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  • Writer's picturePaper Birch Collective

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Some brides may have the tendency to make the mistake of selecting their wedding photographer without researching what they’re spending on for their wedding. So often, brides buy a package thinking that they don't want everything included, but assume they’re getting a great value deal because it’s “all together.” In which case, that’s not how you properly choose a photographer for a wedding. Many do not stress enough that you must do your research before you make any decision, after all, it is an important day that brides want to cherish forever with the right photographer making their dreams come true.

Choose a style :

Before you start your research, you’ll need to make a decision on what type of photography style you prefer, which will help settle what kind of photography style you adore. Set some time aside gathering any kind of imagery you love, from decor shots to a fashion bloggers feed. Once every idea is gathered, try to focus and narrow certain ideas that catch your eyes but remember that you don’t necessarily need to narrow in on one particular style, since many photographers can do any special style that you request. After all, that’s what their specialty is, but make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in the specific style you request for.

Check previous clients appraisals and reviews :

Start your research by reading reviews from recent clients that they’ve worked with. As you are reading the review, make sure to read everything there is to know about the photographers work such as their blogs, website, Instagram, etc. it will help you give an idea what their styles are such as how they capture the moments important to you, like an emotional first look of the groom to the bride or like a father getting emotional handing off his daughter to the groom. Moreover, reading about client’s reviews and experiences with the photographer is a big tip. You have to see if the feedback is positive, how well the photographer responds, and how often they are engaging with their social media, such as instagram followers, etc.

Set up an interview :

Quite frankly not all the decisions can be made on looks alone, it’s a must that you meet your potential photographers in person. If you mostly admire their work as you are observing on their social media and their fees are the right amount you’re looking for, call and set up an interview with them so you can sit down with them and explain how important your big wedding day is. Share your thoughts and ideas with them so they can get the idea of how you would want your photography to be, but most importantly make sure the photographer you choose has an open availability that matches your wedding date. If that’s not the case, ask if they have anyone they recommend with a similar style you’re looking for. Be prepared to set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work, talk about your venue, and what you imagine of how you want the photos.

Ask to see a full gallery :

Never base your decision on one what you see in a photographer’s highlight gallery or album. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a few full galleries from real weddings they’ve shot so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. When reviewing the photographer's album, look for the highlight moments you want to capture such as smiling shots of friends and families, capturing people’s emotions during the wedding ceremony, and/or the first father-daughter dance during the reception. It’s crucial to look for the quality of the work rather than the quantity like the crispness of images, meaningful compositions, and of course, good lighting, not washed-out pictures where small details are blurred. You want to make sure that the photographer captures subjects looking relaxed and natural rather than having pictures of someone who isn’t relaxed or feels uncomfortable with getting their photos taken. After all, you wouldn’t want to show your future kids and grandkids horrible pictures of your big day.

Get to know your photographer :

The most important element you should keep in mind is the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. It’s most important that you want to guarantee that your photographer is a good listener and isn’t afraid to ask a lot of questions when working with you. Most photographers should be excited by your vision when having a discussion. Honestly, the best photos are with a professional who has a firm catch of social graces but isn’t afraid to go above and beyond to capture unique and amazing photos. Evidently, someone who will put you at ease and doesn’t act arrogant or irritate you in any way. The biggest tip is scheduling a test run, as a good option, to see how your photographer engages. It is also a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and to feel comfortable having your photo taken, especially if the bride and groom are camera shy.

Discuss pricing :

Lastly, you won’t be able to have an exact price until you’re certain of what you want. Keep in mind packages can range from $1000-$14,500+. When interviewing potential candidates, the first thing you should be required to ask is the general range based on the photographer’s standard shooting fee and package, including rates for photo albums you think you want, and the amount of coverage you’re hoping to book them for either day of. It’s highly important to keep in mind what’s included in the package, plus additional features like an engagement shoot and special effects. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding day from when you start getting ready, until you make your grand exit from the reception. Many photographers offer a price list that details several different packages at different price points.

Choosing a photographer, especially a wedding photographer, can be stressful at times. But at times, when you feel like you found the right photographer, it can be very rewarding to cross out another “to do” on your wedding list. Therefore, always trust your gut if you feel like the photographer is the right fit for you and your fiance’s wedding day.


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