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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

In 5 Simple Steps

How to choose a wedding photographer

Beautiful wedding photographs are one of the most important keepsakes from your wedding day, and how you choose a wedding photographer will impact the final product. Your images are the only lasting permanent pieces from all the details planned during your wedding. Your wedding photographer will not only be who you spend the most time with on your wedding day, but also the sole vendor responsible for documenting your wedding in the fashion in which it was intended.

Choosing a wedding photographer who understands your style and vision is a crucial part of your wedding day. There are several things to keep in mind when thinking about how to pick a wedding photographer, from a personality fit to wedding budget to wedding photography style to even post Covid industry changes. No matter your wedding vision or the size of your budget, you’re sure to find a wedding photographer who can make your wedding come to life through your images.

How to choose a wedding photographer
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Steps to Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

  • Decide Your Vision & Build Your Foundation

When planning your wedding, start with a real conversation with your partner regarding must haves, and items that you want to avoid. There are many types of weddings, and many aspects you can include if you choose, but what matches who you are as a couple? Start at a 1,000 foot view of what you deem as important – the location must include our dog during our ceremony, my grandmother must to be present, the location must provide natural scenery, it is important to have honeymoon after, it is important to be able to experience the wedding vs being wrapped up in processes, etc. Also discuss pieces that you want to avoid – We don’t want to lose our heads over table placements, we don’t want a large wedding, we don’t want to go in debt over wedding planning, we don’t want to fight over this process, etc.

It is important to have a good foundation regarding your wedding vision, because the reality is, the wedding industry is a business. The wedding industry is designed to sell you a wedding. If you don’t understand what areas are important and to avoid, you will likely spend a lot of time, money, and resources, on something that wasn’t exactly what you wanted in the long run. With the average wedding cost reaching nearly $30,000 in the U.S., and the national average of wedding photographers being over $3,000, its important in today’s economy to know where to place your money responsibly. Before you decide how to choose a wedding photographer, understand your foundation.

TAKE YOUR TIME! Seriously. Your foundation should be built on your wedding vision, and not from what you see online telling you to hurry up and book, Pinterest trends, or based on what others want to voice you should do. If you start planning before you have a solid foundation of what you want as a couple, it will show throughout the rest of the process. Slow down, and take your time.

How to choose a wedding photographer
Bridal shoes with gorgeous green and gold accents
How to choose a wedding photographer
  • Understand Your Budget

Once you understand your wedding foundation, understand your budget. It is never a fun topic to go down, but a realistic one that needs to be discussed early in the planning process. Research average wedding costs in your area, the area you want to get married in, and types of weddings. Do research on how eloping costs compare to traditional weddings. Regardless of the type of wedding, budget will be a factor to consider. Evaluate your budget compared to your foundational list before choosing a wedding photographer. Many photographers list their prices on their website for their potential clients to avoid wasting a potential client’s valuable time.

How to choose a wedding photographer
How to choose a wedding photographer
  • Research Wedding Photographers

Now that you understand your wedding vision, and your budget, start researching wedding photographers that fit what you are looking for, and within your budget. We all want pretty wedding images, but there is more to consider when deciding on how to choose a wedding photographer. Evaluate if the wedding photographer has the same values you desire for your wedding. Research their website, read blogs, read reviews, check out their portfolio online, and check out their social media. Social media is a great extension to their website, background on their personality & values, and shows behind the scenes that a website doesn’t offer. Your wedding photographer will spend the most time with you during your wedding. More than your family, friends, and even your soon-to-be spouse. Each detail of your wedding is temporary, but your wedding photographer will make each detail permanent for years after. When choosing a wedding photographer, you want to make sure they are the type of person you feel comfortable around, will follow your vision while adding professional judgement, will bring your wedding to life in your images for years to come, and provides an overall positive experience from the start to the delivery of your final wedding album.

Understand if you are looking for a traditional wedding, or something different. Traditional weddings have an emphasis on entertaining guests and incorporating elements of tradition. An elopement and/or destination wedding has an emphasis on the couple, adventure, and incorporating experiences. When choosing a wedding photographer, evaluate if the photographer fits that mold and offers the services you desire within your budget.

How to choose a wedding photographer

There are many styles of wedding photography, and therefore it is important to understand what types of images you lean towards, and why. If you lean towards dark and moody images, understand a light and airy photographer will not deliver the same final product. Photographers with a candid/documentary approach, will focus more on evoking natural emotion throughout your actual wedding experience, and less of a focus on posing all day on your wedding day.

How to choose a wedding photographer
How to choose a wedding photographer
  • Have a conversation with potential wedding photographers

When deciding how to choose a wedding photographer, it is important to have a conversation with the photographer, and ask a few questions. Their website will indicate the best way to get in touch. Don’t be afraid to reach out, and have a list of questions to ask your potential photographer.

  1. Are you available on my wedding date? What if I am not exactly sure what my wedding date is yet?
  2. What is your process?
  3. What types of wedding packages do you have? Are packages customizable?
  4. How many hours are included in your packages? How many photographers are included in your packages? How many hours and photographers would you recommend based on our wedding vision?
  5. Can we order prints, albums, etc through you?
  6. Do you offer engagement sessions?
  7. How much of a deposit is needed?
  8. What is your backup plan in case you have an emergency?
  9. What is your refund and/or cancellation policy?
  10. What if I decide later I want/need more hours added to my package?

Understand the photographer will likely have some questions for you as well to help better provide accurate information, and to get to know you.

North Carolina bridal portraits
How to choose a wedding photographer
  • Book Your Wedding Photographer

You will know in your heart who fits your wedding. When you find them, book them! Don’t run the risk of missing out on a photographer who fits what you want.

How to choose a wedding photographer

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