If you haven’t started looking at photographers already, you’ve probably heard that they are the most important vendor decision you’ll make. If that’s not intimidating enough, there are not just a few options, but hundreds!!! So how do you choose?!
Categories to Consider to Help You Decide on a Wedding Photographer
The categories are: Pricing, Perspective and editing style, client care and experience, photo backup process, professionalism and business offerings.
Yes, I know money is top of mind for you right now. So let’s touch on this first. Photography is a huge investment, but it is not something you splurge on then forget about. You want to remember your day. You want to reminisce on every moment for years and generations to come. So I challenge you to look at it as a lifelong and meaningful investment. But also stay true to yourself and what you think your wedding day is worth!
2. Perspective and editing style:
The photographer’s photos should make you feel incredible about yourself and the experience you had taking them. You should also feel like the images will retain its longevity and be forever timeless! These photos should not look like they will go out of style over the years! Sidenote, does the photographer put watermarks on their images? You definitely want to know that before you hire!!
3. Client care & experience:
Your wedding photographer should make you feel like y’all are friends. You should be able to vibe with them whether you are in front of their camera or you are chatting at a coffee shop with them. You want to enjoy being around them because they will be with you during your entire wedding day. Additionally, you want to ensure they will be able to direct you and groups of people during your wedding in a timely and natural manner. You need to know that your photographer is confident in directing groups of people for formal portraits without being too pushy.
4. Photo backup process:
Your wedding photographer needs to know what equipment to use to ensure your photos are kept safe and how to backup your images so nothing gets lost or damaged. Also, you need to make sure they have an effective backup process.
Your photographer needs to be professional, organized, and able to manage their time. Trust me you will know if your photographer is professional or not in the first few conversations you have with them! In addition, take a look at their instagram and website. Does it all look professional and well thought-out?!
6. Business offerings:
What do they include in their packages? Is everything customized to all your wants and needs? Are they able to design a keepsake album that stands the test of time? Do they offer anything epic like a photo booth to add to the party during the reception? Do they offer engagement sessions? bridals? boudoirs? You don’t want to “outsource” to other photographers for something you assumed your wedding photographer offered.
Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Ask These 9 Questions
1. Do their photos make me feel the way I want my photos to make me feel when we look back on the album on our 25th anniversary? Again, are their photos trendy or is their editing style just a fad once you hit your 5th anniversary together.
2. Do I like their black and white images as well as their colored photos? Sometimes when there is awful lighting – usually indoors – us photographers have to make the image black and white and something we just do if it follows our editing style. You want to make sure those are also timeless and something you would frame on your walls!
3. Do they have good, consistent reviews? Photographers care so much about their business and how their clients feel after they have worked together. I know for me, I constantly want to give my couples a 5 star experience. So be sure to check their reviews on their website or google. Sometimes they will have them in their highlights on Instagram too!! Also, it is never a bad idea to reach out to a previous couple for a reference! See what their experience was like and if they would personally recommend them!
4. How many backup cameras and lenses do they have? It is VERY VERY rare that a camera or lens will malfunction. But in the rare case it does, you want to ensure your wedding photographer has backup gear!!!
5. How will the photographer keep our photos safe after our wedding day? Make sure your photographer backs up your photos multiple times! I personally only use cameras that back up data to two SD cards at once. Once I get home, I backup all the images to TWO hard drives as well as to a Cloud storage system. God forbid, but if my home burns down, I will still have the images backed up to a place I can get to them!
6. Will they help with the photography timeline? Knowing how much time you need for every single part of your day is HUGE! You need to know what pictures are being captured when. You need your wedding parties and family to know where to be and when! How long does getting ready photos take? How long does family portraits take? Can we sneak out of the reception for 10 mins to capture sunset photos? All of this is answered in your photography timeline and you need someone who is experienced, organized, prioritized and smart when it comes to creating your UNIQUE timeline! (side note, i will but recording an episode specific to building wedding timelines)
7. Does the photographer have business insurance? This is HUGE!!! Some venues ask for this and if the photographer does not have business insurance, then the venue won’t even allow them on their property to photograph. In addition, if your photographer does have insurance, it shows that they have not only invested in quality gear but also in their business. These types of photographers are likely more educated on owning and running a business as well as able to provide an awesome experience and a quality product.
8. Is their contract legit? A great photographer comes with a great contract. Read the contract CAREFULLY before booking. It will usually go more in depth about their COVID process and what happens if you cancel, if they need to cancel etc.
9. Who stands out to me the most?! Who seemed more professional? Most trustworthy? Most genuine? – someone i can see myself spending HOURS with!! Who seems like we could actually be friends after all this is over? This is one of the MOST important aspects of choosing your wedding photographer. Not only do you need to love the photos they produce, but you need to love them as a human!!! You want to feel confident that you will be comfortable and relaxed in front of your photographer and that they will put you at ease during the chaotic wedding planning adventure.
The last thing I want to advise you on – is that you do not actually have to meet them in person. You can Facetime or just talk on the phone! If you felt like you needed more assurance, then definitely ask to grab coffee or a drink before you sign the dotted line!
And Remember, the photographer will make or break your wedding experience and how you look in your photos – especially how you feel about them later!
Hopefully, this helped you answer, “How do I choose a wedding photographer?”. Have questions?! I am here to help! Charlotte Wedding Photographer, Stephanie Bailey Photography
Want to know it's like to work with me?! Find out what to expect here!!!