How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

Your wedding is going to be a ceremony based around your love for for your partner and you’re going to remember the day for the rest of your life in your heart, however, having photos of it is a great way to take yourself right back to that feeling of love and magic.

When it comes to choosing a photographer, it can often be a difficult task: no one wants to receive their photos back and not be happy with the result. Leading on from our recent blog about 13 Moments You Need From Your Photographer, we wanted to give you some tips and advice when it comes to choosing the right person in the first place to help capture one of the most important days of your life.

Before you search for a photographer, the first thing you’ll need to do is have a rough idea of the style or aesthetic that you want for your wedding photos to showcase: are you after a classic feel or a dark, moody dramatic vibe, or maybe something else? Answering this question allows you to narrow down the style you're after, which will make it far easier to find the right photographer for you.

bride in white wedding dress holding a bouquet of flowers with bridesmaids in white gowns on a country road

(Pictured: Euphorie Real Bride Sandie with her bridesmaids)

Finding your style

You might be worried here: what if you don't know what style fits you? Well, a great and easy way to start discovering the general aesthetic you might want for your wedding photos is to head over to Pinterest or Instagram. On Instagram, you can search out some of the popular wedding pages (or Bridal brands) to see how real brides look in the photos from their special day. One easy trick to find many in a single place is to find bridal pages with large followings and go to their ‘Tagged’ section on Instagram, that way you can scroll through photos of real people or styled shoots of models and see many different photography styles in one place. Alternatively, you can go to Pinterest and simply search things like 'wedding day portraits' or something similar and have a look through the wedding day layouts from thousands of Brides to see what catches your eye. Don't forget there are also an incredible amount of great wedding blogs out there that can help push you in the right direction too, so don't be afraid to spend some time reading and researching to be sure you find exactly what you're after. When you do find the images that give a clear idea of what you want, save them, screenshot them or pin them to a board on Pinterest for later.

Instagram tagged feed for Bridal brand Euphorie Studios showcasing bridal gowns

(Using the 'Tagged' feature on Instagram, you can see a varying array of real wedding day photos and styled bridal photoshoots by models + photographers) 

Instagram feed for bridal designer Keooula from Euphorie Studios

 (How to find the 'Tagged' section on Instagram pages: Simply go to the page you want to check out and look for the 'Tagged' section!)

Figuring out a budget

Once you’ve taken some time to have a look at different ways other couples have chosen for the style of their wedding photography and found one that you like, you’ll be able to start researching photographers to decide if they will be the right fit for what you have in mind. A big factor to decide upon here first is your budget. How much are you wanting (or willing) to spend for the photos taken on your wedding day? Some brides will fly photographers to the location of the shoot/wedding from interstate or even overseas while others may want a local photographer. It’s all up to individual preference and budgeting restrictions.  

Bride being photographed in wedding dress near water and green plants by woman with hand tattoos

(Pictured: Model - Jade Luangsay | Photographer - Leanne Hendrix) 

Choosing the right person

After you've settled on a budget and are ready to take that step further, it's time to really do some research on the specific photographers you'll be considering. If you plan on using a local photographer, you can start researching photographers in the areas near where you’ll be having your wedding, however, if you’re planning on flying someone in then this will result in a far bigger pool of people to choose from but at least finding your specific style will help narrow this down.

Be sure to do your homework when it comes to finding the right person for the job. Take your time and find the best fit for the ideas you have in mind both with your photos and also your wedding day. Be sure to check their social media presence, reviews, website etc to get a clearer picture of what they offer and what their style is, as well as what people are saying about them. Reviews especially are a good way to see what past clients have to say about any particular photographer and their style, skills, timeliness and more.  

Once you’ve found some photographers you like the style of, set up an interview! It can be something informal like a coffee and a chat or it can be a proper meeting (if they’re overseas or interstate, organise a FaceTime call). Take some of the images you came across in your research journey so that you can show them for reference to see if it’s something that fits their aesthetic and style. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, a good example of some things you may ask a potential photographer are. 

1. Be sure to check that they’re available on your wedding day

Make sure you’ve set a date (and venue!) for your special day prior to meeting with or contacting photographers so that you can provide them with all of the information and ensure that they will have your date free to be booked in. You’ll also want to ask the photographer if they will have any time restrictions on the day and how long they will be there for. You’ll also want to make sure you give them not only the times of things like ceremony and reception but also hair & make up so that you can get the full range of photos on your big day.

2. How many people and cameras will be used on your wedding day by the photographer (and their crew if they have one!)

If you’ll be having a very small, intimate ceremony, it can be awkward if a photographer shows up with a team of multiple people that you didn’t plan on physically fitting in with the proceedings of your wedding day. Plan ahead by simply asking a photographer(s) how many people they’ll bring or if they’ll be doing it alone - be sure to organise timing it so you can get photos of both your morning prep as well as your partners!

3. What is their policy on refunds and cancellations

As a precaution, you’ll want to know what happens if there is a cancellation (on either side) and what their policy is for refunds in the event that something unforeseen happens.

4. What will they do with your wedding photos

Some brides may not want their wedding photos shared online without permission, if you feel the same way this is an important question to ask up front to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding. We've had plenty of brides come through Euphorie Studios to have their gowns made and then share the images of the wedding for us to post on our social media afterwards and we've also had some brides who would just rather stay private and they'll share the photos but not want them posted. Both of these are totally fine and reasonable so it may be a good idea just to be clear up front about the expectations of what will be done with your images. 

5. How long will it take for you to have your photos back after your wedding

No one wants to have the awkwardness of chasing up a photographer or not knowing how long it may take to get their final images back so avoid confusion by having this information beforehand. You’ll also want to know how many final images are expected to be included.

6. What is included in their packages and how much will the total cost be

Planning and budgeting for a wedding is stressful enough in it’s own right but having additional costs come up unexpectedly can cause a lot of trouble for many couples. Be sure to outline all the potential costs up front, including things like a travel allowance if necessary. It’s always advisable to have a written contract in place to protect both parties and outline the expectations, costs etc. 

7.  What will the photographer need on your end?

Most photographers will have everything they need to get their job done perfectly, but it’s not a bad idea to check in advance so you can keep everything running smoothly. They may need a designated area to set up or something specific - planning for this in advance is a key to ensuring everything runs the way you want it to without any extra unnecessary work on your big day. Also, if you plan on feeding them at your reception, being aware of dietary needs is always a good thing.

8. Where photos will take place

You’ll want to make sure you and the photographer have planned out where photos will be taken; from the morning prep, to the ceremony and reception and also any other places you may have in mind. Be sure to plan out how you’ll get your bridal party to the location if you have one (as well as the photographer!) To avoid any hassle and stress on the day. For our Brisbane brides, we've compiled a list of 8 Stunning Places For Wedding Photography that might help inspire you if this is something you're still figuring out!

room with doors open and wedding gown hanging on mirror

(Pictured: a custom wedding gown created by Euphorie Studios)

Bonus tips

Don’t be afraid of asking the photographer personally for references or reviews from past clients your photographer has had - photographers with a solid portfolio and plenty of experience will always have past work and reviews or references that they’ll be able to show you. You could possibly even ask to see some of the full wedding albums they made for a more complete idea of what they can offer you but this is really up to the photographer if that's something they're willing (or able) to share!

One thing to keep in mind: we’ve spoken to numerous brides that we’ve created wedding dresses for that have told us they regret not having their photographer take more detail shots of their wedding dress. If this is something that might be important to you, don’t forget to (politely) ask the photographer to ensure he gets some close-ups of details (front, back & sides usually) so that you can always have the full photographic view of your dress for years to come.

Also another tip, while common, that's still a good thing to keep in mind: Create a hashtag for your wedding day and all the events that are a part of it. For example, #samanthaandlaylaswedding or even something more creative that has 0 posts on Instagram. By doing this, you can let your guests and friends know and keep an archive on social media you can go back to any time you want to relive your big day through the lens of those you invited to attend it while also having your own wedding photo album from your photographer.

Make sure you keep in mind that quality comes with a price tag: some photographers can be quite expensive, especially those with a lot of experience under their belt so be prepared to spend a lot of time searching to find the right fit for your budget.

Ultimately, the decision on who you want to photograph your wedding will come down to you and your fiancé and your personal preferences on the style of photography you’d like. Take your time to do the research and it’s highly likely that you will find someone that suits your needs and gives you exactly what you envision for that day when you’re walking down the isle in your wedding gown. Trust your intuition and make a decision that works for you. Remember, the goal is for you and the photographer to work together to create a great collection of images that serve as reminders for your big day, so always keep the lines of communication open once you have settled on the photographer you want!

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