Choosing your wedding vendors can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start.
It can be helpful to have a chat with your partner prior to researching & decide what is most important to you on your day & budget according to this. When I got married my photographer was the most important part of my day, I knew who I wanted so I sacrificed having a super expensive dress or flowers to be able to afford my photographer. My dress cost $250!!
Everyone has different values when it comes to what’s important on their day so don’t skimp on something that actually means the most to you!
Now let’s look at choosing a photographer!!
The best place to start in finding your perfect photographer is ONLINE. Google wedding photographers in your area & take note of their style & the colours that jump out to you. Are you drawn to more moody and grainy images or do you prefer light & airy images? Do you like natural, carefree images or are you more drawn to posed styled images? Every photographer has a different style & way of shooting and it is super important to choose someone that aligns with what you like otherwise you’ll end up hating your images when they don’t look like what you wanted.
Stalk their websites and Instagram pages for recent work, pricing info, FAQ’s & reviews. Photographers will have their most recent work up on Instagram but they may have blogs on their website that highlight images from an entire day which can give you a good idea of how they shoot a full day.
2: CHOOSE SOMEONE YOU VIBE WITH
Your photographer is pretty much the only vendor that will spend most of your wedding day with you. They’re pretty much an extra member of your wedding party so it’s super important that you get along with them! You want someone that makes you feel relaxed, doesn’t make you feel awkward & that you can see yourself having a bit of fun with.
There are so many personality types out there & not every photographer is going to be the best fit for you. It’s helpful to think about your friends & family when considering a photographer as well. Will this person fit in with your people? If your family is quite reserved & well mannered than perhaps the larger than life photographer that likes to use a swear word or two & bust his moves on the dance floor might not be the right fit. Or perhaps your family are loud & boisterous & you need someone that can hustle them into place.
Look for personality in websites as well Instagram stories. Photographers are more likely to share more of their true selves in stories & in the About me sections of their websites.
Organising a face to face meeting or Zoom chat can be a great way to get to know your photographer as well. Most photographers are happy to meet up & get to know you over a coffee or beer. This is a great opportunity to see if you all vibe with one another. It’s also a great time to ask any burning questions that you may have as well.
3: BUDGETS & PACKAGES
Pretty much everyone has a budget so it’s good to know where you want to spend it! Do you have a strict budget photography or is their some wiggle room if you find a photographer that you must have on your day.
Photographers usually structure their pricing around time & talent. The cost of your photographer will usually be dependent on how long they’ve been in the biz & the quality of their service so just know that “you get what you pay for”. It’s tough when you have a strict budget & you may not be able to afford the photographer you really want. There are always exceptions to the rule so make sure you do your homework & you may be able to find someone within your budget that will still deliver exceptional images that you’ll treasure.
In terms of packages these are usually structured around time. Every photographer is different so it’s good to have a chat with your partner & decide on what is the most important parts of your day that must be captured. Sometimes couples aren’t that keen on reception photos or perhaps you want absolutely everything covered on the day. Choose the best package within your budget that covers what is most important to you.
4: CAN YOU BOOK A ENGAGEMENT SESSION WITH THEM
Again this is something that varies from photographer to photographer. Some will include it in their top packages or they may be available as an extra add on.
Not everyone chooses to have an engagement session but it can be a great opportunity to get to know your photographer & how they work prior to the day. It can ease some of those nerves about getting your photo taken meaning your a lot more relaxed on your wedding day.
It’s also a great opportunity for your photographer to get an idea on how you interact as a couple so they can turn up on your wedding day knowing exactly how to capture you at your best and in a way that reflects your personalities.
Engagement sessions tend to be a little more informal as well, often you can be a bit more adventurous & get some fun photos of the two of you.
As an added bonus you can use the images for your Save the Date cards or on your wedding website. I’ve also seen some clever use of engagement photos on the wedding day as well.
5: DO THEY HAVE A CONTRACT
A bit of a boring one but super important. Please ask whether your photographer has a contract early on in the process. If a photographer makes no mention of a contract I would highly suggest finding another photographer. There is so much that can go wrong on a day (the photographer is sick, their cameras malfunction or there is a global pandemic!) and a signed contract will protect both of you in case something awful & unforeseen should happen on your day. I mean prior to 2020 no-one knew a pandemic would be creating havoc for every wedding couple!!
I hope this helps you in your quest to finding the best photographer for your day. It is such a personalised choice & everyone is different in their values & what they’re looking for in a photographer.