3. Start your wedding photographer search
Once you know what style you’re looking for, you can begin to create your shortlist of potential photographers. Take a look at popular wedding websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire for a directory of photographers in your area. You can also type “wedding photographers” + [your location] in Google to see a mixture of paid and organic listings.
It’s also a great idea to ask for recommendations from your network. You can use Facebook’s recommendations feature to gather them all in one place, or simply ask your friends on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites for their opinions.
Lastly, if you loved the look of photos from one of your friend’s weddings, make sure to ask for the photographer’s name! You’d be surprised how many wedding vendor bookings come from word of mouth.
4. Check reviews and references
At some point before officially hiring your wedding photographer, you may want to touch base with a few references that you can speak with about the photographer’s work. Ask references about the working relationship with the photographer, how much they noticed (or didn’t notice) the photographer on the day, how they communicated with friends and family for posed shots, how long the artistic shots took, and anything else that comes to mind. This will give you a good idea of the photographer’s working style and whether he or she is a good fit for your special day.
Additionally, you’ll probably find a lot of answers to those questions in website testimonials and online reviews. Be sure to weigh all the pros and cons mentioned by past couples so you fully know what to expect when the big day comes.
5. Make a list of key moments
Make note of the key moments that you would like to capture on your wedding day. This information, along with the style that you’re aiming for, will be a helpful jumping-off point for discussion with photographers.
Some popular moments to capture in wedding photography include:
The rehearsal dinner
The wedding party and couple getting ready
Couple’s gift exchange
The first look
Walking down the aisle
Toasts from family and friends
The first dance
Cutting the cake
Throwing the bouquet
The couple’s exit
6. Get on the same page
As you talk to your shortlist of photographers, try to determine which one will best capture your wedding day the way you would like it captured. There will likely be a few factors that add up to the “perfect” photographer for you, including how well they understand your vision, their personality, previous experience, style, price, and portfolio.
7. Discuss the wedding photographer’s package options
Photographers usually offer a few different packages for weddings. These include the length of event coverage, whether you’d like to include things like your rehearsal dinner, how many shots to include, and whether you would like a printed album. Things like editing/retouching and hosting the images on a private portal for viewing are usually included in the package, while rights to the images are usually not. But this varies from photographer to photographer, so be sure to ask!
This is also a great time to talk about the style of the album you can expect, and how long you’ll need to wait to get your images. Ask to see an example of a printed album so that you can make sure you like the style, quality, and layout.
Some photographers will also offer a quick-turnaround “sneak peek” with a few photos for you to share on social media in the days after your wedding. Make sure to ask about this if it’s important to you.
8. Stay on budget
Of course, one of the big things you’ll want to discuss with your photographer is the budget. You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for a wedding photography package in the US, with the average wedding photographer costing $2,400.
Keep in mind that this average is for the whole country, so your area may be more or less expensive depending on the demand for photographers and how many photographers work in your area.
Not surprisingly, this is one area where many couples choose to spend a bit more. Couples know that they only have one chance to get great photos of their wedding day, and it makes sense that they don’t want to cut corners.
If you do decide to go with a lower-budget alternative, such as having a friend take the photos, make sure that they have the right experience for the job. Professional photographers have experience with poor weather, tense family dynamics, unforeseen wedding mishaps, and more. So while the price tag may seem high, it may be worth it for the peace of mind that a professional brings.
9. Check about insurance and backup plans
Speaking of unforeseen circumstances, make sure that your wedding photographer has professional insurance and a backup plan in case something happens on the big day. Do they have a network of contacts they can call if they get sick? How will they shoot differently in inclement weather? Do they bring backup equipment in case something breaks?
It’s great to ask these questions ahead of time so that you know what to expect, but also to gauge the professionalism and experience of your photographer. With all of these issues covered, you’ll know you have someone who can make your photos look great no matter what.
Now you know how to choose a wedding photographer that will create lasting memories of your wedding day!
That’s one more thing checked off your list! Up next, learn how to plan a wedding with our stress-free, 25-step guide.
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