So you got engaged, you set a date, you've even selected a venue. Now everyone is telling you it's time to choose your photographer. For some of you, this decision may have been made already, but for most of you, it's an overwhelming process. How do you know who is going to be right for you? How do you narrow the selection down and decide who to reach out to for more information? Here are 5 questions to get you started.
1. Be honest with yourself. How important is photography to you on your list of priorities for your wedding day?
I could write an entire blog post (or provide links to photographers who already have) about the importance of having your wedding day well documented. However, I understand that not all couples hold photography at the top of their priority list on their wedding day. If that’s the case, pick whoever you want. If it’s not important to you, then the rest of these suggestions will not mean squat to you. If, however, you are one of those couples who is putting a lot of emphasis on how your wedding day images are going to make you feel in a year, five years, and 50 years down the line from now, then keep reading.
2. How do you envision yourselves being photographed?
Social media puts all styles of photography at the tips of our figures more than ever before. I’m sure you’ve scrolled through your page and seen a friend’s photos and thought, “Oh wow I’d love to have a photo like that!” or “Yikes. No thank you.” Pay attention to what photographs draw you in and why. Are they posed using cute props and multiple outfit changes? Or are they relaxed with a more natural feel to them?
3. So, based on the answer to question #2, what style of photography best suits your needs?
In your search for a wedding photographer, you’ll see a lot of different types of photographers. Here’s the breakdown:
- Traditional Photographer- This photographer will spend most of their time with you taking staged photos and most likely will allow you to give him/her a “shot list” of creative photos you’d like to take (think Pinterest boards)
- Traditional/Documentary/Photojournalistic Photographer-This photographer will do some staged photos throughout the day and during portrait time, but will also adopt a hands-off approach for the majority of the day to capture events naturally as they unfold.
- Photojournalistic Photographer- Photojournalistic Photographers are 100% hands-off. They document everything that is happening without any manipulation of what is happening at all. This is the brand of photography I identify myself with, unless my couples ask for portrait time in which case I do have to do a little bit of arranging, but nothing I would call even close to “posing”.
4. Where does photography fit into your budget?
This is likely a question you’ve already asked yourselves because it’s a big part of the decision making process when it comes to picking any vendor that will be a part of your wedding day. Lucky for you, dearly engaged, there are many options that range from one end of the spectrum to the other. Us photographers know how many of you are on a budget. It’s much less common for parents to foot the bill for their kids’ weddings these days, so it falls on many young adults to come up with the funds themselves. It can be tempting to go for the lowest price out there, but you have to ask yourself one more question before you commit to that idea...
5. Who’s work do you absolutely love?
If you hire a photographer based soley on price, and you don’t have any (or very little) emotional connection to their work at all, you will 100% regret it. You need to feel EXCITED about the person you’re working with and the work they will produce with you. Many photographers (myself included) are more than willing to break payments up into more digestible increments to make it easier to have the photography package you want. So, email your beloved photographer and ask what the payment options are. I think you’ll be surprised (and relieved) by the response.
Once you sit down and spend a little time with your fiancè to begin coming up with some answers to these core questions, the process will feel much less overwhelming.
Newlyweds, are you reading this? What questions did you ask yourself (or wish you asked yourself) that landed you the right photographer?