Step 1: Talk to your partner about your priorities for the wedding and use that to help determine how much of your budget you want to go towards photography. As a photographer and artist, I place a high value on photography. Photographs tell your story, capture moments you cannot get back, and last long after the wedding day is over, so when I got married I allocated more of my budget towards making sure I had a photographer who would capture my day the way I had envisioned it, and cut back in other areas that were not as important to me. But if photography is not a top priority for you, then a high end wedding photographer might not be the right fit for you and that is totally fine. Find what is of value to you as a couple.
Step 2: Find inspiration. This is one of the most fun parts of wedding planning! Scroll through Pinterest, or instagram and save/pin photos that you like. After you have a small collection of photos stop and think about what it is about those photos that speak to you. Are the light, airy, and etherial? Or are they dark, moody, and romantic? Are they more candid, or editorial? Finding the style of photography you like can help narrow your initial search when googling photographers in your area and keep you from getting burnt out. For example instead of searching “wedding photographer near Boston” where you will get hundreds of hits, you can now search “light and airy wedding photographer near Boston” and are more likely to find someone in your are that specializes in the type of photography you love. It can also make it easier to sort a photographer into the yes, or no pile when you know what you are looking for.
Step 3: Creative Vision. There are a million different moments and details in this world and every photographer has a different way that they would capture those so you want to find a photographer that sees things in a way that you adore. How do they tell the story of the day? What do they choose to focus on? Do you like the way they frame things?
Step 4: Do they have a package that fits your needs? If you are eloping you will likely not need a package that offers 10 hours of coverage and 60 page album. If you are a bride who LOVES details and has a large family and have a long list of family photos, you are going to want at least 8 hours of coverage and a second photographer etc. Some good questions to ask yourself when looking at packages are things like do they include engagement sessions? How many hours of coverage do they offer? (Things always take longer than you would expect) Do they offer albums and prints? Are those things important to me? Do they limit the number of files they deliver? Would my wedding require a second photographer? Or maybe you are an A la cart sort of person. If you are not sure what you might need, reach out and consult with the photographer. We are professionals and we are here to help!
Step 5: Personality. A photographer is so much more than just someone to operate a camera. Apart from your partner, your wedding photographer is who you are going to be spending the majority of your day with, so it is really important to find someone you click with: someone who will bring out the best in you. You could have the best photographer in the world technically, but if you do not enjoy working with them, that is what you are going to remember when you look at your photos. I have first hand experience with how personality can be a deal breaker. When I was hiring a wedding photographer for my own wedding it came down to two people, one had gorgeous photos and cost less, and the other had gorgeous photos and was at the high end of our budget. We ended up going with the one who cost more and it was 100% because of personality. The photographer who cost less spent a lot of time during our consultation mocking certain wedding song (which we happened to love) and acting like she was above a lot of choices couples make, and quite frankly we did not want to feel negative and judged on our wedding day. Conversely, we LOVED the wedding photographer we end up choosing, she was positive, we trusted her, and felt she felt like someone we had known forever and we end up being friends.
Happy wedding planning and I hope you find your dream wedding photographer!
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