How to choose the right wedding photographer in 2020
Are you lost or confused trying to make the right choice choosing a wedding photographer?
It could be an overwhelming task. Wasting days looking at different photography websites. After spending many hours searching, they all look the same. But you know they can’t be. It’s frustrating. Wedding photography is hard to navigate alone your first time.
Maybe you’ve even met with photographers you love, but you are still wondering can there be others? Better? Cheaper?
Do you wish you knew what to look for?
Relax, because I can help.
The right photographer will capture the most amazing memories for you to look back on, and the wrong photographer will cost you a lot of regret & restless nights.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to go through all this planning and then have photos that you were unhappy with? That disappointment could linger for years. Decades.
On the other hand, having photos that you LOVE looking at will inject sparks of joy and love into your marriage, each time you open your photos.
Let's get started! Below I'll show you the most important things to consider, so you can find the right wedding photographer.
1. Choose a style
This is important because choosing a correct style will determine how happy you are with your pictures.
Do you want more traditional staged and posed wedding photos or more candid and natural wedding photos?
If remembering the moments with your family and friends is most important to you, then you’ll need a photographer who can capture amazing candid photos.
If your dress, shoes, and flowers are most important to you, then you’ll want a photographer who spends the majority of their time shooting details. (Tip: chances are if your photographer is getting published a lot, they know how to shoot great detail photos because magazines and blogs LOVE detail shots).
And if the staged wedding photos are most important to you, then you need a traditional photographer who spends most of the wedding day posing family photos. A traditional photographer could easily spend 2 hours taking family photos outdoors, and then another 2 hours doing more family photos indoors.
At the end of the day, the really great photographers will do a mix of all 3 styles, but each photographer will excel at different aspects of the wedding day.
It’s ok if you like all 3, but which style do you like the most?
Here’s an example of a detail shot:
A staged/posed family photo:
An artsy candid moment:
2. Understand their portfolio
All the photographers may look good on the surface, but how will you pick the best person for your wedding?
Look for consistency.
Ask yourself, is the portfolio all highlights from 1 great wedding or are there great photos from every wedding?
The last thing you want to do is hire a photographer and then realize later that your photos are mediocre and that your family and friends could have taken better pictures.
That’s why it’s important to ask to see a complete wedding gallery.
In today’s world, anybody can take a good photo or two, but only the really great professionals will consistently deliver hundreds of great pictures at every wedding in every circumstance.
You’ll also want to make sure all the photos look great whether it’s from when you are getting ready, your ceremony, or in the evening. For example, watch out for photographers who are only good at shooting in natural light, or photographers who only are only good in controlled situations like portraits and engagement sessions.
If you are completely unsure, it can help to look for photographers with the most award winning photos, because even if you are not an expert on photography, at least you know the judges of the contest are some of the best photographers in the world.
Here's an example of using light in 2 different ways. A light and airy sunset photo on the beach:
And just a minute later, by changing the lighting, I was able to create a dramatic sunset sky:
Take a look at more photos from this wedding to see a creative mix of both indoor and outdoor photos.
Another good trust marker are testimonials. Most testimonial will say nice things about the photographer, but dig deeper! Are couples saying they are just happy with the photos, or are couples saying their photographer was the best part of their wedding and they couldn’t imagine getting married without hiring this photographer! Really good photographers tend to be there many months after the wedding for you as well.
3. Do you trust them as a person?
It's not easy finding the right photographer. The stakes are high. You’ll only make the decision once, and there’s a lot of trust involved.
Could you imagine if the photographer you hired didn't show up to your wedding? That would be scary!
Not only do you need to trust that your photographer is reliable, but you need to trust that your photographer will also do the job consistently well.
Your photographer is somebody who’s in the room with you and will become a part of your inner circle on the wedding day.
For my couples, I try to blend in as one of their friends, but with a camera! That’s because the most candid, natural photos are when you completely let go and trust your photographer. You can usually tell if a photographer is unobtrusive by seeing how relaxed and natural the people are in the photos.
At the same time, if you have a large family or if there will be strong personalities in your crew, you’ll want a photographer who knows when to be assertive and when to back off.
And part of the trust is also choosing somebody that you know will be reliable.
What if you choose a photographer who misses all the good moments? Or will they even show up on your wedding day?
How responsive are their emails?
The last thing you want is to have to worry about your wedding photographer.
Action step: Get on the phone with your photographer to make sure there’s chemistry.
4. Watch out for Red Flags!
The worst fear most brides have is picking a photographer who has put together a pretty website but delivers poor photos. What if your wedding photos suck? That would be awful. So be weary of a photographer who won’t show you a full wedding gallery (chances are they are hiding flaws in the coverage).
It’s also important to read and listen to testimonials. Listen to the newlywed couples who actually received their photos. Those are real couples who have worked with your photographer and know what it’s like to be in front of the camera.
You will only choose a wedding photographer 1 time. Over the next 20, 30, 40 years, you’ll be using these photos to relive your wedding memories and share with your future family. Choosing a wedding photographer is like dating. You’ll want to find the best match whose photos you will LOVE. If you want to make sure you have the right photographer for your wedding, click here to contact me, and let's talk to see if it's a good fit!