Twenty years from now, there will be one element of your wedding that could make or break the way you feel about your wedding day, and that’s your photos. You may forget how the cake tasted or what music played. You probably won’t fret about the dress your mother-in-law wore against your wishes or the embarrassing speech your high school buddy made. Small details in your mind may become blurry, but the photos from your wedding will remain vivid.
You can turn to them to relive the beautiful day, remember those fuzzy details and display them around your home to keep that day in your heart for the rest of your life.
Locking in a wedding photographer should happen early in the wedding planning process because it’s such an essential aspect of your big day. You’ll probably use the same photographer for engagement photos, and highly sought-after photographers could be booked out months in advance.
If you hire a luxury wedding planner, they’ll connect you to the best photographers in the business, but if you’re doing the hiring yourself, here’s our tried-and-true list for finding the perfect photographer for you:
1. Determine Your Desired Style
Knowing what you want before searching for a wedding photographer is vital. What is your style? You don’t need a perfectly curated Instagram grid before you begin your search; you just need to know what type of photography fits your general style.
What do you want your photos to look like? Do you like dark and moody shots? Then you shouldn’t choose someone who gravitates toward overexposure. Are you all about natural light? Awesome! Pay attention to that when you look at portfolios. If you love abundant natural light, then that is something to consider when choosing your venue. If you’re unsure what your style is, ask your married friends if you can browse their wedding photos and get recommendations based on the pictures you love.
2. Go Beyond Their Online Portfolio
The photos on a pro’s website will be their very best work. Go the extra mile and check out their social media pages. Check out full galleries of weddings and do a little digging to visit their clients’ pages. This will give you a broader idea of how they shoot at an entire event. If every picture is stunning, you’ll have greater confidence that they can deliver jaw-dropping photos of your wedding festivities from start to finish.
3. Ask Important Questions
Hiring a photographer is not something to take lightly. After you’ve determined your style and sifted through some galleries, it’s time to ask your potential photographer some questions. Here are just a few essential questions to ask:
- What is your experience level? How many weddings have you shot?
- Will you be my actual photographer at my wedding? Do you come alone or have a team?
- What do you include in your package? Is an engagement session included?
- How many hours of photography does your package include?
- Do you stick to a shot list or play it by ear?
- What is your turnaround time for finishing photos post-wedding?
4. Read the Entire Contract
We often sign things without reading them, but when we do, we take responsibility for the fine print. Most photographers will include a stipulation that they own the images of your wedding. This means they have free rein to use your photos on their blog, website, ads, publications, social media, etc. They may also state that you must credit them when posting your photos on your socials. Sometimes purchasing wedding albums or prints must be done exclusively through them.
5. Meet your Photographer in Person
An in-person meeting with your photographer will help determine whether you and your photographer have chemistry. The best photos come when there’s a natural connection, and you feel you and the photographer would be friends in real life. You should be comfortable and at ease in the presence of your photographer; it should feel like the perfect fit. Bonus points if they can effortlessly make you and your partner smile and laugh.
How to Hire Your Wedding Photographer
Once you’ve done the legwork and feel confident in your choice, it’s time to make it official. Here’s what to do:
- Set up a meeting
- Share your wedding details with them
- Ask all your remaining questions
How to Coordinate With Your Photographer After Making It Official
You’ve officially booked your wedding photographer, a weight off your shoulders. But what’s next? You will want to ask them what their preferred contact method is and keep in touch with them. Ensure there is a clear and open line of communication about your needs. Will you want them at your engagement party? The rehearsal dinner? Make sure they’re available for all the events you wish to hire them for and that their vision aligns with yours.
Whether you’re planning a colossal luxury wedding, a mid-size, or a micro wedding, your wedding photographer can capture those million-dollar shots to cherish for years to come. Make sure to do the leg work so you can be confident that your pictures will bring a smile to your face in 20 years. If you need event planning services in D.C., Dallas, or Los Angeles, contact us today.