Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the planning process. Your photographers are the people responsible for documenting all of the special moments throughout the day, which means the way they view things through their lenses will have a huge impact on shaping how you remember the festivities. However, picking the right photographer isn’t always easy! There are literally hundreds of options to consider and it’s difficult to even know what to look for and which questions to ask. That’s why we’re here to help you make the best choice for your big day with our 8 Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer.
1. Figure Out Your Style
Before you start choosing a wedding photographer, you should take the time to figure out what kind of photography style best suits you and your partner. There are many different styles of photography – traditional or classic, candid or photojournalistic, illustrative, portraiture/fine art, and high fashion are the ones you’ll see most often. It may seem like there are already too many options on the table, but once you do some quick research, you’ll get a feel for which matches your vision and preferences. You’ll also be able to recognize those styles when you begin looking through photographers’ portfolios. To get started with the research, feel free to look at this guide that describes the styles we’ve listed above!
2. Searching for Photographers
Once you’ve figured out what style fits you two the best, you’re ready to delve into the wide world of wedding photographers. While you look through portfolios, bear in mind that not all photographers are created equal. Take the time to look through their webpages, social media accounts, and blogs. These should show you what types of weddings they tend to photograph most frequently and what some of their best photos look like in their final stages after editing.
Even more importantly, don’t forget to look into public reviews of the photographer to see what other people think of the work they do and the overall client experience. This can be a critical step because it eliminates the possibility of a photographer showing you cherry-picked testimonials on their site or in person. Work with your significant other to narrow down the list until you have a “short list” of photographers to whom you’re interested in reaching out.
3. Interview Your Short List
This is one of the most important parts when choosing a wedding photographer, especially the perfect one! Meetings allow you to see a broader overview of their work, better understand their pricing and packages, and meet some of the team with whom you will be collaborating. Some couples feel comfortable having these meetings by phone, while others prefer a face to face get together, but either way, it’s a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions.
Those questions should be geared toward building a better understanding of how their company works and how your visions align. There are lots of wedding sites that have recommended questions and we think that this blog has a great, built out list for you to start with! As you speak with photographers, listen closely to hear if the words and ideas they use to describe their services and approach mesh well with your own values.
4. Communication on Your Wedding Day
When you’re choosing your photographer, make sure you’re all on the same page about how you imagine them operating on your wedding day. Communication is key! Don’t be shy about your feelings and opinions because every couple (and wedding) is different.
If you’d rather have a photographer who blends in with the background and secretly snaps serendipitous shots than someone who stops you to get the right pose, make sure they know that! If you find out during the interview that they’d prefer to be more hands-on and that isn’t your style, then they probably aren’t the right pick to photograph your big day. This goes hand-in-hand with style, so make sure to always keep your preferred style and vision of wedding photography in mind at all times.
Your photographer will also want to know about important moments and details to capture on your wedding day. Feel free to share anything you think may be helpful. For example, the awesome, colorful socks all the groomsmen are wearing might be one of the favorite details of your wedding, or maybe you just want a special moment between you and your sister because she lives in another state. Look for photographers who are eager to listen to you and tailor their approach according to your desires.
5. The Timeline
Ask photographers about their process and timeline so you are aware of your next steps and when you will receive your finalized wedding photos. You will also learn how much editing they perform on your images before you receive them, if and how they allow you to select your favorite photos, and what you’ll need to do, if anything, during those stages. You should feel comfortable with all of the answers they provide.
If they say they don’t edit your photos at all as part of their standard workflow, this should be a red flag. Likewise, if your photographer talks about providing edits, dig deeper to understand what exact work they are performing. “Retouching” can be a malleable term and vary drastically from photographer to photographer. The overall feel of the finalized photos will become part of your wedding memories, so make sure that the style is a good fit for what you have in mind.
Your ideal photographer should be willing to work with you to make sure you’re getting the photos you want and in a finalized, print-ready format. Ask about whether your digital negatives are included. Find out if you retain printing rights for your images. Make sure there won’t be any surprise costs down the road to actually obtain and utilize your wedding photos!
Lastly, make sure you have a clear understanding of when you will receive your finished images. Within one month of your wedding date is exceptional if your photographer is editing your images. Be wary if your photographer isn’t willing or able to put a firm deadline on when you will receive your full set of photos and look for feedback from previous clients about this in their online reviews.
6. Picking the Right Package
When comparing photographers, you need to know exactly what you’re getting in each package they offer. A great company will be super transparent regarding their pricing packages and will most likely have them displayed on their website. Pricing packages should tell you how many hours of photography are included, how many edited photos you’ll receive, and how many photographers will be present.
Ask about including extras, like photo booths, photo albums, or canvas prints of your pictures. Keep your budget in mind and communicate that to your photographer. If a photographer is invested they will be willing to customize a perfect photography package for you and will do their best to keep you on budget! Being aware of what each photographer offers can help make your decision easier.
7. Money Matters
Always keep your budget in mind. You definitely don’t want to start out your new marriage saddled with debt! If your favorite photographer seems out of your price range, speak with them honestly to see if they can work around your budget by paring back services or tailoring an option just for you. If it doesn’t pan out, a great photographer will gladly provide recommendations for another trusted photographer who is in your budget. Of course, the best photography companies tend to be slightly more expensive because of their expertise and the amount of work they put into each wedding they photograph. If they are just a little outside your budget, consider keeping them on your list. Many couples allocate around 10% of their wedding budget toward photography.
Above nearly everything else, you should trust the photography company with whom you choose to team up. You are relying on them to capture one of the most important days of your life while you focus on the actual “getting married” part. You can’t be worrying if they are photographing the right people or moments. Instead, being able to trust in their artistic style and that they are fulfilling your wedding day photography wish list can be a huge weight off your shoulders and help you narrow down your list considerably when choosing a wedding photographer. You and your guests should feel comfortable around them so it’s not awkward on your wedding day, which will definitely come across in your photos. Showing the genuine emotion of the day can make your photos truly special!
Let’s Start Looking!
When you are ready to start choosing a wedding photographer for your big day, you should feel accomplished for checking another important item off your ever growing list. There are many photography options to sift through and decisions to be made. We hope that this has helped to make that journey a little bit easier for you and your future spouse and that you get all of the pictures you’re wish to get on your wedding day!
At From the Hip Photo, we are all about you and your special day. We don’t believe in being pushy, sales-driven, or forcing you to buy something you don’t need. We know that every wedding is unique. There are so many options when choosing a wedding photographer in Colorado, but as the state’s best-reviewed photography team, we can confidently say that nobody else provides the caliber of photos or the quality of experience that we do! We craft our approach to your specific needs to ensure you receive the personalized and creative imagery you need to tell your story. Find out more about us and view some of our favorite wedding photos for some inspiration!