I know most of you are probably on top of your wedding planning game. If you’re here, chances are that you’ve at least started your search for a wedding photographer. But if you haven’t—don’t panic! I’m here to help. Some of you might be asking, ‘where do I start? What questions should I ask the photographer?’ To keep you calm, collected, and frown-line free, I put together this list of 20 helpful tips:
1. Have an idea of the style or theme for your wedding. Figure out what kind of photography style you like: natural and clean, airy, whimsical, candid, classic, dramatic, dark and moody, etc
2. Ideally, have a venue for your ceremony and/or reception already booked.
3. To Instagram! Or any other social media platform, really. Look for #weddingphotographer, #weddinginspiration, and/or any tags related to your location (e.g. #LAphotographer). This is the time to put those social media (cough cough—stalking) skills to good use.
4. Once you’ve found a few you like, visit their websites. Read their “about” pages to get a feel for their personality and style. Look for reviews and recommendations.
5. Reach out to photographers at least 6 months in advance. If your date is in peak season (late May – August), book much earlier (approx. 10 – 12 months). As fashionable it is to be late, it’s a huge faux pas to leave a booking to the last minute—you might end up with your second cousin’s kid who’s “really good at taking selfies.” *cue shudder*
6. When you inquire into availability and pricing, tell the photographer a little bit about yourself, and what you like about their photos and/or style. Tell them about your vision for your day.
7. Set up a call / meeting / video chat with the “finalists.” You want someone talented, of course, but are they communicative and honest? Can you be yourself around them? Do they love Game of Thrones? Do they think Jim from The Office is super dreamy? These are important questions, guys!
8. Do they know how to direct people who are awkward in front of a camera? (Let’s be honest—most of us have no idea what to do with our hands).
9. Do they include a second photographer? An engagement session? I believe having an engagement session is so important. The wedding day will go so much smoother if you already have experience with each other. Oh, and if you’ve got a good side, you’ll be able to voice that before the big day so we can show off those angles!
10. Ask them about their favorite moments to photograph at a wedding. This is a good way to get a feel for their personality and shooting style.
11. Do they offer different packages? What’s included in the packages? Can you customize a package to meet your budget? Don’t forget to factor tax into your budget!
12. What do they charge for travel? Do they work destination weddings (if this applies to you)?
13. Do they deliver digital files? What’s the delivery time?
14. Do they offer items à-la-carte: extra hours, albums and prints, boudoir shoot? Make sure you ask how much each item costs.
15. Ask to see a full wedding album. If the photographer has a “fine-art” vibe, for example, they might not include candid shots and family portraits on their site. You might really want that photo of you smearing cake all over your new spouse’s face!
16. How long does it typically take for the photos to be delivered after the wedding? Do you have to order prints exclusively from the photographer, or are you free to print them elsewhere? CAVEAT: for the love of all that is good, do not print them at Walmart.
17. READ YOUR CONTRACT. Thoroughly. Make sure you and your partner understand the pricing and conditions—don’t leave them out of this decision!
18. If you’ve been speaking with several photographers, let the others know ASAP. It’ll be a little awkward, but it’s better to let them know so they can free up the date.
19. Work together with your photographer to plan and schedule the day. Let them know / send them a list of the photos and groupings you want. Tell them about any “absolutely do not pair these two together” situations (maybe nana really hates that one cousin—it happens).
20. Trust them to do their work and relax knowing you’ll be taken care of.
Sometimes you just want a gal who’s going to tell you when your mascara is starting to smear and make sure your dress is fluffed properly. Most of all, you want a photographer that’s got your back 100%, and will be there to answer any questions you have along the way. Psst—that’s me. Contact me here and let’s chat— I promise you, your special day will be all that you imagined and more.