How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
- How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
- 1. How are we going to find them?
- 2. Do we like their photography style?
- 3. Will they send us full wedding day galleries?
- 4. How do they handle engagement sessions?
- 5. How do they approach little details?
- 6. How do they ensure photos are taken of both of us?
- 7. Would we mesh well with this photographer?
- Bonus: Do they know how to use light well?
My wife and I got married during my first year as a wedding photographer. It was fitting, given that we just went through the process of choosing our own wedding photographer, venue, and other vendors. Then it dawned on me: I could give people advice on this. So, here are seven questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer.
1. How are we going to find them?
You have to start somewhere. One of the first questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer is, “How are we going to find a wedding photographer?” Google, social media, and reviews are all great places to start.
These sources beat the wedding directory sites because you control the search, not another business. Google is a great place to start looking for the best wedding photographer for your wants and needs (just like your wedding venue). Instagram searches and Facebook groups are also nice.
Word of mouth, reviews, and testimonials from people you know also go a long way. Be sure to ask what they liked and didn’t like about their wedding photographer experience. You might even consider asking people you know what their opinions are on which questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer.
2. Do we like their photography style?
So once you start your search, it’ll be time to start thinking about the photos you’re looking at. More specifically, you’ll want to view prospective photographers’ portfolios and figure out, “Do we like what we’re seeing in their photographs?”
I’ll let you in on a little industry secret: us wedding photographers categorize ourselves and each other quite a bit when it comes to photography style. Some of the phrases we use are dark and moody, editorial, high fashion, etc. But…
None of those phrases really matter. To conclude, whether or not you like what you’re seeing is definitely one of the seven questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer.
3. Will they send us full wedding day galleries?
Following on from the last point, pretty images on Instagram are one thing. But you need the full picture. Any couple who contacts me is told the same thing: one of the critical questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer is, “Can you show us some full wedding day galleries?”
Wedding photographers attract clients by showing their best work. But honestly, the important parts of the work that we do are sometimes in the little moments, the photos which aren’t necessarily social media-worthy.
If a you’re trying to choose a wedding photographer and they won’t show you full wedding day galleries, that’s a red flag! You really should trust your gut when seeking a wedding photographer, which is something I’ll mention again later in this list.
4. How do they handle engagement sessions?
I like engagement sessions. They’re great for practicing being in front of the camera, as well as for getting comfortable together. Therefore, another one of the key questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer is, “What about an engagement session?”
Is the engagement session included in your wedding photography package? How will your photographer pose you? Capture candid moments between the two of you? Give you two direction? You can find all of this out during your engagement session (and before, by interviewing them).
5. How do they approach little details?
Obviously, your wedding day material details are important. But there’s a difference between photographing things and photographing meaning. Therefore, another thing to ask before hiring your wedding photographer is, “How do you go about capturing details?”
If you ask this question of a prospective photographer, it’s likely that they’ll interpret the question literally. Be sure to clarify your meaning if necessary.
6. How do they ensure photos are taken of both of us?
Marriage is a partnership. So, another of the seven questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer is, “How will each of us be covered throughout the day?” The conventional advice here is to ask about having a second photographer.
A second photographer is also kind of like an insurance policy. For example, if I twist an ankle as one of you is walking down the aisle, my second photographer will be there to ensure that the show goes on while I hobble around looking for aspirin. It goes without saying that if you prefer not to have a second photographer, you should ask your wedding photographer how this would affect their finished product.
7. Would we mesh well with this photographer?
And last but certainly not least, any list of seven questions to ask before hiring your wedding photographer would be incomplete without this: “Are we compatible with our wedding photographer?”
Let’s be honest: we’re all human and sometimes different personalities or communication styles don’t really go together well. The process of booking a wedding photographer is basically like interviewing for a new job. It’s more than just artwork, it’s also about whether or not you think the connection will be comfortable and productive for you.
Trust your gut. Check out your prospective photographer’s social media, website, and reviews as you try and learn about them. See if their “voice” is working for you. Once you actually start the conversation, keep it up. Putting it bluntly, if you don’t like them before booking, you probably won’t like them on your wedding day.
Bonus: Do they know how to use light well?
The first seven questions are the important ones. But there’s one more question you should ask before hiring your photographer and it’s all about you seeing the light. More specifically, “Are they skilled in using light in their photography?”
Not surprisingly, question #2 in this list really comes into play here. Through viewing full wedding day galleries, you can really assess if you think a prospective wedding photographer knows what they’re doing with light. Whether you’re getting married in the Mystic sun or in a darker rustic barn, your photographer should be able to handle all lighting conditions.
Things to watch for include:
- The way people’s skin looks in the photos
- Creativity and flair
- If backgrounds, chandeliers, etc. grab your attention more than the actual people in the photos do
When my wife and I were planning our wedding, my wife and I met with many wedding photographers. One of them told us that because we were getting married in winter, we “must” do a first look so that she could take photos of us outside. Next!