Tips For Picking The Right Wedding Photographer. Photo Of Couple During Their Ceremony

Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

Last updated on February 6th, 2024 at 08:46 pm

Choosing the right wedding photographer is the most important choice you will make on your wedding day. I mean besides of choosing to marry your spouse and all that. Joking aside, your wedding photographs are the only thing you will have to remember on your wedding day. They capture all your friends and family who likely won’t ever be in the same room together again. Not to get too morbid, but sometimes they even get the last photograph you have before a loved one passes.

Choosing The Right Wedding Photographer

When choosing a photographer couples often get so concerned with booking someone they don’t take the time to see if the are choosing the right photographer. Throughout this post, I have laid out some helpful things to look for, things to avoid, questions you need to ask your photographer, and some tips on making the final decision.

Choosing the right wedding photographer

What to Look for in a Wedding Photographer

Experience & Expertise

First off when choosing the right wedding photographer you need to find someone who is actually a professional. I have seen way too many couples hire that one friend who is a “photographer” and absolutely butcher the wedding photos. Please, if you only take 1 thing from this article. Hire a professional.

But how do you know if someone is professional?

This is actually a harder question to answer than it may seem on the first pass. Often times when looking on a wedding photographer’s site, the work you are seeing in their portfolio is from a styled shoot. This is where many wedding professionals get together to create market materials and content to try and get published by wedding magazines.

553Tannerstephanieweddingⓒcharlesmollphotography Charles Moll Photography Bozeman Wedding Photographers

While these usually result in stunning images, a styled shoot is very different than a wedding. Pay attention when looking at the portfolio. Does it only feature wedding details and portraits? These photos may be from a styled shoot and not a true representation of what their wedding photography looks like. This is why I only feature real weddings in my portfolio. To simplify the process and give an accurate representation of the quality of work a couple should expect.

Outside of this, check their reviews, Do they sound like they are from real clients or just friends and family? Sometimes when people are starting they will get reviews from people they know to make it look like they are more successful than they are.

Lastly, see if they have won awards or are published anywhere. This is a great way to know if they are the real deal.

Style and Aesthetic

There are so many buzzwords in the world of wedding photography and each person has a very different definition of what that means when talking about style. This makes it hard for couples to know what they are getting just by reading a photographer’s website so I will do my best to summarize some common terms below:

  • Timeless
    • Normally these feature true-to-life colors. I find photographers who use this phrase lean towards more of an editorial (Think fashion magazine) style.
  • Authentic
    • This word means absolutely nothing in the world of wedding photography. I have seen people like myself who focus on more candid photos use it and people who focus on very posed photos use it.
  • Warm
    • Currently, this tends to mean the photographer will edit everything very orange. The grass may look dead and your skin will be an orangish brown. If you can’t tell I am not a fan of this style.
  • Romantic
    • Usually, this style features a lot of grain in the photographs. The may be a bit warmer and feel very nostalgic.
  • Dark & Moody
    • I used to think this meant very dark and shadowy photos, however after a Bride told me my photographs were dark and moody, I have no clue what this phrase means.
  • Candid
    • Usually, this means the photographer focuses on capturing real emotions rather than posing you in a way that evokes emotion.
  • Documentary/Photojournalistic
    • These photographers prioritize capturing moments as they unfold on your wedding day. Depending on the photographers’ philosophy, they may or may not stage anything on your wedding day.

Ultimately don’t go off what a website says. Each photographer will define the terms very differently. It’s better to ask to see some full wedding galleries so that you can decide for yourself if you like their style.

Ask to see 3 Full Wedding Galleries – This is my #1 piece of advice

The most important thing in choosing the right wedding photographer is to have a good expectation of what you are paying for. By asking for 3 galleries you can see a wide variety of a photographer’s work and how they will photograph different situations.

Do you like them?

Your photographer will be with you more than any other person on your wedding day. When choosing the right wedding photographer you must get someone who you like. Even if you love their work, if you find them a bit annoying or off-putting it can damper your day.

What to Avoid in a Wedding Photographer – Choosing the right wedding photographer

Lack of experience or poor quality work

Please Please Please, if you value your wedding photography don’t pick that one friend with a camera or someone who has a poor quality of work just because they are cheap. I have seen far too many couples who end up regretting picking the wrong photographer. Now if you are trying to find someone at a lower price point you likely will get someone with less experience. In this case, it is important for you to learn their background and see sample galleries. Just because someone is starting out and has less experience, doesn’t mean you will get a bad end product. At the $1000-$2500 price point, it is really hard to tell who is good and who is not.

Backup Equipment

This is a must. your photographer needs backup equipment. Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) thing. You don’t get a do-over. This means your photographer needs to be prepared if their camera breaks or their card fails. You don’t want them to lose your photos simply because they weren’t prepared.

Poor Communication

Do you leave every interaction with a photographer confused? This is a good sign they are not the right wedding photographer. You don’t need someone whose lack of communication skills leaves you feeling more confused and stressed. Weddings are already hard enough!

Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer – Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

Most times when couples get the wrong photographer it could be avoided by asking the right questions. The following list will help in choosing the right photographer

  • What is your background in photography? What sort of training have you had?
  • How would you describe your style and approach? Is there a philosophy guiding your work?
  • Are you available on my date?
  • What happens if your camera breaks?
  • What happens if you get sick and can’t photograph my wedding?
  • Can I see 3 full wedding galleries?

Making the Final Decision

My biggest tip here is to meet with the photographer in person. People can hide behind a lot on social media, but when you meet in person you will quickly get a good idea if this is the person you want to work with.

Conclusion

Choosing the right wedding photographer can be a daunting process, but if you ask the right questions and do some research you are sure to get someone you love! This is one of the most important vendors you will choose on your wedding day. Take your time. There is a lot of pressure in the wedding industry to just lock vendors down, but it’s more important that you lock someone down who you actually like.

If you are early on in your planning process, I would love to talk with you about your wedding photographer, give some insight and help point you in the right direction. Click here to contact me.

Similar Posts