Category: Planning & Etiquette
Choosing a wedding photographer is like choosing a maid of honor. You want your photographer to be someone who just gets you—from your style preferences to your pet peeves and all the little quirks in between. Someone who knows you will be able to capture stunning, unique-to-you photos that you and your partner will want to look back on across your happily-ever-after years.
Here are five essential steps for finding a photographer whose style and skills are a perfect match for you (and your wedding).
1. Budget for every hour.
When you start researching photographers, establish a rough budget for documenting your special day. Are you willing to sacrifice a few snapshots for splurge-worthy live music or a midnight snack for your guests, or are you eager to capture every heartfelt moment and will spare no expense to make it happen? Whatever your take, know that you’ll have to budget for every hour your photographer spends with you, including food and breaks. It’s also a good idea to add a small cushion of time to account for traffic delays, misplaced vows or any of the other nuptial mishaps that could happen on your otherwise perfect day.
2. Meet a few photographers in person.
Search out a few photographers in your price range and schedule in-person meetings. The chemistry between you and your photographer can be (almost) as important as the chemistry between you and your partner—and you just can’t make a meaningful connection via email or phone. Ask questions like: How would you describe your photography style? What is your favorite part of a wedding? How do you deal with stressful parts of the day? Remember: Your wedding photographer will be with you almost the entire day. They’ll see everything from your “I do” moment to the loving glances between you, family and friends, so pick someone you like and trust—and with whom you can truly relax at go.
3. Pick a style that feels right for you (and your venue).
Before you exchange vows with a photographer, drill down to the details. The wedding venue is a good place to start because the setting—and more specifically, the lighting—will determine your photographer’s strategy. Are you planning a breathtaking sunset ceremony, or will you dance the night away in a chic ballroom? Realize that a photographer who primarily shoots outdoor weddings might not have much experience in dimly lit environments (and vice versa). You should also know the style of photos you want. Are you looking for dark, dramatic photos that will wow you for years to come? Tell your photographer you want artistic shots, and you aren’t afraid to get creative. Or maybe you’re looking for candids that feel comfortable and natural?
SEE MORE: Venues & Vendors Spotlight: Texas Wedding Photographer Allen Doberenz or visit our Photographers and Videographers page to discover talented types from the Greater Austin and Bastrop area.
4. Make a list of your shots.
The shots on your list aren’t the only pictures your photographer will snap, but they’re the ones you most definitely want for your wedding album and to hang on your walls. Classic wedding shots include photos of the wedding party getting ready, the big reveal and the first dance—among countless others. You can look through books, blogs and friends’ wedding photos for ideas, or you can ask your photographer to recommend shots that will match your style and venue. The more specifics you can share with your photographer about what you want, the better they can deliver on your photos. Just be reasonable, knowing that there’s only so much time in the day, and the must-haves will be supplemented with stunning in-the-moment shots you couldn’t have even dreamed of choreographing.
5. Get everything in writing.
While it may feel a little stiff, a wedding photography contract is essential to establish clear expectations between you and your photographer. Your written agreement will prevent any miscommunication about your day-of plan and ensure you get what you pay for. The contract should outline details like your wedding date, location and number of hours budgeted. Describe your agreed-upon shot list and any other specifics like timing for breaks and travel arrangements (if you’ll be shooting at multiple locations). After the wedding, how and when will you receive your photos? Will you be able to access them online? Who owns the rights? Could you submit your photos to a wedding blog (such as Lost in Love Weddings)? The contract should answer these questions. You and your photographer should also agree on a cancellation and refund policy. Once everything is in writing, sign the dotted line!
Whatever your tastes, investing the time up front to find the right photographer will pay off in big ways. If you feel comfortable and confident with your wedding-day paparazzi, your photos will show it. And unlike the flowers or food, your photos will last a lifetime.