7 Tips for choosing a Wedding Photographer
Choosing a wedding photographer can be hard! I get it!
Some of the emails I get from brides – ask me questions on the process of choosing a wedding photographer. They have never done this wedding thing before and Pinterest will lead you astray in the midst of your decision making… Sometimes you feel like you don’t know what to tell your wedding photographer. So below you will find your choosing wedding photographer tips.
When the guests are fed, the cake is cut, feet are sore from dancing – all that is left with you and people around is “memory”. Wedding photographer creates a story of these memories and lets you re-live those moments over and over again. Those memories are cherished and passed over for generations to come and leave a landmark in your family history. Think about the times, when you see photos printed on a wall at the fireplace of your parents, grandparents and the cute photos of when you were little. Those moments are special and priceless. The value of those memories is even greater these hard times, that we all went through.
This post is meant to be a guide that serves you and the Wedding you have always dreamed of! Want to make your wedding photography dreams come true? Your 7 Tips for choosing a Wedding Photographer
Let’s dive in
1. When is the right time to book your photographer?
After he proposes, and the venue is picked and the date is booked, you are ready to book your photographer. Usually, couples spend the most on engagement rings, venues and photographers so knowing that you’re investing in the big things first can help you set a realistic budget. Don’t delay in choosing a wedding photographer as they book clients pretty far in advance and your date may not be available by the time you decide to inquire.
In the current climate with a huge backlog of weddings – you are better to book vendors much earlier, to have the people you want available for your special day.
2. Where do I start researching photographers?
If you know a friend recently married, ask them first! Or ask your venue for recommendations. A lot of photographers have referral programs that might benefit you. Google local photographers and hashtags like DublinPhotographer or #MeathPhotographer and click on the pictures that make you feel something. If you notice that you click on the same person’s photographs, reach out to them- that’s a match!
You can check selected photographers galleries to see if the story unfolds in the way you like it to see. I always say to my brides that every story has a beginning. So I strongly recommend starting with morning preparations and capturing the fun, the worry, the emotions. Choosing a wedding photographer based on how you would like your story to be told.
3. Should I reach out to all the photographers I like?
You should narrow down your search by your style and preferences. Ask yourself: What similarities do you see in the images you like? Dark and moody? Candid or posed? Dramatic flash lighting? Does this photographer flatter his/her subjects? If it looks natural? Has the photograph let you be part of the event? Can you feel it? Learning what you like helps you communicate style preferences with the potential photographer. Pick about 4 favourites when choosing a wedding photographer and contact them to get a conversation going.
4. Should I ask them for their pricing first?
Aside from providing your wedding date, photography budget range and venue info, you should include a nice message that gives insight to relevant points of your day. Remember, you’re going to have this person with you on the most important day of your life, having a connection with your photographer is the start of a trusting relationship. Email conversations can be efficient in the process of choosing a wedding photographer and especially in this climate. A wedding photographer packages are usually sent on the first response. Just so clients can gauge the price range. How to choose a wedding photography package – you should really start by understanding if you would like an album included or not. Most modern photographers offer a Digital + Album package or a Digital only package. To conclude – price does matter, but equally the quality matters. To have a photographer that you trust is essential. Only then he/she can create stunning Documentary series of the day.
5. What should my budget be?
Having a realistic budget is crucial because when the cake is eaten, the flowers wilt and the dress is hung, all you have left are your wedding pictures. I’m a believer that you deserve the wedding photography of your dreams. For reference, wedding resources (One Fab Day) say that at least 10%-15% of your wedding budget should be allocated for wedding photography. If you’re like me and think that photography is the most important item of your day, you will increase that percentage. Mine was 15% of my budget. According to UK/Ireland statistics- the weddings budget in total is estimated at around EUR 28,000. Be upfront about your photography budget range with your photographer. Understand that “you get what you pay for” is true. The higher the skill set and experience of the photographer, the more expensive it will be. Consider cutting costs in areas and things you don’t value as much to increase the photography budget. You should expect quotes ranging from €1000 – €4000.
6. What questions should I ask my photographer?
This part is crucial to your consultation with the photographer. Should I hire a second shooter? Second shooters are helpful when your wedding has a large guest count or you have multiple venues the day of. Also if you and your H2B want to have a really good focus on preparation photos of the day. A lot of people recently are asking for a second photographer to cover the groom preparations. Ask the professional about what they recommend.
How much coverage will I need?
Can You Recommend Sparklers?
What time should I plan to get into the dress?
What time should we have our First Dance?
Most weddings have a 10 hr coverage with a comfortable timeline but you might need more or less coverage than that. What wedding packages are most popular and why? Packages save you money instead of a-la-carte custom pricing. Having prints and albums at the end of the wedding experience is ideal because you don’t have to worry about those things after the honeymoon and it will save you money in the long run. It took me 3 years to purchase my own wedding album because it wasn’t a priority. I regret not purchasing it when I booked my photographer. It’s our favourite thing to share with friends and loved ones. My daughter loves going through it
7. What about engagement photos? Engagement Shoot?
An engagement session is going to set the pace for what your pictures will be during the wedding. It’s like a stress-free trial on the experience. You’ll end up feeling comfortable in front of the camera, trusting your photographer and being much more relaxed when the day comes. Consider the main benefit of the engagement session as becoming comfortable with your photographer and photos secondary. This will ensure your wedding images are the best they can be. Also, this is a great opportunity to talk about some specific shots you have imagined having for your wedding. This can also be an adventure Engagement session, hiking, boots etc…
An End Note
Making the final decision on choosing a wedding photographer should be between you and the fiance. If someone else is paying for the photographer, I suggest inviting them to the consultation so that they have the opportunity to ask questions and set expectations. Did you connect with the photographer and love their photos? If your answer is yes, ask for a contract to pay the deposit for the package you want. The deposit is normally around EUR 300, depending on the coverage and package you choose.
Photographers are usually hired on a first-come, first-serve basis and once they book, they’re booked! You don’t want to lose your first choice because you took too long to decide. I recommend 7-14 days to have a response. And finally, if you talked to other photographers and ended up not choosing them, let them know. You’re not hurting their feelings, they appreciate not being “ghosted”. Go the extra mile and provide feedback on why you didn’t choose them. That information is valuable to their business and helps them serve clients better. They will love you for it!
I hope this guide helped you in choosing a wedding photographer for your wedding day!
Good luck and happy Wedding Planning
If you would like to get in touch and discuss more questions you might have in relation to the above – feel free to reach out to me!!
I hope I have helped you with choosing a wedding photographer in a simple, stress-free way 🙂