For Your Style, Your Budget, and Your Personality
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when planning a wedding is figuring out how to find the right wedding photographer. There are so many photographers out there and it can be overwhelming to figure out which direction to go.
And this is all understandable. After your wedding planner, the vendor that you interact with the most during your wedding day is your photographer. Your photographer is there, closely connected to every important moment so it is so important to find the right wedding photographer that fits your style, budget, and personality.
Here are my top tips for how to find the right wedding photographer.
How to Find the Right Wedding Photographer
Decide on Your Preferred Editing Style
Your first step, before you even start looking at specific photographers, is to decide on what editing style you want for your images. For as many photographers as there are, there are just as many editing trends.
There are a whole host of different editing styles out there, too many to really dive into in one blog. So, for simplicities sake, let’s talk about the main styles you see out there today.
Classic editing basically means when a photographer edits in a way that renders colors more true-to-life. There is a wide range within this editing style from bright and airy to more subtle and not overly-edited. Skin tones with this style tend to be cool to neutral, but you can find some that are on the warmer spectrum too.
If you find yourself drawn to classic editing, you’ll also want to consider actual film photographers. Film photographers shoot with actual film (yes, like old-fashion film) which tends to be the epitome of classy and classic.
Warm and Earthy
On the other side of the spectrum are the super warm and earthy editing styles that are pretty popular these days. You’ll find a much broader range of styles within this category. You’ll find darker, moodier tones that still retain a true-to-life skin tone and you’ll find the editing styles that are more of a boho vibe (think lots of orange and brown tones).
People tend to gravitate towards this style for their dynamic golden hour photos. These styles of photos are definitely more trendy.
Tip: Do not ask a photographer if they can change their editing style. Find someone whose work embodies what you want… don’t ask an artist to change their style to fit what you want.
Decide on Your Shooting Style
The important factor about photography is to determine what type of shooting style you like best.
Are you more about the styled detail shots and the perfectly posed formals?
Or are candid, spur-of-the-moment images more your jam?
Now let’s be clear, there is a time and a place for all types of photography within a wedding, and a good photographer should (and will) be able to capture the different styles beautifully. But every photographer will have a style that they excel at.
So basically, you need to ask yourself what you want to prioritize and find a photographer that thrives in that area.
Is capturing all of the little details high on your priority list?
Do you want your family photos to be perfectly posed and flawless or relaxed and casual?
Are you more interested in a fashion-forward documentary style of capturing candids?
These are the types of questions you need to be asking yourself as you begin searching for your perfect photographer.
Start Your Search
Now that you have an idea of what is important to you and what your ideal photography will look like, it’s time to start your search.
Where to Search
My recommendations for where to search for a photographer are as follows (and in order of where I would start):
1 – Planner Recommendations
Always, always, always ask your planner for their recommendations. They will only refer people they have worked with before and know will do an amazing job.
2 – Internet Searches
Google is always a go-to source. I recommend looking at more than just page one of the search results and not just looking at platforms like The Knot or Wedding Wire. There is nothing wrong with those sites but many vendors choose not to pay to be listed so make sure you look past those two sources and browse through multiple pages of search results.
3 – Social Media
Social media is making it easier than ever to answer the question of how to find the right wedding photographer. Instagram and Pinterest are my two favorite platforms for vendor searches but
How to Search
My best advice on how to search is to look back at the style you are looking for and the location, such as Montana film wedding photographer or Bozeman classic wedding photographer.
When it comes to location, vary your searches to more than just the city. Try searching the entire state or the region (like Northern California or Bay Area). Tweaking the search slightly can bring in a whole host of other results.
Another bit of advice is to search for “VENUE wedding photographs” and see what comes up. You’ll find photographers who have shot at that specific venue this way.
You can use these suggestions on Google or in social media platforms.
Reach Out to Those You are Interested In
When you start finding photographers who fit what you are looking for, start reaching out for pricing and availability. While you don’t want to email 100 photographers, definitely reach out to several to see what your availability is and what prices you are seeing.
Narrow Down Your Favorite Wedding Photographers
Once you start hearing back from photographers, narrow it down to your favorites. I recommend picking no more than four that you love and who is within your budget.
Start doing comparisons between your budget and what each package includes (travel, time, multiple photographers, etc). Also, take time to thoroughly look at reviews and see what other couples have said about working with them.
The next step is to schedule a consultation call with each of the photographers. This is the most important step in how to find the right wedding photographer.
Do NOT book a photographer based solely on their images. As I mentioned earlier, you spend more time with your photographer than anyone else and if you don’t jive well with them, it will put a kink in your day. Getting them on a call will give you a good feel for how they interact and if you will work well together.
Your photographer needs to fit your personality. This can be in matching energy or as a soothing counterbalance to you. Regardless, you need to feel confident that they will only help better your wedding day experience.
After you have chatted with your selected few, it’s time to pick your favorite. It may be a difficult decision or it may be an easy one, just trust your gut and only pick someone you are comfortable with.
Don’t wait too long to book as preferred vendors always book up fast, especially for evetns that take place during busy seasons. And also, make sure you get a contract in place! Most wedding photographers require a signed contract and a retainer (usually between a 25-50%) in order to secure a date.
As a side note, I do always recommend doing an engagement session before your wedding. It helps you get a feel for how your photographer works and what it is like to be in front of their camera. They also can get a feel for your insecurities, what makes your laugh, and what makes you click with your significant other. This is how they are able to capture the very best images on your wedding day!
So, there it is – my advice on how to find the right wedding photographer. Do you have any questions or comments to add to this? I’d love to hear them!
Want some more? Here are my top tips for booking wedding vendors!