How To Choose A Wedding Photographer
We all want perfect photos of ourselves on our wedding day. So with that in mind, the big question is, 'how do I know I've chosen the right photographer?'. We're going to take you through how to choose a wedding photographer and everything you will need to keep in mind to find the best person for your wedding photos.
When choosing a photographer, it can often be difficult: no one wants to receive their photos back and not be happy with the result. So, leading on from our recent blog about 13 Moments You Need From Your Photographer, we wanted to give you some tips and advice when 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.
(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 what you're after in a photographer. Then, 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.
(Using the 'Tagged' feature on Instagram, you can see a varying array of real wedding day photos and styled bridal photoshoots by models + photographers)
(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 significant factor in determining upon here first is your budget. How much do you want (or willing) to spend on 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.
(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 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 your ideas. 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 an excellent 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 formal meeting (if they're overseas or interstate, organize 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. An excellent example of some things you may ask a potential photographer is:
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 before 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. You'll also want to make sure you give them the times of things like ceremony and reception and hair & makeup 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!)
For example, suppose you are having a small, intimate ceremony. In that case, 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. So plan by simply asking a photographer(s) how many people they'll bring or if they'll be doing it alone - be sure to organize 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 their policy for refunds if 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 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 afterward. On the other hand, 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 fine and reasonable, so it may be a good idea to be clear upfront 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 are stressful enough in their 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 upfront, including things like a travel allowance if necessary. It's always advisable to have a written contract 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. For example, 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 you will take photos. From the morning prep to the ceremony and reception and 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!
(Pictured: a custom wedding gown created by Euphorie Studios)
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 even ask to see some of the whole wedding albums they made for a 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 detailed 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, is 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 while also having your wedding photo album from your photographer.
Make sure you keep in mind that quality comes with a price tag: some photographers can be pretty 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 you will likely find someone that suits your needs and gives you exactly what you envision for that day when you're walking down the aisle 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!