One of the first, and most important, vendors you will book while wedding planning is your wedding photographer. As much as you think you’ll be spending the day with your future spouse, your wedding photographer is also going to by your side most of the day, and you want to make sure you’re happy with the person you’re spending your wedding day with. There are a LOT of wedding photographers- how do you narrow down who is the right one for you? Take a look at some of my top tips for finding the perfect photographer for you.
When you think about your wedding photos, what do you picture? Do you want more traditional, posed photos? Do you want more candid, in the moment photos? Or something in between? Take a look through portfolios and see what kind of style the photographer uses. Are they more fly on the wall? Or a little more directorial? If you want a little of both, there are people who fit right in between (like us!). Determining your photography style is so important when narrowing down your photographer. You will be looking at these photos for the rest of your life, and you want to look and feel your best!
Chances are, these are some of your first professional photos together. If you’re not super comfortable in front of the camera, it really helps to have a calming presence on the other side. Someone who has photographed lots of couples and knows how to calm your nerves, pose you naturally, and help you feel like your most confident self. Do you want someone who is more of a hype man? Or do you want someone more laid back? What is your personality like and what kind of personalities do you and your partner feel best around? Of course photo style is important, but if you and your photographer’s personalities clash, it can make for stiff, awkward photos.
A wedding photographer is so different than other types of photographers. There is a lot of structure and special tricks you learn on the field that you may miss going with someone who hasn’t photographed weddings. It’s an emotional day, and you want to make sure you can trust this person. Do they have a professional contract? Does it outline their delivery time? Do they talk about what will happen if they get sick on your wedding day and can’t make it? Do they have a plan for backing up photos so that they don’t get lost? How fast do they respond to your emails? All of these things matter! You want to make sure you can trust the person who is photographing your wedding day and that they are prepared for any worst case scenario. Unlike other photography types, you can’t re-do a wedding day. If they miss a moment, it’s gone. A professional wedding photographer is trained on making sure they hit all the key moments and that your photos are always safe. They are on time, stick to the schedule, and will make sure to communicate well.
Your wedding photographer should work with you, not against you. Some wedding photographers have more of a structured background in perhaps corporate or artistic photography. That can lead to great photos, but you also want to make sure they listen to your needs and desires. If you’re not into a first look, you don’t want a photographer that makes you feel guilty for not doing one. If you’re feeling hot or claustrophobic and need a minute, you want a photographer that will help you get water, not bug you for the perfect shot. A great wedding photographer is your advocate and will work alongside you to make the day perfect.
Last but not least, you should have a wedding photographer that loves what they do. It really makes all the difference day of. You can tell when someone loves what they do vs people who do the job to pay the bills. A passionate photographer will make you feel comfortable, be excited for you, and keep the energy up throughout the day. They will also be excited to be creative with their work and give 110% every time. The whole mood of the day can be affected by your vendor team- so pick people that you know are excited to be there and celebrate with you.
I know that’s a lot to think about, but I promise that keeping these tips in mind will make a huge difference in your search for your perfect wedding photographer. Take notes during photographer calls and compare and contrast your favorites! Once you’ve found the one for you, lock them in and cross that off your to do list. You’re doing great!!! Happy Wedding Planning!