There are hundreds of blogs on how to choose your wedding photographer that list 10 questions to ask your photographer or 5 steps to finding the perfect photographer. Some of them are so overwhelming to me even though I’m already married and I am a photographer! I’m going to make this super simple for you. Here are 3 things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer:
Photography style is the way the photographer edits the photos and how they document your wedding. Most photography is natural light photography. If the photos are bright and happy, this is considered light and airy style. If the photos have deep shadows and minimal highlights, this is dark and moody style. Some photographers do primarily flash photography. It’s ideal to find a photographer that can work in any light scenario.
There is a photojournalistic approach to documenting the wedding day that is also referred to as candid photography. A traditional approach is where everyone is posed and looking directly at the camera. I personally think the perfect wedding photographer provides a variety of both approaches. You want those classic and timeless images, but it’s also fun having unique and candid photos from your wedding!
The goal is to find someone who takes photos that you love and that you’ll love for a lifetime. Photos are the one thing that immortalizes your wedding day; it’s important that you love them just as much 50 years from now. If you like natural light photography, don’t hire a photographer that only uses flash. If you like light and airy photography, don’t hire a dark and moody photographer.
So your Uncle Bob has a nice camera? Or all your friends used the same photographer for their weddings, but you don’t actually like the photographer or their photos? You’re going to be with this person for most of your wedding day. Don’t you want to hire someone that you get along with and that provides a positive experience? Even if the photos look good, you will always remember the feelings associated with those photos. I can’t tell you how many brides have told me stories about their wedding photographer being rude to them or not being professional.
As a rule of thumb, I would not ask someone to photograph your wedding if you were planning to invite them to the wedding. Obviously discuss it with them first, but they may enjoy being a guest for a change. I photographed a wedding for a friend and while it was fun, I would have enjoyed the day more if I could have danced with all my friends instead of taking pictures of them dancing. Since then, I have respectfully declined to photograph weddings for my close friends.
I would not hire someone JUST because you know them, but knowing them could be beneficial. If you have known them for a while and love their work, you may feel more comfortable in front of the camera. That being said, I have often met my brides and grooms for the first time at their engagement session or even their wedding and it doesn’t take long for them to get comfortable in front of the camera. The best advice I can give is to look at the photographer’s website and social media. Do they have a fun sense of humor? Do you feel like you would enjoy hanging out with this person? Ask to talk to them on the phone or have coffee with them.
I’m a Dave Ramsey person. (Read how we paid off $135,000 in less than 5 years here). I believe in living within your means and using a budget. I also believe that where you spend your money shows what is important to you and this definitely applies to weddings. Do you want to have a wild and crazy party? Spend most of your budget on entertainment. Do you want to have an abundance of food? Spend most of your budget on catering. Do you want to have gorgeous photos that help you relive your wedding day every time you look at them? Spend most of your budget on photography. Think about what is most important to you.
If photography is the most important part of your wedding day and you have already found someone with a style you love and you click with them, I would cut back on something else to be able to afford their photography services. A great photographer can make a simple wedding look elegant and expensive, while a terrible photographer can make a luxury wedding look like a budget wedding.
Let’s recap! Ask yourself these questions when you are looking for a photographer:
-Do I like their photography style?
-Do I like their personality?
-Is photography my top priority for the wedding?
I hope answering these questions will help you narrow down your list of wedding photographers and help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding!