You have a ring and you’ve found the perfect venue. A gorgeous dress is waiting at the tailors to be picked up and you finally have set a date! The only thing left to do is to find a wedding photographer.
Dun dun dun.
Finding a wedding photographer can seem like a daunting task. But never fear! We’re here to help. Here are a few excellent tips on how to find the perfect wedding photographer after the jump.
Start Looking Early
The best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance. Start searching for a photographer as soon as you have a date set – unless you’re having an out-of-season wedding. If your wedding is on a Sunday or in the winter, you might be in luck because photographers will have more availability.
Determine What Style of Photography You Want
Each photographer has his or her own photographic style. If you aren’t sure what style of photography would fit your wedding vision, we recommend visiting some great wedding blogs.
Take a Long, Hard Look at Your Budget
Have a budget range in mind – and stick with it. Don’t fall in love with a photographer before you know their price. It’s good to know in advance what type of package you are looking for as well. Are you looking for prints, a CD or albums? If you can’t find a package that fits your needs, ask the photographer if you can make a custom arrangement.
Be prepared to experience sticker shock. Great wedding photography can be expensive. But remember – you’re paying not only for the photographer’s experience and skill, but also for the time spent taking AND editing photos. Sometimes with photography you get what you pay for. Be wary of photographers offering their services for an unusually low price.
But don’t despair! There are ways to get great photography that won’t break the bank…
Look Over Each Photographer’s Portfolio Carefully
Take a look through the websites of potential photographers and view their work with a critical eye. Be sure to check out their social media channels (Facebook, Blog, Instagram) as well because sometimes they will have more recent work that you can search by relevant hashtags at wedding tag maker. When you narrow down your choices and are starting the interview process, ask to see a full wedding album to gain a well-rounded idea of their work from start to finish.
Call Up Local Universities and Art Schools
Not everyone has 25k lying around to spend on a photographer (and if you do – can we be invited to your wedding?) so we’re letting you in on a secret – there are plenty of amazing student photographers that need to gain experience. Since student photographers are likely to be less expensive, it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Pro tip: We suggest trying to find a student photographer that has shadowed a few wedding photographers before. You don’t want a completely inexperienced photographer!
Interview Potential Photographers
But before meeting with a potential photographer, check and see if they’re available for your wedding date – there’s no point in meeting them if they won’t be able to attend!
Meeting with a photographer before your wedding is important because you need to feel comfortable with this person. Chances are, you might end up spending more time with him or her on your wedding day than with the person you’re marrying!
Use this time to ask your photographer lots of questions. Have him or her explain how they work. Are they more of a bystander silently documenting the day as it progresses or do they command the day and organize you and your family into the perfect position?
Let them talk about their photography style. Ask what gear and processing equipment they use. Will they be bringing a second photographer? If our photographer doesn’t have a great game plan or equipment knowledge, then that’s a huge red flag that indicates inexperience. Utilize this time to ensure both parties are on the same page in order to prevent awkward moments during your special day.
Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations from People You Trust
Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Do you have a coworker who posted amazing wedding photos on Facebook? Ask them for the name of their photographer!
Additionally, other wedding professionals probably have worked with photographers in the past. Ask your caterers, venue manager, florist, etc. for recommendations. Don’t forget to employ the internet to find reviews. And don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for references – a reputable photographer will gladly connect you with contacts.
Take Your Time
You only have one opportunity to capture wedding photos. You won’t get an opportunity for a do-over! Take the time to find a photographer that understands your wedding vision.
Embrace the unexpected! Sometimes the best photos aren’t planned. Trust your photographer to take photos. And relax on your big day!