer.
To learn more about my wedding photography services, fill out the contact form below! I'd love to schedule a time to chat about your wedding plans.