Top 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photographer.

I know I'm new in the wedding industry, however, I've been in contact with people whose lives revolve around the wedding season! I've asked approximately 100 photographers what they wish clients would consider when contacting them and I've narrowed it down to the Top 10. 

Dealing with different vendors and people, especially if you're doing it yourself, can be overwhelming. So we know, as photographers, that adding to your stress is a huge negative. This is why it's important to set aside time to meet (in-person or video chat) with your wedding photographer, at least a month before your wedding day (the earlier, the better). This is for your benefit, as well as ours. During my meetings, I like to ask for a possible timeline as well as any other questions to get as much detail as I can. If you, the client, don't have a timeline I will work with you to create one. Wedding planning is new to you and we, as photographers, have done it a few times before so we are here to help and educate.

Below is a list of suggestions for the lovely Bride and Groom to keep in mind when it comes to planning their wedding and choosing their photographer:

  • “Unplugged Ceremonies” are always the top of a Wedding Photographer’s List. This is best for all parties involved. Too many times photographers miss key shots (kissing the bride, ring exchange) because guests are standing in the way with their smartphones in front of their faces.

For your wedding I, and every  photographer in the world, STRONGLY SUGGESTS that you tell your guests to silence and put their smartphones and tablets away before the ceremony starts. A ceremony is such an intimate moment and people have lost touch of what it truly means because they’re too busy trying to capture photos and videos. If you have hired a professional photographer, invite your guests to be present with you in this moment and put their phones away until the ceremony is over. You need not worry, your photographer will capture every single moment and detail of your day!

  • What's your budget? Which I think most people have set before they start their wedding photographer search. If you don't, you should! You may also want to check out this Huffington Post on how to choose your wedding date.

I know wedding photography can come off as expensive, but it is worth it in the end. Unless you are willing to gamble on hiring someone who is just starting out or a friend, I STRONGLY suggest hiring someone with a decent portfolio. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE check as many portfolios as you can to see if you like that photographers style and believe they can render the same results in your situation. You receive what you invest in. Your wedding is a moment you can’t get back, so hire someone you trusts will capture and be able to tell your story. What a lot of couples don’t realize is that a photographer's job does not stop when your wedding day is over. It goes well beyond that. Photographers invest a lot of time and equipment  in communicating with the couples, planning, editing photos, to delivering the finished product and following up.

  • Think about how important portraits are to you. Is there a first look before the ceremony? Do you want Bride & Groom portraits? Family Portraits?

  • How big is your wedding party? Oh my gosh. This has to be Top 5 for me. The larger the party, the more time it will take to get portraits done. So it is good to let your photographer know beforehand how many people are a part of your wedding party. This will give us time to come up with an efficient way to tackle portraits. 

  • Are you willing to arrange your schedule/day around portrait times. If the prep or ceremony is running behind, are you willing to cut reception time short in order to have enough time for portraits? These are things to factor in, if portraits are important to you.

  • Include your photographer when trying to decide ceremony times. Most people don’t think about it, but it’s not fun to get married outdoors at midday in the Summer. The sun is pretty high at that time and everyone involved will be miserable and sweaty. Let’s try to avoid midday at all costs, unless you're in a cooler state or indoors.

  • What type of wedding photos you'd like from the day. Such as poses during portraits and certain shots during the ceremony. A lot of photographers are on Pinterest. It would be easier to start a board and add your photographer to it. Also, keep in mind the venue and space we, the photographers, have to work with. Some churches don’t allow flash or the photographer to be up on the alter.

  • If you're having a reception, what type of lighting will there be? (i.e spotlights, ceiling lights, candles, string lights) THIS IS IMPORTANT. This will help your photographer determine what kind of equipment (lighting, lenses, bodies) to bring for the day to get the best possible shots.

  • Tell your photographer whether or not they should expect problems/drama with guests or family. Sounds silly, but it’s awkward for us to try to get family portraits done and have “mom & dad” who are no longer together or even friendly with each other in the same photo. Help me, help you avoid any altercations.

  • Save “well wishes” for the receptionI know it’s all exciting, but things may run a little smoother and even quicker if everyone would wait to congratulate and wish you well at the reception. This way we can immediately start with the family portraits and get to the wedding party portrait location(s) with extra time to spare, if possible.

Oh, Bonus Item..

  • If possible, book the same photographer for engagement, wedding, and honeymoonI, personally love this. To build a relationship with clients and truly be able to tell their story. Not only that, but your photos and look will be consistent. So keep that in mind when you get engaged. Find and invest in a photographer that is also willing to cover your wedding, when the time comes.

I may think of more suggestions later, but for now here’s “Part I.” I hope you found this list useful. And I hope you will keep these in mind when it comes to planning your wedding.

If you can think of something to add to the list, maybe it's something you've experience or wished you would have mentioned to your photographer before your wedding. Leave a comment below. More suggestions could only help us all in the long run!