You're engaged! You shared all the great news to your family and friends.... the dust has settled from all the excitement.... and now the stresses of planning your wedding day slowly start to sink in. One of the biggest decisions in your planning process is going to be choosing which Wedding Photographer is best for you. Don't worry! It is normal. I remember when I was newly engaged, I was completely overwhelmed by the vast amount of options. But with a little bit of research and willingness to be open and honest with yourself and your potential photographer, finding the perfect fit will be a no brainer.
Step 1: Choose Your Editing Style
Choosing your Wedding Photographer is kind of like choosing a tattoo artist. You have to know what kind of style you want first. If you want a black and white portrait tattoo, you wouldn't seek out a tattooist who specializes in watercolor tattoos. The same goes for photographers. If you look at an established photographer's portfolio, you should be able to see that they have a consistent editing style. So you, as a couple, need to decide which style resonates most with you. Suggestions on how to choose? Think of your theme, color story, flowers, venue, and imagine how it would look in each style as you look through various photographer's work. And remember, there isn't a "better or worse" choice here. This is art. It is all personal preference.
Step 2: Take Notice of Their Point of View
Point of view? Let me explain. If three photographers are given the same couple, with the same wardrobe and styling, and are told to photograph in the exact same location in the same lighting, I am willing to bet that each photo will look drastically different, even before it is edited. This is because each photographer, as an artist, has their own unique point of view. Are their photos more posed, candid, or journalistic? Do their photos show lots of close and intimate moments? What type of emotions, attitudes, or feelings does a photographer pull from their subjects in a photo? Each photographer has a consistent vibe that connects throughout all their photos. That is all due to their point of view. Yes, as a photographer you want to be flexible enough to capture the likeness of your clients. But each photographer has their own individual personality and point of view that will shine through each of their photos, because it is also an extension of themselves! So as a potential client, you want to find a photographer who's photos have the vibe that best match the feelings and emotions that you want to remember most on your wedding day.
Step 3: Hone in on Your Budget
No one likes to talk about it. It's awkward, uncomfortable, and conjures up stressful feelings. But you gotta do yourself a solid and figure out your budget for your wedding photography. But don't just pick a number out of thin air!!! Here are a few things you need to think about first.
First off, wedding photography prices differ depending on where you are getting married. If you're looking to have a destination wedding, this actually can work in your favor. Quite often, if you hire vendors from outside a popular destination location, it might save you some money in the long run, even after paying their travel fees! Who woulda thought?! But if you aren't having a destination wedding, you want to research what the average wedding photography costs are IN YOUR AREA. There are lots of wedding sites out there unfortunately full of misinformation regarding wedding prices, even the biggest and most popular ones. So do your diligent research to get the best idea of what a good quality photographer costs in your specific area.
Second, try not to get into the "price shop" mentality. Meaning, don't get fixated on comparing one photographer to another based off of what they offer and for how much. It is totally understandable that it is important to stay within your financial means. But your wedding photography is one of the only things that you can physically take away and enjoy again and again from your wedding day. Money shouldn't be the overall deciding factor in choosing your perfect wedding photographer. A photographer's "value" isn't based solely off of their package prices. A photographer's value is also shown through their experience in the field, artistic eye, personality, customer service, and passion for their job.
Finally, understand that most photographers are flexible with their pricing and we aren't "here to take your money". If you are afraid that a photographer you absolutely love is way out of your price point, it doesn't hurt to just reach out and ask. And don't be afraid to communicate with a photographer what your budget is. More often than not, we are willing to work with you and move some things around with our packages to try to make it work for the both of us! Which brings us to the next topic of communication...
Step 4: Establish Good Communication
Having a good relationship of communication with your wedding photographer is ESSENTIAL! And this relationship starts as soon as you click that inquire button on their site. As you are filling out a photographer's contact form, take notice what kind of questions they are asking. And yes... yes, I know you are filling these forms out left and right as you are planning for your wedding and it can get hella annoying after awhile, but try your best to answer their questions with the most authenticity and effort you can gather. Trust me, the more information you give and the more fun you have with your answers, the more excited they are to respond and learn more about you and your wedding day! Before sending you a bunch of info on package specifics, many photographers like to connect with their couples via coffee date, video chat, or phone call. This is a majorly important step because it allows you to really hit the ground running on communicating everything you are imagining for your wedding day. You want to make sure you are ready and prepared before your consultation because you can ask any and every question you may have. It gives you the opportunity for you to share what is most important to you for your wedding day photography coverage so that your photographer can potentially create a custom wedding package just for you to fit your specific needs. You will also have the ability to get to know them on a personal level and vice versa. aaaaaand cue the next topic...
Step 5: Make Sure You Vibe Well
This is a step that you might not think is all that important, by oh baby it sure is! On your wedding day, you want to feel comfortable. You want to feel authentic. You want to be able to live in the moment. You want to be able to enjoy yourself while you are surrounded by the people you love the most. You might love the photos of a certain photographer, but if you don't vibe with them on a personal level, I'm telling you, it ain't gonna work. Your wedding photographer will be with you almost every step of the way on your wedding day. You should get along with them as if they are an extra person in your wedding party. Open yourself up and answer questions about yourself and your life during your consultations with your photographer. Follow them on their social media platforms. See if you share any life experiences. If you can relate to each other and take a step beyond the "professional" relationship, your wedding day is going to be even more enjoyable and you will feel 100% more confident and comfortable in front of their camera in your photos.
Step 6: Imagine Yourself in Their Photos
The last and final step you should take to ensure that you're picking the perfect photographer for you... take a moment. Look through your number one choice of photographer's photos on their website or their feed. Imagine yourself and your fiance in the photos. How does it make you feel? If this photographer is a good match for you, you should feel excited and have a positive gut feeling about visualizing yourself in their photos. If you aren't having these feelings, go back and see what is stopping you. Is it their style? Is it their point of view? Are you hesitant due to your budget? Or is it just that you don't feel an emotional personal connection with this photographer? Remember, communication and honesty is key with both your photographer AND YOURSELF. Once you find that photographer that you are in love with, it helps every single part of the wedding planning process fall into place. CONGRATS! You found your perfect photographer. It is time to get SUPER FREAKING EXCITED!