This post isn’t going to be biased, based on me being a photographer. This is based on what I came to realise as I myself came across while searching for a photographer for my own wedding.
To start, you need to have a good understanding about what you want in your pictures. Take some time to sit down and write out what’s important to you. So whether it be a lot of family photos, a lot of the full bridal party, or just a bunch of you and your new husband. Everyone wants something different. If you decide that you want the majority of your photos to be of you with family, you might not want to pick a photographer that doesn’t have a lot of experience or comfort in that area. So make sure when you are inquiring to photographers, that you are looking for the same thing they can offer you. But all photographers should be able to shoot anything right?! NO! Tell me to do a food ad, or something to do with sports and I can tell you flat out I would not be the best person to do it. Photographers have certain fields they focus on, yes some are more versatile in more areas, but some also have areas they specialise in. Think of it as being a teacher. If you are a math teacher, you wouldn’t be expected to go teach art class just because you are a teacher right!
Now that you have decided what you want the majority of your pictures to contain, you need to find out what you want them to look like. Google, it’s everyone’s best friend. Google and research a ton of photographers in your area (or not for that matter, just be aware there may be travel fees). Have a look at their websites, look at their blogs, and scope them out on facebook. Once you’ve looked through a half a million photographers (literally) you will pretty much be able to tell what “style” of photography you lean towards. For an example, when I was looking for a photographer, I wanted someone who provided a variety of poses with bright natural colours. I wanted the day to be photographed exactly as it was. I contacted many photographers and when comparing sites I noticed that although I liked some of the photos, it wasn’t what I wanted for my day. They may have been great photos, awesome angles and good processing for THAT shoot, doesn’t mean its perfect for your big day. I found I liked a lot of photographers that had a more grunge look, or darker feel to them., but once I thought about the big picture, that’s not what I wanted for all of my photos…one or two sure, but not everything.
So now that you have narrowed it down to a style, here’s where price comes into play. Always keep this in the back of your head, you get what you pay for! I am sure everyone wants beautiful photos of their big day, but that doesn’t always come with such a low price. Everyone has a budget and a number they need to follow. It’s a wedding, and they can get expensive. Depending on how important photos are to you is going to determine your budget. One thing you need to remember though is this. Those chair covers, or little napkins that you think you absolutely cannot live without…you can! Photos are memories frozen on paper. How can you choose a napkin that will be thrown out over photos. Prioritise and see if there is any way you can have the photographer of your dreams. Now please don’t take it too literal, I don’t want you going and cancelling all of your decorations just to pay for your photographer but just understand that the photos will be there forever!
Now that you have decided what your budget is, you can go ahead and contact those photographers on your list that fit in that budget. Once you contact them and find out they are available for you big day, meet in person. Sometimes this is hard to do if you are booking a photographer from out of town, but when able to, try to meet. A bond between you and your photographer is very important. You will spend most likely between 8-12 hours with that person on your big day, the last thing you want is to not get along with them right! Throw out ideas you have, locations, anything you want to talk about. The more the better. The more information you can give your photographer on what you want and what you are looking for, the more successful the day can be! Now with setting up a meeting with your photographer, be honest with them about where you are at in the process of booking. Just because you are meeting them, does not mean you are booking them. That is absolutely alright, but keep in mind photographers are very busy people, with limited time. If you are meeting them because you are ify on some things, or not too sure about others, tell them! They are not mind readers, they are here to help. And if you are meeting any decent photographer, they only want you to be happy, and give you what you want. No pride issues there, if you aren’t a fit for one another, it’s better to know now than later.
Congratulations on picking your photographer! Now that you have made your decision based on what they offer, what style you want, and what price you have budgeted for you are set! Here is some advice for the upcoming months. Stay in touch! Talk to your photographer, run ideas past them, keep them in the loop. I shoot about 20 weddings a year, youd think I wouldn’t want any more emails in my inbox. Total opposite, I want to know everything I can before your day so that it can be the best day possible.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know if there are any other tips you can think of to add.