We are quite possibly biased, however, your photographer is different from all of the other vendors you hire for your wedding. Not only are they the ones that work the closest with you on the big day, but also they are giving you a product that is intangible until AFTER everything is said and done! Of course, a great photographer will give you more than just pictures- but we'll get to that. Below are our recommended steps to finding and choosing a fantastic wedding day photographer, as well as a free worksheet to help you!!
1. Discovering photographers! Like where in the world do you start?? It seems like everyone has a camera these days (hellooooo portrait mode on the iPhone)! Google is great, but the search return for 'wedding photographer in [your area]' will be hundreds of pages long.
Focus on picking a few photographers from the search results whose images really catch your eye. Word of mouth recommendations are better, because really great photographers can sometimes be not so great at manipulating their Google rank. Did any of your friends recently get married? Ask them who they had for a photographer, and if they absolutely loved them, you'll be able to tell by their response. Collect three to five photographers that you think you'll like, based on their style, what kind of people they seem like, and their relative price range.
2. Get in touch! Reach out to those photographers on your list. They probably all have some sort of contact form on their website for you to fill out.
Some photographers may respond by asking you to meet them, others may ask for a simple phone call, while some might just reply back with an email. Either way, your initial conversations should allow you to answer these questions for yourself: Do you like them? Do the conversations flow smoothly? Are you willing to spend hours with them? Are you going to trust them enough to truly let them into your intimate moments? That last one may be a little daunting, but it's probably the most important. Weddings are highly emotional. The person behind the camera will be privy to a lot, and it's crucial that you trust them.
3. Book them, and book them fast! I cannot say it enough- nothing breaks a photographer's heart more than having to turn down an excited couple because the calendar is already filled for their wedding day! Booking fast does not mean RUSHING. You definitely want to take your time in making sure everything is laid out clearly in the contract (your photographer should definitely have you sign a contract, AND be able to explain it all to you, and if they can't... run) and that both parties understand what the other wants/needs.
4. Keep in touch. Communication should not drop off completely after booking! Your photographer should keep in touch with you somewhat, but if there's something you are particularly excited about in your wedding while planning, share it with them!! Chances are, (if you picked right!) your photographer will be excited about it too. If I hear that one of our clients is having hand embossed invitations or even a taco bar, I get excited about those things! Plus, it really helps us get a feel for the things you care about in your wedding, and we can make sure to capture those things thoughtfully.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, a great photographer will give you way more than just pictures and an album after the fact. They will want to work with you and your timeline to make sure you and your partner will not only have enough room to breathe during the hectic wedding day, but also have enough time to capture all of the photos you want without rushing! A great photographer will be like a bridesmaid/groomsman with a camera on the day of, because- chances are- they've been to way more weddings than you, and will be prepared for anything! They will also become a good friend.
Finding a photographer can be a nerve-wracking task, if photography is something you really care about for your wedding, but it's not so bad once you get a game plan. To help you further, we've created a little worksheet for you to use while you go about your own search. It's at the top of this post, if you didn't grab it already. Happy planning!
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