There are a lot of amazing photographers out there. The hardest part: Picking the best for you!

Research To Find Your Style

You will have to narrow down your search before you talk to everyone. Reviewing friends’ referrals can also be helpful. While researching, look over their entire wedding albums to make sure they can shoot a wide range of quality photos, rather than just four or five. Start by looking online (Pinterest, publications, friends weddings) for images you like for inspiration. This will help you determine the photography style you like: Light & airy? Dramatic & editorial? Organic & natural? Then look at the composition: Candid, black and white, or posed and formal shots. Once you have that narrowed down, do a Google search for photographers in the area of your venue and find the ones that fit the feel you are going for!

Not loving anyone in your area? Find someone who you like who is willing to travel! Photographers pack pretty light so most are willing to travel for a fee and love shooting in new venues. This is a great way to get a fresh perspective on your wedding!

  • Huge tip here: Ask your friends and your vendors for recommendations! There are so many photographers out there (both new and experienced, good and bad), you want to make sure you are working with someone who has been vetted
  • P.S. any great photographer will scout out your venue beforehand to think through where they would like to get certain shots, so do not limit yourself to photographers who have worked at your venue before!

Be Picky!

While your caterer and dress will make your day special, your photos will last long past your wedding day. These photographs will be how you remember this special day. Make sure you are deciding carefully, and take the time to choose the best option for you and yours! Personalities and styles can be tricky to analyze. Even if you love their photos, if you don’t get along, you may want to look elsewhere. You will want to be on the same page on your wedding day.

Experience is key: you need to trust them on their ability to manage the timeline (you don’t want everything held up because you are taking pictures) and you also want them to be honest with you if your expectations are unrealistic (i.e. 30 different combinations of family photos before you even get to wedding party and couple photos!)

Talk One On One

Find a few that you really love and set up a meeting to make sure their personalities blend well with yours. You want to find one who is professional as well as someone who makes you feel comfortable. You will spend a lot of time with them and it’s important they don’t make you feel more camera shy than you may already be.

Get to know one another, face to face. This is a sure way to know if you can connect with your photographer. You will have a better understanding of how they operate, and you have the opportunity to clearly express your expectations. Texting or emailing can be confusing and unclear. Speaking together in person will set you up for a successful photo shoot the day of!

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer as many questions that come to mind. They are there to help you and meet your needs! Important questions to ask range from: How many pictures are included in total? How long to expect during post delivery? What are my pricing options? What levels of experience do you have? They will want to accommodate you, and provide all they can, if they are the best match for you!

Pro Tip: Ask how many hours they recommend. Unless you are planning a short and intimate wedding eight hours minimum is suggested. Nine to ten hours will give you more wiggle room, especially if you are doing a first look or extended reception! If you are unsure as to how many hours you need right away, you can always start with eight and on your wedding day add additional hours as needed.

Trial Run

You may want to have a practice run to ensure your expectations are met on the big day. You can ask your photographer to work with you on engagement photos or a bridal portrait, to give you a better understanding of how it will work on your wedding day. This will help calm some nerves, and give you the opportunity to communicate with your photographer and get to know them so you both know what to expect on wedding day. Plan for your photographer to have time to get photos of the reception before the party arrives. Plan for them to take photos of your dress, or other accessories if you wish.

Prepare Together

Decide how the day-of will look together, beforehand. If you have a planner, they will help you with this as well, but be proactive in planning when you will take which photos, who will be included (family? Wedding party?), and where they will take place (ceremony venue? Reception? elsewhere?). Your photographer will know what needs to be in place for your photoshoot and how you will need to prepare. They will be flexible to your timeline, but you must communicate with them. You will want the photographer to capture you in your true spirit of the day, rather than stressed and exhausted from planning everything to the last minute.

Pro Tip: Trust Your Photographer- Remember your photographer is the expert, so let them do their creative work. Don’t give them a list of 50 photos or recreate the exact same photo you saw on pinterest that you have to have. This can be very difficult to accomplish and it is often unrealistic! While there will certainly be some planned group shots, it is way more fun for you and your wedding party to be able to experience the day as it comes!