I know from experience and walking my friends through it, wedding planning can be super stressful! For me, making decisions was hard because everything seemed to permanent. I knew once I picked a venue, that was it, my one wedding in this life was going to be set on that stage- forever! Which for a girl who has trouble picking between two things to begin with, made the process even worse!
I’m no expert on picking all the other vendors, menus, arrangement and decor (although, I do love planning). However, I can speak to choosing the best wedding photographer for you, and what you should be aware of when reviewing your options. So here are my tips on “What to Look For When Picking a Wedding Photographer”
The first thing I’d look for when picking a wedding photographer is how they set up their packages. Most either base packaging on how many hours of coverage a bride will need (dress on at 2pm, ceremony at 5:30, reception at 6, special exit by 9= 7 hours, right?). Some others offer all day coverage with no set time spand (photographer shows up whenever for festivities you want covered begin and stays until the party is over).
There are pros to both options. Some couples may not want all that coverage and mostly wants shots of their ceremony because they are having a more intimate wedding and the focus for photography will be just the two of them. Others might have activities planned thoughout the day and while the smaller hourly packages start out looking like a better deal, the 12+ hour ones are more than another photographers “full day coverage” (does that make sense?) It really depends on the needs of your day and how extensive you want the photography coverage to be whether one option is better.
In my opinion having “full day coverage” is less stressful, because as a bride I wanted photos of EVERYTHING. I also wouldn’t want to worry about if we would have time for something. As a photographer I agree because, I try to build strong friendships with my brides over their engagement and by the time their wedding comes I want to be there to celebrate with them!
The second thing I think it’s pretty important is what you receive when your wedding is over. Do you get ALL the photos from your day, professionally processed, touch ed up and delivered in a gallery? Or maybe it’s 100 of your favorites, edited and the rest delivered as is? Or possibly none of the pictures are included, your package just includes the photography coverage and you purchase the images you like after reviewing them. Maybe this is better for you because you don’t want 100s of digital images as much as some nice prints and a few canvases. In my opinion, no one package is better over the other. Similar to my last point, it is going to depend on what you are looking for, just make sure you know what you are getting for your money.
This is simple and totally personal preference- if you want just digital files (with rights to print) to do what you please with or if you want physical prints, an album, canvases, etc. Just make sure you know what your photographer offers. My packages all include digital files but I can order any of the other products if you desire them.
If an engagement or bridal portrait session is something you are interested in, you’ll want to ask if they come included in wedding photography packages or if you have to add them on. Some photographers will always include one or both as part of an all-inclusive experience, while others have more of à la carte set up and you will have to add it on to your wedding day coverage. All of my packages include either engagement or bridal portraits and some include both.
Knowing how many photographers will show up on your day is important for logistics, and setting expectations of what your images will look like. Some photographers always bring a second shooter or assistant and that person is built into package pricing. Other photographers work solo mainly but offer a second shooter option for an additional fee. Bonus: I would also ask if they will be there photographer that shows up on your wedding day. That may sound silly but some companies have multiple photographers that work for them and book multiple weddings a weekend. Make sure if you want a specific person, that is who you are getting.
This one is probably not be a deal breaker, but I am a big promoter of setting expectations and over communicating. I have seen quite a large range in gallery turnaround times so I like to ask what theirs is when picking a photographer for myself. Bonus: If you are getting married near a holiday: Christmas, Mother’s Day, someone’s birthday, etc. it’s nice to know if you will have those images back in time to use them as gifts. (At least thats what we did, ha!) Not to mention a shot for your 1st Christmas card as a married couple!
Finally on least on the list is making sure you get to view some FULL wedding and engagement galleries shot by the photographer. Everyone’s website and social media is obviously going to have their best images, so it’s really important to see what didn’t make the cut. Are the images consistent, in focus, what is their style, do they capture more candid shots or posed images? Again, setting the correct expectations for what you expect from the photographer if you choose them to capture your wedding day.
So there you have it, seven of my best tips for things to consider when picking a wedding photographer. I hope this helps narrow down, or even make the decision easier. All I can say is this is going to be one of the best days of your life so make sure you have a photographer you trust and vibe with to capture every second of it!