Choosing a Great Wedding Photographer with These Steps


So he's popped the question and aside from starring at your ring all day, where do you begin with? Well, there are caterers, flowers, venues and vows, and usually when you think you've covered it all, you might forgot about a photographer! Choosing a wedding photographer isn't as simple as you might originally think, but before you stress out over pixels and pictures, follow these simple steps to guarantee you'll have the perfect photographer for photos of the happiest day of your life!

Choosing a Great Wedding Photographer with These Steps

Start searching immediately

Finding the perfect photographer to capture your special day is no easy feat. Not to mention, some of the best photographers book out their schedules years in advance. Yes, years! After you and your fiancé settle on a date, you should start looking for your photographer right away, even if you are planning something such as a Sunday ceremony. Either way, it doesn't hurt to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

Tap into your network

We all know someone who was recently married, so start your search for the perfect photographer by getting referrals and tips from those who just went through the process. Don't know any newlyweds? Never fear! Your venue, caterer, baker, florist and especially your wedding planner will know a ton of photographers to help you in your quest.

Settle on a style

Did you know there are at least four different styles of photography? Yeah, me neither! So researching the different styles before choosing a wedding photographer, such as documentary, portraiture, fine art and edgy-bold. The one in which you prefer for your wedding is crucial in finding that perfect match.

Set up interviews

Having a wedding photographer is an intimate process. After all, this person is going to be following you around on the most special day of your life! Take the time to set up interviews with 3-5 potential photographers whose styles you like. This will provide an opportunity to get to know him or her on a more personal level and see if your personalities mesh.

See a few full wedding albums

Picking your wedding photographer based solely on the highlights on their website is about as difficult as picking your spouse based solely on their Facebook pictures, right? You need to see a few of the photographers' full albums of actual weddings to get a better idea if he or she is the right fit.

Review albums with a critical eye

Take the time to review images that are critical to you and your wedding. When walking down the aisle, are there only photos of the bride, or are there photos of the groom too? Is it important to you to have one over the other, or both? Little details can go a long way in finding that perfect photographer.

Make sure your personalities mesh

As said before, your photographer will be following your every move on the big day, so it is important when choosing a wedding photographer that you select someone you trust and feel comfortable around. If someone is too aggressive, or down right annoying, odds are that your personalities don't mesh and you should keep looking.

Confirm your shooters

You might be surprised to learn, but picking one specific studio to use for a wedding does not guarantee that you will get the exact photographer you wish for your big day. Make sure this is all clearly stated in your contract. Also, ask your photographer if he or she will be accompanied by assistants. This isn't uncommon for photographers to include in the contract and is an added bonus that can result in some really special photos from many different angles.

Discuss photography equipment

Sure, you may not be a professional or understand the difference between cameras and editing programs, but asking these questions up front will allow you the chance to research it later on. And more important, you will see if your photographer loves his equipment or not.

Compare packages

Talking to different photographers will allow you compare packages and determine which photographer is going to be a better financial fit for your wedding. Wedding packages can range from $2,500 to upwards of $15,000, but asking your photographer for his or her standard "shooting fee" as well as any additional extra costs (hourly rate for over-time, special effects, etc.) will help definitely help you in choosing your wedding photographer.

Get the postproduction details

Aside from time spent on the big day, some photographers spend as much as 40 additional hours just editing photos, so don't expect to receive your proofs a week after the wedding! It is important to get a better understanding of what to expect, so ask things such as: How many images can I expect? Will you own the rights to these photographs or will I? Will I select the photographs I want retouched or will you? Knowing the answers to these questions up front can save you money and headache in the long run.

Discuss the fee

Don't be caught off guard with surprise fees from your photographer, so be sure to discuss the specifics in which the fee encompasses. Does the fee include albums and prints, or do you need to purchase those after the fact? What about editing? Make sure you have all these questions answered ahead of time before signing your name to the contract.

Schedule a test run

So, you've picked a photographer you feel pretty confident about, but you're still not sure how comfortable you'll be having him or her follow your every move on the big day. Then scheduling a test run is a great way to get to know your photographer on a more personal basis, as well as get through all the "awkwardness" of having your picture taken professionally. Consider having your wedding photographer to capture your engagement shoot, so you can ensure you are choosing a wedding photographer that is going to be perfect for you!