You’ve carefully selected your guest list, chosen the perfect venue, hired the necessary vendors to move your day along; but who will you entrust to capture all the moments that follow? When the music ends, the cake is gone and the guests have left, all that remains are the beautiful memories that took place— and the hope that your photographer captured them all for you to keep.
In this blog, I’ll share 5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding photographer— one who matches your style and meets your expectations, so those moments that only happen once can endure a lifetime.
I’ll also shed some light on those picture-perfect weddings you see on certain photographers’ Instagram pages— sometimes promotional photos are, well, just that.
1. Evaluate Professionalism
Professionalism is key. Look for a photographer who demonstrates professionalism in their communication, appearance and overall approach to their work. They should be confident about you as a client and excited to work out the details. Pay attention to the way they respond to your questions and concerns: did they give an answer or did they deflect? A professional photographer will have a detailed contract, transparent pricing and a dedicated plan for providing you with exceptional service.
2. Consider Experience and Expertise
A photographer’s experience allows them to make quick, confident decisions when plans change (is that a raincloud?) or make the most of a tricky situation (the flower girl is staging a mid-aisle protest, Fido swallowed the rings, the sparklers are missing, etc). This isn’t their first rodeo, and they’re prepared to make sure these memories of yours are worth looking back on! Collected, composed, and armed with a bag of fail-safe tricks, photographers with a proven track record can provide peace of mind.
3. Determine Photographic Style
Every photographer has a unique style that sets them apart. Be sure the photographer you’re considering has a portfolio and/or website that expresses the style and technique you’re looking for. Take a look at how they pose their couples, what experiences they focus on, and also how they edit their photos. (Is there predominantly black and white/natural light/flash photography)?
Some photographers specialize in traditional, posed shots, while others prefer capturing more candid, spontaneous moments. A few talented photographers manage to excel in both— finding a few perfect poses and being sure to capture that look as the groom turns to see his bride for the first time. Choose a photographer whose style resonates with your and matches your vision for your wedding. Trendy filters and photo fads lighting up social feeds today may seem tacky and cliche tomorrow. Your marriage is timeless, so consider a photographer whose editing style is true-to-life for your wedding day.
4. Assess the Range of Services and Products Offered
You’ll want your photographer to be much more than just another wedding vendor on your big day. Capturing the memories you want to keep in the style you’ve always dreamed of requires planning and commitment. Your photographer should be there to help you every step of the way. They should work in tandem with your planner: making sure to understand exactly what you want and working strategically to make sure your expectations are met (and reasonable).
After your wedding day, your photographer will help you design your wedding album and other keepsakes from your gallery (from wall art to coasters, they’ll know which photos will give the best impression in the space you have). They can make sure your memories are present in a tangible way, and not just stored in a cloud or lost on a hard drive somewhere.
5. Seek Recommendations and Read Reviews
Word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews are valuable resources when choosing a photographer. Ask your friends, family, and even your other vendors for their recommendations. Check out reviews on Google and other websites and browse through social media to learn more about the photographer you’re considering. Read testimonials from previous clients and find out what it was that they loved so much about their experiences. Positive and negative feedback can give you a comprehensive idea of a photographer’s strengths and weaknesses, and help you avoid missing any red flags.
Choosing the perfect photographer
Choosing the perfect photographer means selecting the person you will trust with precious memories that only happen once— some in the blink of a tear-filled eye, others in the awed intake of breath or a chorus of cheerful applause. This decision requires careful consideration and research to ensure you find the person who not only captures stunning images, but also understands why they would be important to you in the first place. So take the time to evaluate professionalism, experience, style and the range of services and products offered to find the ideal photographer for your wedding day.
Psst… Are these real wedding photos?!
Photographers and vendors like to participate in something called “styled shoots” in order to expand their portfolio. Think of it as a jam session for creatives in the wedding industry: they can come together to collaborate with florists, venues and boutiques (to name a few) in a controlled environment (think curated decor, professional models, and ideal lighting) to capture the best photos possible while helping to promote their vendor brethren.
These are great opportunities for collaboration and portfolio building, but can be a little confusing for a prospective client with hopes of achieving the same quality photos under far less controlled circumstances. (Remember ring-eating Fido and the flower girl debacle from before)? A real, live wedding is anything but controlled. Be sure to check the captions on those photos to see if nuptials really took place that day, or ask the photographer to share a sampling from their actual wedding galleries with you.
For the record, I have yet to delve into the world of styled shoots. (I’m sure they’re great fun, though)! All the work you see here and on my website/social media are of my *amazing* clients who trusted me to capture beautiful memories for them.
I hope these 5 tips for choosing the perfect wedding photographer have helped you on your journey!