A wedding photographer’s guide for finding the perfect wedding photographer

Updated: Feb 4

Yep, that’s right, I am a newly engaged wedding photographer, searching for my own wedding photographer… & while I have a few amazing Colorado wedding photographers in mind, here is a guide to how I’ll decide & how I think you should too!

Step 1: Decide that wedding photography is important and understand that quality photography is an investment

Finding vendors for your wedding day should be an exciting endeavor and is perhaps the most important part of wedding planning (after finding the perfect venue, of course). Vendors include wedding photographers and videographers, wedding planners, florists, cake bakers, jewelers, hair and makeup pros, stationers, caterers, lighting designers (the list goes on and on).

Imagine this: You’ve taken the time to hand select an incredibly talented and passionate group of artists to help design and craft a day that is representative of your love and style. You and your wedding vendors truly bring your vision to life! You live it up and have a magical wedding day celebrating your forever love with the most important people in your life.

Sounds great, right?

Until…you don’t have any quality photos to admire from your wedding day. There are no images that truly bring you back to those moments. None that reflect the vision you worked so hard to create. You had family members and friends travel from all over to celebrate a day that means so much and ONLY HAPPENS ONCE. Every anniversary you regret not hiring a professional photographer to capture your day (or not hiring the right one for you!)

Don’t make this mistake...INVEST IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER!

Step 2: Background check: Do your research and ask questions

Seriously, though…do your research!

At the end of the day, your budget for photography is going to matter. Professional photographers who have been in the industry longer and have demonstrated consistent high-quality work are going to cost more money.

According to @weddingwire: Most couples spend between 1,150-3,000 on their wedding photographer.

Regardless of budget, here are the questions you should be asking when hiring a photographer for your wedding day:

1. How many years of consistent photography experience does this person have?

Is this someone who has only dabbled in photography over the years and is still learning the basics of their own equipment/techniques?

If you are investing in professional photography, you are going to want someone who knows the ins and outs of their equipment and can troubleshoot any technical issues, should they arise. You are also going to want someone who has clearly honed their creative style and lighting techniques. Your wedding day is NOT the time for experimentation.

I want someone who has clearly demonstrated a passion for photography, not someone who decided that photography is an easy way to make money.

As a photographer, I want to hear my photographer’s story- what motivated them to pick up a camera in the first place? How long ago did they decide they were going to pursue wedding photography and what inspired this decision?

2. How many wedding events have they photographed?

3. Does this photographer use professional equipment i.e.

  • Do they bring their own lighting equipment?

  • Are they proficient at using on and off camera flash?

  • Are they able to shoot in low light conditions (read: Full frame vs. crop sensor cameras)

  • Do they carry comparable backup equipment?

4. Does this photographer have full galleries of recent weddings to show?

5. What is the photographer’s style? How do they describe their work and their work style?

6. Does this photographer have a contract?

7. What is their refund/cancellation policy?

8. If this person is unable to photograph your wedding for some unexpected reason, what is the back-up plan?

9. How long after the wedding will you receive your photos and how will they be delivered?

10. Finally, can you picture yourself spending the entire day with this person!?

Step 3: Make sure your personalities connect!

FUN FACT: You are going to be spending all day with your wedding photographer. They are going to be guiding you, providing prompts and working with you to bring those creative images and style you hired them for to life on one of the most important days of your life.

As a wedding photographer, I love talking to and meeting with my clients prior to booking. Why? Because I want to make sure I connect with my clients and build trust. I should feel happy and comfortable working with them. I want to make sure I am booking people who value my work on their wedding day just as much as I do!

Aside from that, it is so important and helpful to know my couples prior to the big day. I swear it shows in the final deliverables.

...So, don’t be shy

If your photographer doesn’t suggest it first, ask to meet in person!

I met with one of my couples today for coffee and it was so nice. We got to know each other and set our expectations. I learned about how they met, their plans, more about their vision for their wedding day, etc. In addition, the bride to be told me in secret about a surprise her and the best man are planning for the groom (& I can’t wait to capture it!)

If meeting in person is not an option, FaceTime or do a Zoom call. At the very least, have a phone conversation! I promise you won’t regret it.

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