There is so much that goes into planning your wedding. I believe one of the most important parts of the wedding planning process is hiring a wedding photographer. After all, your images are what you will remember your day by. They are what you will show your kids one day. They will allow you to relive your wedding day every time you look through them. This is why I’m so passionate about wedding photography. My job is to document your memories so they can live on for a lifetime.
When choosing someone to document your wedding, you want to look for a few specific things.
1. Select someone that has a similar style to the aesthetic of your wedding. There are many different styles of photography. There isn’t a right or wrong style. It just depends on what you are looking for.
Different photography styles to look for when hiring a wedding photographer:
- Bright and airy
- Dark and moody
- True to life
- Bright and colorful
I do NOT recommend choosing a photographer that has a different style than what you are going for, and requesting for them to deliver in a different way. If you are looking for a “particular look”, hire a photographer whose page has more followers and more likes than already has that look. You will not be disappointed when you hop over to this website. But you will be disappointed in the outcome if you are expecting them to deliver something that is different than what they showcase on social media / their website.
Here are some images from some of my photographer friends. Take a look at all of the different styles. They are beautiful, but certainly all have a different look and feel to them. What style are you mostly drawn to?
2. Choose someone that has a personality that you can connect with. Your photographer will probably spend more time with you than anyone else on your wedding day. If your photographer is someone that you don’t enjoy being around, it is going to make for an awkward experience. Awkward is not what you want on your wedding day. Find someone that you can relax with, be comfortable with, and just enjoy their presence.
There are SO many different personality types, and everyone connects with people differently. This is why I like to chat with my couple or even meet with them before they book with me so we can get a feel for each other before they make a decision. As much as a photographer desires to connect with the client, I think it is even more important that the client feels like they can connect with the photographer.
I recommend trying to get to know each other before your wedding. Follow them on their social media, connect over the phone, and book an engagement session! The engagement session is the perfect time for you to connect with one another.
3. Remember you get what you pay for. I know there will probably be some of you who stop reading right now, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention this. You pay for the experience. If you are looking for high-end, professional photos, it will cost. This doesn’t mean everyone who charges a lot is a safe hire. Not at all. What I am saying though is the cost of the photography generally goes along with their experience level. Photography is an investment.
Don’t just look at the numbers. I know that everyone has a budget, but the one thing I hear over and over again is… “I wish I would have spent more on photography.”, or “If I could change one thing it would be to invest more in my photographer” I can’t even tell you how many people say this. Recently, I received an email that said, “I wish so bad that I had you as our wedding photographer, but at the time you were over our budget. The only thing I regret about my wedding is not hiring you as our photographer. I should have cut costs somewhere else.”
4. Take the time to read through their reviews. Now since we have the internet, reviews are easily accessible. Most photographers have reviews on their websites from real clients. You can also check to see if they have been reviewed on Google, Facebook, Wedding Wire, or The Knot.
5. Is the photographer that you are looking to hire experienced in different lighting scenarios? I’m a natural light photographer. What that means is that I showcase a lot of natural light imagery. Most of the images that are on my site are taken with natural light – the sun! I love sun-filled images. Oh, it just brings me so much joy. But… that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to light a pitch-black reception.
If you are going to have different lighting than what you see on your photographer’s website, just ask if you can see some more examples so that you can make sure they will be equipped to handle it.
I have plenty of examples of dark churches, nighttime ceremonies, after-dark receptions, etc.
6. What’s included with the packages? Not all photographers include the same things. What is important to you? When I got married, the most important things to me were the digital images and an album. I wanted to always have a copy of the image files, even if I decided not to print all of the photos. I also wanted a gorgeous album that I could keep forever. One of my kid’s favorite things to do is to look through our wedding album.
I recommend creating a list of the things you want from your photographer.
Not all photographers give digital images. Some photographers require you to purchase prints directly from them, some offer a print release that gives you the ability to print wherever you choose.
Is having two photographers important to you? Add that to your list of things you want. And then what about the amount of coverage? Most offer hourly coverage while some offer full-day coverage. How much coverage time do you need? Side note: your photographer can help you with this! There are lots of important things to consider when creating a photography timeline. The last thing you want is to feel rushed on your wedding day.
7. Ask your photographer to view a full gallery. It’s easy to showcase the best of the best images on social media or websites, but you want to make sure that the entire gallery is consistent with what you see online.
8. Does your photographer have backup equipment? This is a must for wedding photographers in my opinion. What happens if their camera breaks on the wedding day? Mine has! I had a camera that completely stopped working during one of my receptions. I didn’t even miss a beat though because I just started using the backup I had in my bag.
What if the photographer drops their camera while taking photos and their lens cracks? This has happened to me too. And it was with a brand-new lens. The point is that mistakes happen, but if your photographer doesn’t have backup gear, they won’t be able to continue shooting.
9. Is your photographer insured? All professional photographers should have insurance on their equipment + liability. You want to make sure that they will be covered should a guest trip over a light stand at a reception or something else go wrong.
I hope that these tips will help you when you are hiring a wedding photographer. Never be afraid to ask questions.
Written by: Jennie Tewell