Your wedding day is getting closer every day. You find yourself daydreaming about walking down the aisle, secure in the knowledge that every detail is in place and perfect – just as you’ve envisioned it for so many years.
These are moments that happen once in your lifetime. You want them to be perfect. You deserve for them to be perfect!
But there is no way you are going to be able to soak in every moment when that special day comes. You will be in a romantic, heady haze, which is why you will be relying on your wedding photographer to capture what makes your wedding day so special.
Choosing the right wedding photographer is essential to preserving all the little and big moments that will make your wedding day precious. If selecting your wedding photographer feels overwhelming and impossible, this is why.
Read on to learn exactly how to choose the best wedding photographer for your venue, photo preferences, personality, and budget.
Personality is Key!
When you wake up on the morning of your wedding, you can expect to feel a little (or a lot) of butterflies fluttering around in your middle. You will want the only dear, trusted friends around you on this day.
What does this mean when it comes to choosing your wedding photographer? It means you want to choose a photographer whom you trust.
You want to choose a photographer you like and feel comfortable with. Most importantly, you want to choose a photographer whose presence, energy, and manner you enjoy enough to spend your entire wedding day in their company!
What does it look like to trust your wedding photographer? Here are our non-negotiable:
- First and foremost, your photographer must SHOW UP on your wedding day.
- They must arrive on time (early is even better) and all ready to go.
- They must speak and act with total professionalism at all times.
- They must have the people skills to handle strong personalities at picture time.
- They must do what they say they will when they say they will do it.
- They must remain available to you all the way up until your final portfolio is delivered to your satisfaction – and even beyond.
When you find a wedding photographer who gives every indication of being able to meet each of these requirements in full, you know you are on to something.
But you shouldn’t sign on the dotted (or virtual dotted) line just yet. There is more to consider before making your final choice.
How to know a wedding photographer is trustworthy: Past client testimonials are crucial! The contract should be clear and straightforward. The photographer should be responsive by phone and email and deliver everything when they say they will up to the big day.
Experience with your Venue Type
The next factor to research is whether the wedding photographer has expertise in the location and venue type where your rehearsal, wedding, and reception will be held.
To clarify, it is not necessary to find a wedding photographer who has shot in the exact venue(s) you have selected. But you do want to see expertise in similar settings.
Here is an example. Let’s say your wedding will be held on the beach at sunset. This can present some tough challenges in terms of lighting, wind, and weather. You want to see some examples in that photographer’s portfolio, indicating they have the knowledge and expertise to deliver amazing photos in this type of setting.
How to know a wedding photographer has the required experience: There is no substitute for visual proof. You need to study that photographer’s portfolio carefully. Are you having a rooftop wedding? A waterfront wedding? An indoor wedding with candles and intimate lighting? A daytime wedding under a tent? A winter white wedding? Look for examples that appear similar to your wedding day photography goals before hiring a wedding photographer.
Reviews + portfolio
We already mentioned the importance of client reviews and the photographer’s portfolio of past weddings and events, but this is such an essential aspect of choosing the best wedding photographer that it deserves its section.
Client reviews and testimonials
Here, you don’t want to rely only on the testimonials and reviews you see on the wedding photographer’s website.
Look for publication credits in magazines (especially wedding magazines and publications). Ask for a few phone numbers so you can talk directly with past clients and hear what they have to share. Look online at independent review sites to see if there are any concerning reviews – there may not be, but you can bet if someone were unhappy with their wedding day photos, they would want to let the world know!
Here again, don’t rely only on what you see on the photographer’s website to choose your wedding photographer. You do want to love the photos you see on the site because chances are good. Those are the “best of” photos that the photographer is proudest of.
But ask for more. As said by STAK Studios, a New York wedding photographer, “Look beyond the website and ask for a complete wedding gallery and see if you fall in love with the entire day’s photos. This is the best way to know if that photographer has the skill to deliver images you will love on your wedding day.”
Price and Packages
Wedding photos are the one thing besides your love, your rings, and your memories that will endure forever. You will be able to show your wedding day photos to your grandkids and listen to them exclaim with delight to spot you in each picture!
This is why so many couples feel more stressed about choosing the best wedding photographer than they do about almost any other part of planning their wedding.
This is why what we are about to say deserves careful consideration.
If you are investing in something that will be with you forever, it is okay to allocate a little extra in your wedding day budget. Even your flowers, your invitations, your reception favors, and that delicious wedding cake will eventually fade and no longer be with you.
But your wedding photos – these can even become part of your family heirloom to pass on to your kids and their kids and their kids.
So yes, the budget is essential, and package pricing is essential. But so is getting photos you truly love, which is why it is okay to splurge on your wedding photographer.