6 Things to Look for When Hiring a Wedding Photographer
I had a really hard time finding a photographer for my wedding when I got married. I started looking less than a year before the wedding, which is a little late by most standards. It was hard to find available people. It was even harder to find people who had a diverse portfolio or even had any interracial couples in their portfolio at all.
I wanted a photographer to be able to handle my non-English speaking family and my husband's family as well. I wanted a photographer who had photographed people who look like me.
I looked at over 50 photographers, and I essentially hired the first person I found who had great work and a diverse portfolio. The photos ended up turning out amazing and I couldn't be happier with them!
But that's why I'm always changing my portfolio to be more inclusive and making sure that it's as diverse as possible.
Being a wedding photographer and having been through the process as a bride, I know how overwhelming hiring a wedding photographer can be. You just want to be able to trust that your photographer is going to get amazing photos of your special day, so you can relax and deal with the ten thousand other pre-wedding things you need to take care of.
Here are my 6 top tips on what to look for in hiring a wedding photographer so you can make that happen.
1. You have an open line of communication with them. This applies to all vendors, not just photographers. Are they responsive? Do they answer your emails? When I was looking for vendors, people would email back weeks later or not at all. This is super important because you're going to have last minute questions and there are going to be times when you're relying on their response to make another time-sensitive decision. An unresponsive photographer can hold up your entire planning process.
2. They plan for the unexpected. Make sure you ask them what happens if a freak accident occurs and they can't be at your wedding. Do they have a plan in place and a replacement? Are they insured? Most venues won't even let you bring a vendor unless they're insured because they know things can happen.
3. You love their galleries of already delivered weddings. This is important! You'll want to look through their full galleries of already delivered weddings so you know exactly what to expect. This also lets you see what the photographer focuses on. There may be a certain moment you care about more than your shoes being photographed right, so make sure you communicate that as well.
4. You hit it off with them in person or over the phone. I always recommend having a phone call or in-person meeting with a photographer first to make sure you get along, communicate clearly, and are on the same page. Not everyone needs an engagement session, but I always include a free one in my packages because I want to spend that hour before the wedding with couples to get over the photo-taking awkwardness and get used to each other.
I find that this creates an open dialogue that makes the wedding photos go much smoother. Since you've already hung out, you aren't getting to know each other on the wedding day. Bonus: you already have an idea from the engagement shoot of types of photos you liked or didn't like, so you can let the photographer know that they can skip a certain type of photo or focus on something else.
5. They have great reviews. Of course, this is key. Check out those reviews on Facebook, WeddingWire, The Knot, and A Practical Wedding to make sure couples are saying the photographer is great to work with and is going to deliver amazing work.
6. They have shot weddings in lighting environments similar to what you expect at your wedding. Ask the photographer how they would handle your specific situation. Most weddings start just before sunset, so often receptions are at night. Some photographers call themselves natural light photographers, essentially meaning that they don't use flash. Their evening photos will be more grainy. If that's not the aesthetic you want, you're going to be very disappointed to get those photos back. So make sure you find out what those photos will look like!
You'll also want to ask a potential photographer these questions about the details of the photos:
- How many photos will we get delivered?
- Will we get the digitals from the wedding?
- What size photos are we going to get?
- Do we need to get the prints from you or can we buy them somewhere else?
- How will the photos be delivered?
- What is the time frame for delivery?
A good wedding photographer is going to set you at ease, freeing you to enjoy your day knowing that all of your special moments are being captured.
Planning a wedding? I love meeting amazing couples and documenting the beautiful and authentic moments of this important day in your life. Get in touch here and let's talk about your wedding!