A lot goes into planning your dream wedding. From the venue to the flowers, the menu to the dress, the details matter! But perhaps few things matter more than the work your dream wedding photographer does to memorialize your special day. After all, those images last forever. Choosing a wedding photographer whose style you love and who goes out of her way to get to know you and your love story will make the difference between photos that stay tucked away in a dusty attic and photos that will become cherished heirlooms.
Know Your Dream Wedding Photographer’s Style
Are you drawn to photos with a bit of a moody, dark edge? Or are you someone who prefers soft, natural lighting? Is it important to you that your photographer is able to shoot in film? Or do you prefer all digital images? Compare your desired style to the portfolios of any perspective wedding photographers. If you’re not sure about your style, try using Pinterest or other image-based searches to determine the photos your most drawn to.
Be sure to review entire galleries of any prospective wedding photographer’s work, not just their Instagram profile. Instagram is where photographers showcase the very best of their work from each wedding, so getting the bigger picture may require you to research a photographer’s website or ask for access to full galleries.
Know Your Budget
This is a big one. Whether you’re booking a wedding venue or hiring your dream wedding photographer, you should have a solid idea of your budget (or budget range) first. If you know your budget is $2,500 and you’re drawn to a photographer whose packages start at $5,000, find another photographer with a similar style that’s within your budget. In essence, couples should keep an open mind and try to be flexible when booking a photographer. Imagine getting your hopes up that an amazing photographer who is out of your budget will be willing to give you a discount only to have your hopes dashed. Once you have your heart set on a particular photographer, it’ll be difficult for anyone else will be able to live up to your expectations.
Know Your Wedding Venue
The location of your wedding often determines the type of lighting available. Sure, a good wedding photographer knows her stuff when it comes to creating the type of images your looking for under most lighting circumstances. But you can’t expect her to work miracles. If your venue is dark and moody, odds are you’re going to have moody photos. If you want soft, natural lighting, then your would ideally have some natural lighting available for your wedding photographer to work with. At the end of the day, if you’re choosing (and paying) your photographer for a specific style, your venue shouldn’t stray too far from that style.
Do Your Research
Once you know your dream wedding photography style, your budget, and you’ve booked your venue, it’s time to make a list of the photographers you love! Research their websites to better understand their style, packages, pricing, and personality. If you think they may be a good fit, contact them with an inquiry to see if their available for your wedding date and willing to chat with you!
Plan to Book Your Dream Wedding Photographer Early
When it comes to booking your dream photographer, the earlier the better. Never has this been more true than now, when most photographers are backed up with reschedules from COVID. The ideal timeline for booking your photographer is within 9-12 months of your wedding, which allows time for you to book an engagement session with your dream wedding photographer (usually part of the wedding photography package) and send out save the dates!
Since booking your venue often determines your wedding date, you’ll want to make sure that’s taken care of first. Also, consider booking your event planner, who may have a list of preferred vendors for whom she may be able to give you a discounted rate. If your event planner doesn’t have a list of preferred vendors, she can give you honest feedback about a wedding photographer you’re considering.
Meet Prospective Wedding Photographers In Person First
The best wedding photos happen when you’re comfortable with your photographer. If you meet your photographer over a cup of coffee and could envision yourself being friends with her, that’s a great sign! Sometimes, you may just not “click” with someone, and that’s okay too! Your photographer also wants to get a good feel for whether you’re the right fit for her. Most of the time, if you’ve already done your research, things will work out. But if things just don’t feel right, a true professional will point you in the direction of another photographer who may be a better fit.
Ask Lots of Questions
It’s great to have a list of questions that aren’t too specific. Some topics you might address are:
- Photography style
- How your photographer handles stress
- Package Options
- Lighting Experience and Solutions to any potential issues (see “Know Your Wedding Venue”)
- Recommended Vendors
- Timeline Recommendations
- How long it takes to receive your wedding gallery after the wedding
Be skeptical of a wedding photographer who promises you the world without evidence to back up her answers, because odds are she’s not going to be able to give you everything you want in every scenario. It’s better to choose someone who is honest and good at managing expectations. You want someone who cares about making you happy, so she should be willing to offer solutions to any potential issues, but it’s much better to have a wedding photographer who will be open with you about why she can’t or won’t give you every single thing you’re looking for.
Are You Ready to Book Your Dream Wedding Photographer?
At EmmiClaire Photography, you can be sure that I care about your wedding day as much as you do. If you are looking for your dream wedding photographer near Richmond, VA, contact me today and let’s connect!