Where to begin….! Yes, it can be overwhelming. Most couples begin by selecting a venue and then find a photographer. Why? These two types of vendors tend to book up pretty far in advance, and they’re arguably the two most important vendors you will book. The venue sets the tone for your wedding, the photographer is responsible for documenting and preserving memories of this monumental day. While I’m no expert at choosing venues (I do have my opinions though :)….) I can give some great insight into choosing a photographer. Hint: pick me! JK-
Here are some helpful tips I have learned over the years – mostly by listening to my clients but also as an observer involved in the wedding industry.
Inspiration & Style
What photography style do you like? Maybe you’ve never hired a photographer before and have no idea what to look for. My advise: start a Pinterest board of wedding photography that you’re drawn to. After collecting lots of photos you will see a pattern starting to emerge. That’s your style!
Good photography is an investment. You will need to decide how important the photography piece is to you and what portion of your budget you are willing to allocate to it. Photographers usually only give their starting prices on their websites, but the starting price at least gives you an idea of whether that photographer will be in your price range. Base prices are just that, the price of their most basic package – so if you are looking for a lot of hours of coverage, albums or extras like engagement shoots expect higher prices packages to be double, triple or quadruple the base price listed on their website.
The fun part! Looking for the actual photographer you might hire. My advise is don’t stop at the first page of Google. Especially if you’re on a budget. There is some great talent out there that may not have their web SEO in tip top shape (we’re photographers not website experts after all!) or have the budget to pay for ads. So take the journey to the 3rd, 4th, 5th page of Google (or beyond!).
Once you found a few photographers that match your style and believe are in your price range, you can start making contact. Usually photographers will give you more information about pricing on the first point of contact. If you like what you see, contact said photographer and set up an interview. In person is always best, but phone or Facetime works too if you’re not in the same area. You’re just trying to get a feel of whether you click with this person. The last thing you want is a person who repels you following you around your whole wedding day! So- this piece is SUPER important! Do they take the time to chat with you, are they upfront about answering your questions, do they seem warm and friendly, easy going…. whatever it is that floats your boat personality wise… go with your gut feeling, we usually know we vibe with a person within the first few minutes of speaking with them.
Deciding On The Package
I’ve been asked many times, “How do we decide on how many hours of coverage we need?”. Other than the extras you want that’s the big question – and it requires you to sit down and make a tentative timeline. Ugh. or maybe Yay! (if you’re that type of person).
The real question is: What do you want pictures of that day? Well, doesn’t everyone want everything? Not always! Some couples want the whole day covered from the beginning stages of getting ready to the end of the night. Other couples just want the ceremony covered and some portraits afterward. My general guidelines are as follows, but as I said before make your timeline and base it on that.
Wedding Ceremony and Portraits: 1 Hour Coverage
Getting Ready, Ceremony, Portraits: 3 to 4 Hours Coverage
Getting Ready, Ceremony, Portraits & Beginning of Reception: 5-7 Hours Coverage
Getting Ready, Ceremony, Portraits & Most of Reception: 8 or more Hours
TIP – I tell my clients it’s usually not necessary to have their photographer stay to the very end because, well, err, at a certain point guests stop looking their best in the pictures as the night wears on if you know what I mean…..No one wants that!
After you decide on your the amount of coverage and extras you want you’re ready to pick a package. Most photographers will want some kind of deposit to secure your wedding date.
There you have it! Good luck on your journey finding the perfect wedding photographer for you! Hint: Hopefully it’s me 😉