How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Your wedding photos will be some of your most treasured keepsakes from your wedding. In 50 years you will look back on these images reminiscing together about your first look, the kiss, and all the little details that made your day so special.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on a decision you will need to make early on in your wedding planning. So knowing how to choose a wedding photographer is crucial.
You’re trusting someone to capture these precious moments, but you also want someone you feel comfortable with so your authentic self will come through the camera.
Here is a helpful guide to help you feel confident that you know how to choose a wedding photographer who will be perfect for you!
Preferred Photography Style
Okay, this one seems obvious but sometimes, people don’t give this enough consideration!
You need to make sure you are obsessed with their photos and can see yourself in them.
What types of images are your eyes drawn to?
Dark & moody or light & airy?
Are you looking for a classic-traditional style?
Would you consider a more modern, editorial style?
Do you connect with their work on an emotional level?
Choosing a photographer based on these types of questions could save you from being in a situation where the photos you end up with don’t capture the vision you had.
Your wedding photos are one of the only things from the wedding day that will last, and you will look at these for decades to come. So don’t settle!
Price vs. Value
I know, I know….it’s so awkward to talk about money. But we have to talk about this!
First and foremost, as a photographer and a human adult in today’s economy, I acknowledge that your budget is important, and I would never suggest anyone overextend themselves financially.
This is why you should consider the importance of selecting a quality photographer and giving yourself a budget that accommodates this.
The saying goes, “you get what you pay for” and this is painfully obvious both in the work presented and how a photographer works with their clients.
There are some photographers out there who will send a contract and invoice and then go radio silent until a day or two before the wedding.
My goal is to offer clients an “experience“. I will be with you every step of the way in your planning. I am totally invested in helping you have the best, most meaningful day of your life.
I will be with you helping to create your timeline, and your family photo list, offering vendor recommendations, album design, and so much more.
There is so much VALUE in an experience, and it sets you free to actually enjoy the process of getting married!!
Do They Match Your Vibe?
Having a connection with your photographer is so vital! This is the decision you have to make with your gut. Listen to it!
Do you like them? Are they kind? Do you feel like you could be friends? Does the way they speak turn you off in any way? Do they make you smile? Do you understand each other? Do they make you feel more awkward or more comfortable?
Consider these important points:
- You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person.
- You’ll be sharing tender, intimate moments with this person.
- You’re trusting this person to capture these moments of privacy as authentically as possible.
How they make you feel is going to have a HUGE impact on your wedding day experience (and how you look in your photos!)
My goal is always to make my couples feel at ease in front of the camera, and I believe that comes from a personal rapport and knowing I’ve got your back.
My clients tell me I bring a calming presence to their otherwise anxiety-inducing day, and give them confidence that everything will be taken care of.
In addition to a calming presence, your photographer needs to have positive energy!
Who else is going to hype up your bridal party and family members for those big group shots!?
THIS IS THE HAPPIEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. Find someone just as eager to celebrate that as you are.
Risky or Reliable?
I’m not just referring to whether or not they’ll show up for you. (Although that is also very important and possibly covered in the Price vs. Value section)
Make sure they can provide some sort of backup plan (or plan of a plan) in case of an emergency so that you’re not in a bind without a photographer if they come down with the plague or something.
Are they prepared to take all necessary precautions to keep your irreplaceable photos safe?
Here are some of my precautions:
- I personally shoot to 2 cards (in case one gets corrupted), on 2 different cameras (in case one dies for some reason).
- When I leave a wedding, I carry the cards in two separate locations–both in an industry-standard protective case, one I carry on my body.
- As soon as I get home or to my hotel the night of a wedding, I’m backing up the photos to 2 separate hard drives and the cloud.
- I keep the SD cards with the photos in a fireproof bag until I’ve delivered your wedding gallery.
I’m not paranoid, I’m prepared! I will not take ANY chances with your once-in-a-lifetime, treasured moments.
The Final Product
Lastly, consider what you’re actually getting at the end of all of this.
Your beautiful day is cataloged and captured, now what?
Do you get digital copies? Are any prints included? Are you offered an album? What is their policy with watermarks or sharing on social media? Do you have print rights if that’s important to you?
I offer my clients a curated, personally designed album experience. I’ll pick the best images, in collaboration with my clients, that tell the story of their day and design them together in a beautiful hand-crafted, heirloom-quality album.
Photos are meant to be seen, held, and felt, not buried in a folder on your laptop.
It’s so important to make sure you know what you’re getting in your contract.
Choosing a wedding photographer is a big decision. Take your time and don’t feel rushed to choose one right away.
- Do your research.
- Set a reasonable budget for the quality you want.
- Give yourself a gut check when you’re interviewing photographers.
- Ask all the questions. Don’t be shy.
This is a big investment both financially and emotionally as you are entrusting this person to capture this most magical day through photos.
Hey there, I’m Sarah
I’m a Philadelphia-based wedding photographer with more than 11 years experience capturing your most important moments and all the fun in between. I frequently travel to New York City and the surrounding areas. If you found this helpful and you’re interested in getting a detailed quote tailored to your specific needs, contact me here.
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