So you want to know how to choose a wedding photographer? I speak from personal experience when I say that choosing a good wedding photographer for your wedding is a very important decision to make during your planning process. Why? Because your wedding photographer captures the only wedding day you will ever have. I wouldn’t want you to have dark, blurry wedding pictures because you chose a photographer without doing your research or without asking them the right questions. As a matter of fact, most brides don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. But not to fear, as always, I’ve got your back!
I interviewed Danielle Daniel, owner of Forever Photography in Atlanta, Georgia, to provide insight on this topic. Our collaboration provides advice from personal experience and professional perspective. Here are a few tips to use when you start shopping for a wedding photographer in your area:
Start doing your research on wedding photographers ASAP. The earlier you start your research, the better. Waiting until the last minute could increase the chances of you not being able to secure your favorite photographer due to date availability. Putting this feat off until the last minute could also increase your chances of not having a photographer all together. Trust me. You do not want to wait until the last minute. I started searching for a photographer early in my planning process. It really paid off.
Find a wedding photography style you love. This is best to discover while you are in the previously stated research phase. During this time you can decide what specific wedding photography style you like the most. I did some research and found a great resource for you. Click here to view different wedding photography styles and pick the style that fits you best. Once you have found your favorite style, you can find a photographer that specializes in that style.
Danielle weighed in and gave some advice in this area. See what she had to say:
Honestly, a couple and photographer should have the same style in common. If you know the style you’re looking for, then that photography relationship will flow easily, whether it comes to a classic look for your images or something more modern. .
Ask your friends and family about photographers they would refer. Have you ever heard the saying that a person’s reputation precedes them? The case is the same for choosing a wedding photographer. It could be a pretty good idea to choose a photographer with a great reputation that’s referred by a friend. You never know. You could even score a great discount because that photographer is a friend of a friend.
Here is my personal experience in this area. I have a friend who had gotten married the year before me and had her pictures done by a local photographer. Come to find out, they were an amazing up and coming wedding photographer with a great reputation. The best part is that the photographer had just officially started her business. The cost of hiring her didn’t touch established wedding photographers with a 10 foot pole. Want to know how much I spent on my photographer? $900. Yep that’s all! Not $1000, not $2000, and definitely not $5000. Research, good planning, and a little asking around goes a long way.
Don’t choose a photographer just because the venue recommended them. Just because the venue recommended them doesn’t mean that they will be good as your wedding photographer or that they will be good for your budget. You should still interview them and review their work. Some venues, not all, could be paid a finder’s fee to send brides to their preferred vendors. For that very reason, you could be pressured into using a photographer that you are not 100% happy with. When you are presented with a venue’s preferred vendor list, it is still necessary to do your research and ask the right questions.
Don’t choose a photographer because they are the least expensive. Ladies, I know this is a hard one when you are on a budget. Make sure you don’t pick a photographer solely on cost alone. Remember to consider your preferred photography style as well as the photographer’s reputation before making your decision. Making a decision solely on price alone could be a bad idea. I asked Danielle to weigh in on this as well.
When asked to give the most important advice to brides choosing a photographer, Danielle says:
Do not go the cheapest route! I understand that brides are on a budget, but I honestly believe you get what you pay for. Cheap is not always better! When it comes to your wedding images you want something of long lasting, good quality. Something to show your grandchildren one day. .
You should always interview the photographer in person and ask questions! This is a very important step that many couples neglect. Interviewing a photographer not only allows you an opportunity to meet them in person, but it also allows to you see their professionalism, portfolio, and pricing. This interview session can be a surefire way to secure your wedding date early as well. This could also serve as a great opportunity to make sure your personalities mesh and that their photography style works with your vision. Danielle says that hiring a photographer that complements your personality can make your wedding day flow much easier. But wait! You need to know what to ask them. I’m sure there are many questions to ask a wedding photographer before hiring them. Danielle says you should at least ask the following questions:
How long have you been a photographer?
What photography style do you shoot?
What packages do you offer?
May I see a portfolio with past weddings you’ve done?
How do your photography sessions work?
Are you able to provide services for the entire day?
Will there be a second photographer? Danielle’s Tip: Request a second photographer if you are having a large wedding. You don’t want to miss any important moments.
How do you handle a shooting a nervous bride?
Is there a contract? and May I get a copy of it? Danielle’s Tip: You should always sign the contract and obtain a signed copy.
Will I receive a print release?
Do I have rights to use the images at my discretion?
How long is the editing process? and When will I receive my photos after the wedding?
As you can see, doing your research and asking questions will do so much good in the long run. Especially when you get to practically drool over your wedding pictures when it’s all said and done. I had a great time collaborating with Danielle. She is actually my wedding photographer!
View Danielle’s work in this amazing Make Me Married real wedding feature.
I wish you peace, love, and happy planning!