Unless you personally already know a professional wedding photographer, finding the perfect wedding photographer will take some time. And sometimes, even if you do know a wedding photographer, he or she might not be a good fit for your wedding. But be encouraged that the time (and money) invested in doing this right will absolutely be worth it. Your wedding day, as special as it is, will come and go quickly. You definitely want to have everlasting photographs that will help you relive the emotions, excitement and happenings of the day. You owe it to yourself and future generations to do this right.
If that didn’t convince you, here’s another reason why finding the perfect wedding photographer is important. No matter how well your wedding is planned, it will still be a stressful one. Would you rather spend the day enjoying every moment with your partner, friends and family, or a day where you constantly have to check to see if the photographer remembers to take all the photographs that you wanted? Finding the perfect wedding photographer that you like and trust is important.
Here are the steps to finding the perfect wedding photographer:
As soon as you’re engaged, start asking newlyweds and married couples that you personally know and trust if they have a wedding photographer that they would recommend. Then take your referrals online and check out their website, online portfolio, and reviews. Don’t forget to also see how they rate on popular wedding sites such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, Google search, etc. This will accomplish several things:
- Going through the photographer’s website and online portfolio will give you an idea if their style matches yours. Do the photos look adventurous and artistic, or plain and ordinary? Do they capture organic emotions or do they all look posed? When analyzing their portfolio, also look to see if they captured moments that you would want photographed on your special day. Look for thoughtful compositions, good use of lighting in the images, clarity and details, and if the people in the pictures are in focus.
- The online reviews will tell you whether if the photographer is one that you can trust with your important day. Look for reviews that give you insight into things such as – Did they perform the work as promised and deliver quality photographs? Did they offer good customer service and make the customer feel comfortable? And did they charge the agreed upon amount or charge the customer more than what they had expected?
If you don’t have any referrals to work with, then use the same websites (The Knot, Wedding Wire, Google search, etc.) to start your search. Choose several that stand out to you. Also evaluate their website, online portfolio and reviews.
Narrowing Down Your Options
Once you have a list of your top choices, take an in-depth look into their services and prices to begin eliminating candidates who aren’t a good fit. Determine which photographers are best to meet your needs and are within your photography budget. In terms of developing your photography budget, the best way to start is evaluate how important the photography aspect of your wedding is to the both of you. If it’s very important to you both to have gorgeous photos to remember the day by, then consider spending more to hire a reputable and experienced photographer.
Also consider how well the photographer will perform in different settings and environments, especially in a setting that would be relevant to the type of wedding you plan to have. This would also be a great question to ask them during your in-person meeting.
Schedule a Meeting
The next step would be to schedule an in-person meeting with the photographer, if it is possible for all of you to meet. Be sure to have a wedding date set before scheduling the meeting with the photographer, unless you are willing to schedule everything else based on the photographer’s availability. This will give you the chance to: ask questions, see if you like the photographer and if it’s someone you can work well with, talk to the photographer in detail about you and your wedding, and go over what your expectations are. Some of the things that you should ask the photographer during your meeting may include:
Ask what type of weddings (ballroom, Jewish, Indian, etc.) do they have experience with, especially about ones that would be relevant to the type you’re planning to have. Experience is key. Photographers who have been involved in many weddings usually have enough knowledge to know what pictures to take and when to take them as well as have enough experience to cope with any unexpected situations. For example, an unexpected situation would be encountering an indoor reception that has very little or dim lighting. A seasoned photographer would have the knowledge on how to deal with such occurrences and be able to produce great photographs despite the unexpected challenge.
- Compare Packages & Prices:
Ask what are the different packages that they offer, determine what parts of your wedding day will be covered, and how many hours of shooting are included in each package while comparing prices. Plus ask what additional fees that might be involved. Most wedding photographers include the engagement shoot in their packages. A package that includes both the engagement and wedding coverage is ideal since the engagement shoot will give you the chance to get comfortable working with the photographer and work out any kinks before the big day.
- Contract & Payment Terms:
During your meeting, if you believe you have found the one, go ahead and also ask about the photographer’s contract and payment terms. Know up front what their cancellation policy is, how and when they expect payment, and how long it would take to receive the final product.
Book & Sign
Once you’ve gone through your meetings, and you and your partner have decided on a photographer, quickly book them. If you both have a good feeling about a particular one, don’t waste too much time searching for other photographers to compare with. If you wait a couple of days, he/she might get booked for your date and finding a replacement will be even harder. But if you are not sure about which photographer is the perfect choice and you’re stuck between your final two candidates, just go through the online reviews again and go with what your gut tells you. Gut feelings are usually right.
When signing the contract, make sure you are clear in communicating and reiterating the details of what you want included in your package: the date/times, location(s), number of hours, engagement/bridal session, enlargement prints, albums, and etc. At the end, the contract is in place to remind both you and the photographer what services you all agreed upon.
We hope this blog was helpful to you and you’re on your way to finding your perfect wedding photographer.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.