By: Natalie McGrath
Photo By A Thousand Words Photography
Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life. The months of planning all come to a head in a couple spectacular hours, and you won't want to miss a moment. That's where your wedding photographer comes in. Wedding photos are such an integral investment because they freeze these magical moments in time and give you something beautiful to look back on long after the day has passed.
With your wedding photos holding so much importance, the process of finding the right photographer for you and your partner can certainly be a daunting task. As Colorado wedding planners, we want to share with you the inside scoop, and the tips and tricks we tell our clients as they go through the process of choosing their wedding photographer. Read on to find your perfect match.
Photo By Broken Antler Photography
Do Your Research
The number one piece of advice we share with our clients is to take your time and research as much as possible. This is a big decision, and not one that should be made on a whim or last minute. In general, it is advised to book your photographer nine months before the wedding. Give yourself a month (or two!) before then to really take your time and find a few top picks. Your wedding photographer is someone that will be with you and your partner throughout the whole day, so you want to make sure you hire someone who's energy matches yours.
While researching, be sure to look through two full galleries of any photographers that you're considering. Try to find albums with similar venues to yours to really see how the photographer might shoot your specific location. When looking through the galleries consider: do the couples look comfortable? Did the photographer capture moments similar to those you would want captured at your wedding?
It's always a good idea to search for reviews and recommendations. Consult with your wedding planner, venue coordinator, friends and family and ask if they have any recommendations. Wedding professionals are always sure to have a few. That being said, it's still important to make sure these recommended photographers still mesh with your style and energy before booking.
2. Find a Style That You Like
Before diving headfirst into your search, get an idea of what it is you're looking for. There are a variety of photography styles out there, and many photographers specialize in one or two. Figure out what styles you like and go from there. This will save you the headache of interviewing several photographers, only to find out they only shoot classical photography when you were going for dark and moody.
Some common wedding photography styles are as follows:
Dark and Moody
Black and White
These are just a few of the styles we see most often. Black and white can often be incorporated into other styles; photographers generally have a sense of which photos will "pop" in black and white. Aerial shots, using a drone, are also a unique choice. While you wouldn't want your whole wedding to be shot from the sky, it can be an interesting addition, especially for beautiful landscapes.
Photo By Lauren Leyba Photography
3. Set a Budget
It's recommended to have a general idea of your photography budget before researching photographers. This may sound obvious, but all too often couples will fall in love with a photographer only to discover that they are way out of budget. The average cost of a wedding photographer in the United States is $2,000, but there is no shortage of photographers to fit any budget.
Pro tip: You can input your photography budget into wedding search sites such as Wedding Wire or Zola, in order to make sure you're looking at photographers within budget.
Keep in mind that different photographers price their products differently. For example, some may have a flat fee that includes prints, high resolution photos, albums etc., while some may have an hourly rate and charge separately for deliverables. Photographers often have different packages for different needs, so be sure to ask.
4. Consider Booking Your Venue First
If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, consider nailing down your venue first. This may narrow down options, as you will likely want to book someone that is based in the area (though this is not always the case, many photographers travel!). You can also ask the venue for their preferred vendors list. This will be vendors that the venue has worked with before and can vouch for. However, beware of going blindly off of your venue's vendors lists without also conducting your own research; it's still important to make sure a photographer works well with you and your partner.
Photo By With Love Photo
5. Interview Your Top Picks
Once you have a list of potential photographers, it's time to set up consultation meetings. It's a good idea to set up at least two or three meetings, even if you're pretty sure you know who you want to hire. Someone may surprise you!
Some basic questions to ask during a consultation are:
Are you licensed and insured?
How many years of experience do you have shooting weddings?
What is the turnaround time for receiving back a full gallery?
Will we receive print rights?
Do you backup up your photos? If so, for how long?
How do you handle last minute changes?
You'll also want to ask to see a few full wedding galleries, especially if they've shot at your venue. You'll be able to get a better feel for how your potential wedding photos will look. Ask what is most important to them about wedding photos: is it the aesthetic, genuine reactions, telling a story? How does this align with the goals you have for your wedding photos? It's also a great idea to ask photographers what makes them different. What sets them apart from the crowd?
State any concerns you have upfront, and tell the photographer what is most important to you in your photos. Finally, get a general idea of when you can expect your photos and deliverables. On average, you can expect to see a sneak peak within a few days, your prints in around a month, and your album in around a year.
6. Schedule an Engagement Shoot
After deciding on a photographer, many couples opt to schedule an engagement shoot/ test shoot. This low-pressure shoot will allow you to see how you all mesh, and learn the photographer's personality and style. It's a great way to make sure you're loving the process, as well as the photographer. An added bonus to doing an engagement session is that it allows all three of you to get to know each other, so that by the time wedding day roles around, you'll already have built comfort and trust. This will give you and your fiancé a welcome boost of confidence on you're big day.
Photo By A Thousand Words Photography
Need some help getting started? Here's a list of our favorites:
Cristina Ivy Photography: cristinaivyphoto.com
With Love Photo: www.withlovephotographers.com
Matlai Photography: matlaiphotography.com
Sweet Like Pie Photogrpahy: sweetlikepie.com/home
Hayley Lev Photography: hayleylevphotography.com
The Scobeys: thescobeys.com
Gaby Marie Photo: instagram.com/gabymariephoto
Tina Joiner Photography: tinajoinerphotography.com
Jill Houser Photography: jillhouser.com
From the Hip Photo: fromthehipphoto.com
Sara Roshan: sarahroshan.com