Okay, so you’re engaged now (or maybe you’re planning ahead because you’re that kind of person—-no judgment here!). The excitement is just beginning. But so is all the planning. And as exciting as it is to plan the BEST DAY of your life, it can also be overwhelming regardless if you’re having a big or small wedding. Where do you start? Well…Pssssst, I believe that your wedding photographer is the best place to start. Why? Because they’re not just a photographer, they’re your guide to resources, locations, venues, and many other things. They are much more than just someone who snaps photos on your special day. Choosing your wedding photographer might just be the most important thing you decide for your wedding day, because the photos that you will receive will last you longer than the decorations, cake, or even your dress.
What’s Your Days Vision?
This will filter down into the next point, and most likely all the points below. But this is so important. Picture what you want for your wedding day. When you have that decided, it will make the process of planning much easier. Not sure what to do? Then reach out to a few different kinds of wedding photographers and get a feel for what you could do on your wedding day.
Where to find: Google wedding photographers in your area. Simply head to Instagram and search different hashtags that revolve around the wedding industry. For examples #ColoradoWedding #ColoradoWeddingPhotographer or #WeddingInspiration. Do you have a friend that just got married? Ask them how they searched for wedding photographers.
What Kind of Wedding Photographer Are They?
First of all, consider what kind of wedding photographer you are looking for. Not all wedding photographers are created equal. Some only do elopements. Some only do big weddings. Some focus on destination weddings. Some focus on weddings in their state/region. Some are just a smorgasbord of all the above. Choose a wedding photographer who aligns with your vision for your wedding day.
Destination Wedding: Where the couple and their wedding party travel to the location (most of the time this is associated with international and exotic locations)
Elopement/Intimate Wedding: An elopement is usually just the couple and a few witnesses. This could be up to 15-20, but then that starts to get into intimate and small wedding territory. You can have a destination elopement or small/intimate wedding. Eloping has branched from the traditional mindset of the “shotgun” wedding at the courthouse. You can elope in Hawaii, New Zealand, or in your parent’s backyard. It’s really up to you.
Big Wedding: These are usually extravagant with 100 guests or more. The venue and decorations could also make it big.
Where to find: On the photographer’s website listed under philosophy, about me, or the front page.
Look at Their Editing Style
Editing style matters to people. Shooting style matters to people. This is a critical step in the process of finding a wedding photographer. Some photographers shoot fine art while others take a photojournalist approach (capturing candid in-between moments). Along with that, they shoot with a different mood in mind. Some photograph serious moments and others photograph in a lighthearted way. Pay attention to these details in your photographer’s work. The second part is to look at how they edit. There are a few styles. Dark and moody. Warm tones. Cool tones. Light and airy. Grainy, for a film look. Which style are you drawn to the most? Please don’t reach out to a photographer and ask them to change their style for you. It’s like asking Picasso to paint like Monet.
Where to find: Look at their blog or portfolio pages. If they have an Instagram (which they should) then you can scroll there too!
Set a Budget But Don’t Price Shop
Unless you’re a millionaire, you’ve probably got a budget you want to abide by. No problem. But don’t let that be your be-all-end-all. You should budget your wedding day around paying for a wedding photographer and videographer, and venue (if there is one),. Everything else should conform to those budgets. Why? Because the only things you will take away from your wedding day besides your marriage is the photos and videos. You’re probably never going to wear your dress again (although, vow renewals and anniversary sessions are fun…hint hint). Your photos will last forever. It’s what you’ll print out and hang around your house. It’s what you’ll show your kids and grandkids. It’ll be the lock screen on your phone, profile picture on social media, picture frame at your desk at work, and maybe even in your wallet. The point is your wedding photos will be everywhere. I’m not just saying fork over thousands of dollars because I am pining for your money. I’m saying this because it’s SO important to consider. Pictures are more important than you think. Your wedding photos are an investment, that you will continue to cash in on DAILY–over a LIFETIME. That’s why you often see price packages on the investment page. Be willing to move your budget around in order to get the photographer you truly love.
Where to find: Investment or pricing page, if not head to the contact page and reach out to the photographer
Look for Travel Included or Custom Building a Package
This will make things easier for everyone. A nice bundled up package is better than you think. It might give you sticker shock at first. But let’s compare this to the airline tickets. Sure, paying for a flight on Frontier might look like the cheapest option. But then they charge you for the bag, your seat, food, and hell even the seatbelt. By the time they’re done slapping on all the fees you could have gotten a standard ticket on Southwest or Delta (and the planes are much nicer). Work with your photographer to build a package that WORKS for you and your day!
Things to consider with packages:
Hours of coverage
Location permits (ex. National Park or State Park)
Where to find: Investment or pricing page
Do You Vibe With Them?
Your wedding or elopement photographer is essentially going to stalk you for an entire day. They’re the only person who will be with you from start to finish. Crazy huh? How you get along with them is crucial. Consider this a friendship more than a business transaction. Because guess what? If you feel comfortable with them taking your photos all day, your pictures are going to look THAT MUCH BETTER. Choose someone that you could be friends with!! Do you have the same interests? Beliefs? Morals even? All of these things are SO SO SO important when considering who you are going to choose for a photographer.
Where to find: About me page. If you’re a creep like me, check out their social media too. How do they conduct themselves? Do they love their dog as much as you love yours? Do they care about traveling the world? Do they like the same shows as you? Music? These are all things you can search for. If you can’t figure this out online but have a good feeling about them, ask to meet in person or over the phone!
ANNNND of course. Shameless plug. Hire me for your big day whether it be a destination wedding, elopement, intimate/small/adventure wedding. I am your GAL. I love the Office, dogs, and kombucha (seriously it’s a problem). I’ll hold your dress while you pee. I’ll give you advice before the first look. I’ll help you button up your dress. I’ll be there for you on the best day of your life! So what are you waiting for? Let’s be friends!