5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer
“All of these photographers are within our price point, so I guess we could go with any of them.”
If you’re just starting to plan your wedding, then you may not have a good idea what options are available to you when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, arguably one of the most important members of your vendor team. After all, photographs are some of the few, tangible memories you can take home with you after the dance lights go out and the guests head home.
My Tips for Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer
As a Chicago wedding photographer, I’ve experienced first hand the highs and lows of wedding planning with over 50 couples, and I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for finding the perfect wedding photographer.
Do you like your photos bright and airy? Or dark, moody, and raw? Does your photographer shoot in a controlled, editorial style, or do they step back and candidly capture events in a more unposed, photojournalistic style? Review their portfolio and blog to familiarize yourself with their past work. Is it of a consistent style and quality? You should expect your images to look very similar to your photographer’s current portfolio. (You can check out my portfolio right here.)
When in comes to finding the perfect wedding photographer, your photographer’s personality is just as (if not more) important than their style. They’ll be your personal paparazzi for an entire day. Do you need someone who will be your go-to hype man or woman? Or would you prefer a steady, calming presence behind the camera?
You need to be certain your photographer is someone you can not only have a good time with, but that you can trust and rely on if something doesn’t go according to plan on the big day. And the best way to get a sense of your photographer’s personality by meeting them. Genuine connection is hard to build over email or via an about page, so sit down and talk, whether that’s in a coffee shop or on Zoom!
Remember, the stronger connection you have to your photographer as a friend and ally, the better job they’ll be able to do when it comes to serving you and documenting the first day of your new forever!
After your venue and catering, finding the perfect wedding photographer is often one of the biggest investments you’ll make toward the big day, so be sure you have a strong sense of the quality of your photographer’s work. You can’t usually redo your wedding photographs, so it’s better to partner with your ideal photographer who will help you create a carefully-curated collection of memories over someone who simply offers a larger amount of time or more images.
Some questions to consider: Will your photographer help you create the perfect wedding timeline so you have the best possible opportunities to make amazing images together? Will they individually retouch your images? Will they help you create an heirloom-quality album so your memories are preserved not only for your life, but for the next generation and beyond?
#4: Photo Delivery
After your wedding day, you’ll start counting down to that happy moment when your wedding gallery link arrives in your email. Finding the perfect wedding photographer who can deliver the right amount of images at the right time is another important factor in your decision-making process! Can your photographer provide you with a few “sneak peek” images the week after your wedding so you can share them when you update your relationship status on Facebook?
Beyond your online gallery and files for posting on social media, will your photographer provide you with printed images? It’s often best to get your prints straight from your photographer, as he or she will be able to help you ensure your memories are printed in the highest quality possible and be there to troubleshoot if anything goes wrong during the printing process.
Overall, though, is the issue of timing. How long does it take your photographer to deliver your images? Remember, faster isn’t always better. When asking your photographer how quickly they can deliver your images, ensure you understand exactly how they’re processing your images — these are your memories and you want them to look just as beautiful as the day they happened! As a general rule, I’m able to deliver a gallery of 600-800 fully retouched wedding images between 3 and 5 weeks after the big day.
#5: Get Clarity and Alignment
Above all, you need to make sure you and your photographer are on the same page when it comes to your vision and objectives for your wedding day, and that’s why asking the right questions is so important when it comes to finding the perfect wedding photographer. Your photographer will likely have an FAQ page to cover basic questions like, “What gear do you use?” or “Do you have insurance?” so plan to go deep and ask questions that help the two of you determine whether or not you’re a good fit for each other.
Here are some of my favorite questions to ask:
- What is your photography style? How much direction will you give us during our portrait sessions?
- What is your editing process like?
- What do you focus on when you photograph a wedding?
- What do you love most about wedding photography?
- What makes your photography business unique?
Remember, the answers to these questions are not always black-and-white or carved in stone, but asking them will help you get a better sense of your photographer’s style and will bring you one step closer to finding the perfect wedding photographer for your big day.
Have more questions about wedding photography? I’d love to answer them — you can get in touch right here.