Congratulations on your engagement! Booking vendors can be one of the most stressful and rewarding processes in the entire wedding planning phase. As a professional wedding photographer myself, I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite tips and questions.
1) First Google everything. Then ask your bridesmaids! Or fiancé, or mother, or sister... etc. Has this photographer worked a wedding you (or a friend) attended? Do they have a good web presence? Do they have helpful reviews on wedding wire? Do they have your date available? How many different brides have they worked for? Feel free to ask us anything! Real professionals are always happy to find answers you need.
2) Select the top 10, and then pick your favorites with your fiancé. Your special day is going to be stunning! You’ll want to find a photographer that creates the kind of art you both will want to display in your home. Vibrant color? Pastel tones? Sepia? Black & White? Candid? Highly-stylized magazine-style portraits? Photojournalistic? Fine art? Indoor-pro? Outdoor-only? Ask your photographer what their specialty is. Make sure it’s what you love as well.
3) Ask why they’re charging so much! Just kidding. Sort of! If your wedding photographer is priced too-good-to-be-true, ask how much wedding experience they actually have. Perhaps they’re a total bargain, severely talented, and are just new to weddings... (Hint: this very rarely happens.) A genuine professional will answer with: we have seriously expensive equipment, we have backup gear (always ask if we have backup gear!), we have insurance, we pay our professional assistants, every photo in your gallery will be hand selected and carefully polished for presentation, and we always seek continuing our education to make sure we offer the best services and portraits in the industry.
4) Hire an actual wedding photographer. Seems obvious... right? Be careful! I’ve heard some horror stories of brides booking their dream photographer, only to find out their Wedding Faux-tographer’s portfolio was actually built from stolen images, and they didn’t know how to shoot. Another caution, Uncle Bob might be a legendary nature photographer- but how flattering are the free pictures he took for your cousin’s senior portraits?
5) Find out how many pictures you’ll view from your wedding day... Quantity won’t make up for quality. 250 gorgeous images are always better than 2,500 pictures that are lacking. Check sample albums, and ask to see a full wedding gallery from a single event. This will give you the best impression of the types of images you can expect from your special day. Did they capture the classic moments? The emotions? The details you’ve poured your heart into?
Always meet the photographer in person to see: are they professional? Friendly? Helpful? There’s a good chance you’ll spend as much time with your photographer as you will with your fiancé on your actual wedding day. Hire the person that you feel really clicks with your personality and the vision you have for your wedding day!