A professional photographer is a must-have for any wedding. After choosing your wedding venue and locking in your wedding date, your next step is to hire a photographer, as they are the second most important vendor for your big day.
But with so many options out there, it can be difficult to narrow down your search. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to find the best photographer for your wedding day to ensure you have the smoothest wedding and the best photos to look back on for years and years to come.
Search for Photographers in Your Area
Step one is to research local wedding photographers in your area. The easiest way to do this is with a Google search. Finding a photographer who is local will be much more affordable than finding one who lives elsewhere and needs to fly in, or drives a long distance.
You can also search popular wedding planning websites, as they often have vendor directories for popular areas. Start making a list of photographers who serve your area.
Browse Their Website and Portfolio
Once you have a shortlist of photographers, it’s time to check out their websites and portfolios. Are the photos good quality? Do they have a style that you like? Does the photographer seem to capture what you want for your wedding shoot?
If there are things that are not quite right about a photographer’s style, don’t worry too much about it. Every photographer has their own unique style.
Some specialize in dark and moody photos, while others focus on bright and airy photography. Some are more documentary-style, capturing in-the-moment photos, while others prefer to pose people in specific positions. And some photographers will use artificial light outdoors to create interesting effects in the final photos. Certain couples love it, and certain couples hate it.
You just need to browse photographer websites to see which styles you resonate with and which you don’t. Narrow down your list to photographers whose style captures your attention.
Ask Your Friends and Family for Referrals
You know plenty of people who have gotten married in the past few years. Make sure you ask about their wedding photographer.
Some of your friends may love their photographer and will recommend you use them. Others may have had a bad experience and can steer you away from people who were mean, unorganized, or didn’t take the best quality photos.
Referrals are one of the most popular ways to choose a wedding photographer, so pay attention to the recommendations you get. Ultimately, you want someone who combines great quality with a fantastic experience on the wedding day.
Look at Reviews
A good way to find a photographer that fits your personality is by looking at reviews. You can look at websites like Yelp or The Knot and see what people are saying about them.
You should always read reviews written by actual customers, not just the website’s summary of reviews. If you do this, you’ll get an idea of what other brides were pleased with and how they felt about their experience working with that photographer!
Reading these comments will give you a better idea if he or she was responsive enough to answer all questions promptly, efficient in communicating details about the day-of plan (especially important for venues with strict policies), friendly when interacting with guests during cocktail hour/dinner etcetera.
One of the biggest complaints that couples have of photographers is that they were rude on the wedding day. This is hard to determine from their website alone, and the only place to find out how a person acts is by reading reviews.
Consider Your Budget
Once you have a shortlist of photographers, it’s time to set up some meetings. I suggest meeting at their studio or asking them to meet you somewhere that feels comfortable for both of you.
You’ll want to understand their packages and product offerings, as most photographers have multiple options available. Then, determine their pricing.
Some photographers are intentionally priced high, as they prefer to focus on couples who are planning more luxurious weddings. Many newer photographers are often priced much lower, as they are trying to build their wedding portfolio.
If you have a tight budget, finding a newer photographer who takes quality photos is a great option.
Read the Fine Print
You should always read the fine print. Make sure you understand how much your photographer charges for additional hours, travel, and any other services they may offer. If you’re not sure of a fee, ask them to explain it to you.
Most photographers have very reasonable policies, but it’s important that you know exactly what they are before booking so that there aren’t any surprises later on down the road! They’ll also give you a contract to sign, so make sure you read this carefully and understand it before you sign it.
Work With a Professional
A photographer who treats their job like a hobby or a side hustle is likely to have a poor work ethic. Or they will be unorganized, frazzled, or disappointing in one way or another.
How can you determine if someone is treating this like a hobby? Just look for a few key indicators.
Do they have a website dedicated to wedding photography? Is the website modern and updated with beautiful photos, or is it from 2010? Do they have a business email address or are they using a personal email address?
You can also look for certifications from organizations like the PPA (Professional Photographers of America).
These are simple things that can help you see who takes this job seriously and who doesn’t know what they are doing.
Take Time When Selecting a Wedding Photographer
The bottom line is that the right photographer will make your wedding memories last a lifetime. If you take these steps to find the best photographer for your wedding, you’ll be much happier during your wedding and afterward, as you’ll have beautiful photos to look back on for decades to come.
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