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How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer

As you start to plan your wedding, you realize that there are many options out there with no idea where to begin. I will take you step by step on how to find the perfect photographer for you.

Step 1: Make sure your overall budget is set. Many couples make the mistake of just saying I want to spend X on a certain vendor without even know anything about that specific vendor category. You don't know what you don't know. There are many reasons why a photographer or any vendor in the wedding industry for that matter has certain prices. If you love a specific photographer and photography is a priority in the planning process to you, don't hesitate to book them.

Step 2: If you do not have a specific photographer in mind, this is where referrals come into play. If you loved your friend's wedding photos, ask them how their experience was working with their photographer. Remember to keep in mind that phrase I just mentioned in step 1 though. Ask your venue and your planner. Vendor referrals are key. This means they had a pleasant experience working with them, and would want to work with them again. For example, as a planner, I refer very specific photographers based on what my clients are looking for because they went above and beyond for my clients.

Step 3: Schedule a call with a few different photographers. You want to feel comfortable and at ease working with them. They will be with you most during the day capturing everything. If you don't feel comfortable with them, your photos will show that. I do not recommend working with a company that hires out photographers to associate shoot your wedding right off the bat. You typically will get inexperienced photographers, and the editing style may not be consistent with what you wanted.

Step 4: Once you decide on a photographer, make sure to check the contract carefully. As a planner, I do this for my clients/will only refer photographers I know what they are getting. Things I always like to check in contracts: sneak peek and full gallery delivery date, what happens if they have to cancel (will they have an associate shoot for them), and how many photos they will delivery in the full gallery. If your photographer is saying that your 8 hour package will get you 400 photos, that is not enough.

Other details to consider:

Will your photographer bring and provide umbrellas for you and your wedding party if it rains? As planners, we make sure we have enough umbrellas on hand but it is always good for the photographer to have them too.

Editing style and shooters. Make sure that you will be receiving a gallery of photos with the editing style of the photographer you chose and loved.

Timing: When you are doing an 8 hour day, you will have to decide if you want less getting ready shots or dancing shots. If hair and makeup ends at 1 PM but your wedding goes until 10 PM, you will have to make a decision what is more important. If you want those getting ready moments and don't have a special exit at the end of the night, opt for them to leave at 9 PM. If getting ready isn't as important as the dancing portion/end of the night, have them start at 2 PM. Your planner should create the perfect timeline flow-wise for you alongside the photographer.

Having more than one photographer: This should be mandatory in my opinion. From getting ready (you don't typically get ready together and those moments are typically happening at the same time) to ceremony angles (standing at the alter seeing you for the first time vs you walking down the aisle), this will take stress off you that the photographer got the shot and for the photographer as well. This is a small detail that can have a huge impact on your timeline if not planned out ahead of time.

Have a shot list. These are the most important moments you want your photographer to capture. They will most likely be sending you a questionnaire asking you these questions. Do not forget to fill this out, especially the family shot list.

Finally, you get what you pay for. If you are just hiring your family photographer that has done some weddings, you most likely will end up disappointed. These moments don't happen twice so make sure to take the time when choosing the person who is responsible for capturing and preserving those moments for you.

Photo Gallery Shown: Jen Tee Photography


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