Are you recently engaged? Congrats!!! That’s so exciting! You’re about to make a whole lot of important decisions. If you’re like me you’ve dreamt of this day since you were a young girl. Maybe you have everything planned out already and it will be super easy deciding how you want your big day to look. Maybe you’re one who hasn’t dreamt of this since you were a little girl and the thought of planning a wedding stresses you out to the MAX! Trust me, sista, you are not alone (in either scenario)!! One of the first few big decisions you will make about your wedding day would be: your venue, your dress and your photographer. Personally I think your photography is in your top two most important decisions for your wedding. Everyone has their own opinions and priorities – to each their own – and that’s totally fine. However, your photographs and your spouse are the only two things that will last a lifetime. You already chose your soulmate so now let’s choose the perfect wedding photographer for you!
There are so many different photographers to choose from and different things to consider:
Know what style you like
Do you like bright and airy pictures or do you like dark and moody? Are you more interested in the natural/candid style or more posed? Are you okay with flash and faux lighting (studio style) or natural light (the sun)? In my opinion, this is the first thing to figure out and it will help you refine your search from the beginning. But let’s be honest, if you’re getting married in a dark dungeon of an old building you are likely not going to get bright and airy images without the use of flash. So take your venue and wedding theme into consideration of how you want your wedding pictures to feel.
Know your price point
Obviously this a big deal. Planning a wedding involves making and sticking to a budget. If you don’t know your budget then you might end up going broke and that’s not a good way to start a marriage. Hello not so cute stress pimples and gray hair. This is always a touchy subject because I’m all for sticking to a budget and finding deals to save money. However, without going into too long of a tangent, if you cut corners on your photography and use a family friend who is just starting out then it’s quite possible that you won’t get the quality of images and experience that you deserve. I’m a firm believer in getting what you pay for. Your images will last forever and can make or break your entire wedding experience. Don’t forget about factoring in taxes for the budget (each state is different). Once you know what you can actually afford to spend on your photography and how much of a priority it is, then you can start the search.
Know your travel limits.
This goes hand in hand with your budget. Are you having a destination wedding? Are you looking for a local photographer or are you willing to pay for their travel expenses? Yes, it’s common for a photographer to charge for travel. Each photographer has their own structure with how and what to charge but it is extremely common. For example, if your wedding is local to your hometown (meaning it’s not technically a destination wedding) but your photographer will need to travel a decent distant to your wedding, it’s likely you will have to pay for their hotel or mileage. As well as if they are doing your engagement session, you might have to travel to them for that session. Again, each photographer is different but it’s important to know all of those things when searching!
Know what you want covered.
How many hours do you want your photographer with you on your wedding day? What’s most important to you – getting ready, ceremony, reception coverage? Do you want an engagement or bridal session? Knowing what you want covered will help you understand what each photographer offers in their packages/experiences.
Know what kind of end result you want
How do you want to receive your images after the wedding is all said and done? You’re now married and living the best life with your soulmate, most likely with your toes in the sand somewhere tropical. Ask your photographer (or stalk them for a while to learn their social media habits) when or if you’ll get a sneak peek. Does your photographer blog their weddings? PS – That’s an easy way to share your day with your friends and family without sending them the entire gallery of 1000 images. Will you receive your images in an online gallery, on a CD/Flash Drive, or in an album? Do you want any prints? Each photographer has their own process and workflow on how they deliver their weddings and what additional products they offer. Ask your photographer questions.
Most importantly, know what you like and don’t like and if you can’t tell from the initial interaction if that photographer is right for you, just ask questions. I know a lot of photographers who are like me and try to plan an in-person meeting right when you inquire. This helps not only you but the photographer(s) themselves. Your perfect wedding photographer will be right by your side, if not right in your face, on the most important day of your life so it’s super important that you know and trust them on a personal level. Just as much as you are looking for the perfect photographer, they are looking for their ideal client. It is important to make sure you are both on the same page and have the same interests, desires and philosophy for your wedding experience!