You're engaged! So exciting!! Now is the time to begin planning the wedding of your dreams. There are so many aspects to planning a wedding: finding the perfect dress, deciding on the bridal party's attire, picking colors, choosing flowers, the cake, and many more. It can all seem a bit overwhelming. I'm here to help you start your journey to finding the perfect wedding photographer for you.
The first thing you want to determine before looking for a photographer is the style of photography you like the best. Do you want posed shots? Formal? Traditional? Or Spontaneous and candid? Do prefer bold, bright images? Or a light, soft look? Or maybe dark, moody pictures? Knowing the types of images you want from your wedding day will help you narrow down your selection and can make it easier to find a photographer that specializes in the style you love.
Referrals & Reviews
Referrals and reviews, for the most part, go hand in hand since many people who refer a photographer to you will give you their review on the spot as well. Your friends and family will likely be the first ones you will get referrals from, and typically you can trust them not to refer someone who they would not use again. Also consider asking your wedding planner or other vendors you have already booked, or are considering booking, for some wedding photographer referrals. Most often photographers will build relationships with different planners, venues, caterers and so on which can give you more confidence in working with the photographer they recommend.
Once you have a nice list of potential photographers you will want to start doing your research. Look for them on social media, visit their website and read over any reviews past couples have left. This is the easiest and fastest way to begin cutting down your list since you will be able to tell from their website and social media presence if they are the type of photographer you may be interested in working with.
Narrow Down Your List
Once you have done your research you have probably narrowed down your list, now you will want to reach out to them. While budget is a factor, don't focus too much on price to begin with. Your first contact is to see if they are available for your wedding date and to provide you with additional information. The way a photographer responds to your initial contact can also be telling as to how professional they are. These responses can be a good way to judge if that photographer is someone you will want to trust shooting your most important day.
Meet with Your Top Picks
Meeting with your photographer before you make your final decision can save you a lot of stress and headaches later on down the road. When you meet with your photographer in person you can get a better idea of what it will be like to work with them and a good sense of their personality. This is also an ideal time to view full portfolios of their previous work and see examples of their products. It is an important step in making your final decision and one that many couples skip over because they do not realize how beneficial it can be to actually meet the photographer they will be working with. If you are planning your wedding from a distance, consider doing a phone or Skype consultation.
One of the main things you will want to consider is how well you and your photographer will be able to work together. Be sure to take personality into consideration because you will be spending a majority of your wedding day with your photographer, more time than most couples realize, so you want to make sure that your personalities mesh well.
Make a pros and cons list of each of your top picks. There are a number of things you will want to take into consideration such as:
Packages - What does each photographer offer on the wedding day and afterwards? What is included in their packages or do you create your own package? How long will they be at the wedding? What products, prints, or albums are included? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the standard package rates are as well as what you can expect to pay for any additions you may need or want to add on.
Post Production - Here you will not only want to compare how long it will take for you to get the proofs back to review, but also how you will be able to review these images. You will also want to know how many images you can expect to review, how many of these images will be retouched, how long does it take for album design, how long to receive your final products, and how you can get prints made.
Making Your Final Decision
After you’ve reviewed your pros and cons, trust your gut feelings. Choose the photographer that you believe will not only be able to capture your big day in a way you will want to remember for years to come, but also one you will want to share your big day with.
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