Choosing a wedding photographer is a BIG DEAL. After the cake is eaten, the dress is dirty and the flowers wilt, your wedding photos will be the only remaining memento of your special day. Your wedding photos will be what you flip through on anniversaries and poring over with your grandchildren one day. Don’t you agree that this is an area of your wedding day you should put a lot of thought, research and resources into?
But where in the world do you even start? How do you find “the one” when options seem endless? Don’t fret, because I’m here to help you find your photography soulmate!
(guest post by Ali Minetree of Ali Takes Photographs)
Photos // Ali Takes Photographs
DEFINE YOUR STYLE
The first step to finding your perfect wedding photographer is figuring out which style of photography complements your look, matches your vision and makes you feel something.
Create a Pinterest board or folder on your phone, and start saving every image that jumps out at you – it doesn’t need to be a wedding-related image, just anything that catches your eye.
Narrow It Down
Once you have a few dozen (or more!) inspiration images saved, go through your collection and look for patterns. What stands out to you? Is it romantic posing? Bold colors? Candid moments? Dramatic lighting? Do you lean more toward light and airy images, dark and moody or maybe somewhere in between? Do you value traditional, posed photographs or a photojournalistic approach?
Make a list of what you’re drawn to, and let that guide you as you begin looking through photographers’ online portfolios.
FIND YOUR PERSONALITY MATCH
Once you’ve narrowed down your wedding photographer choices based on style, the next step is finding the best personality match. Your perfect photographer will feel like a friend first and a photographer second. Believe it or not, you will likely spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than with your spouse, so making sure all three of you get along is a MUST.
Look through their entire website, Facebook page, Instagram and Instagram story highlights. Read their about page on their website and notice how they interact with their followers online. Do they seem like the type of person you’d have a friend crush on in real life? Do they seem like someone you’d be comfortable being yourself around?
Read Online Reviews
This may seem like a simple step, but definitely one of the most important actions you can take when narrowing down your search. Make sure you are considering photographers who have glowing five-star ratings. Your pictures are the only thing you get to keep from your wedding. You want the best of the best to be responsible for saving those memories.
Schedule an In-Person Meeting
The absolute best way to get to know someone is by meeting in person. Ask your top choices if they’ll meet you for coffee (or drinks or a walk in the park – whatever feels comfortable for you). This is not only a great time to go over all the details of their packages and ask any questions, but also to pay attention to if the conversation is flowing naturally and you feel comfortable.
Planning from another city? Get them on the phone!
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Spend five minutes Googling “questions to ask your wedding photographer,” and you will end up totally overwhelmed. No need to ask your photographer to provide a gear list or what they plan on wearing to your wedding. You need to use your time asking the things that really matter when finding your perfect wedding photographer.
Why are you a wedding photographer?
There’s no denying wedding photography is an incredibly difficult and stressful field. Being a great wedding photographer takes someone who is passionate about what they do and whose face lights up when they answer this question. You want the person responsible for capturing your day to care just as much about your wedding as you do, not just to care about the paycheck.
May I see several full wedding galleries?
Photographers’ websites and Instagrams serve only as a highlight reel of their work. Make sure to request several galleries to look through and study. Do they take time to capture all the details you put so much thought and work into? Are they quick to catch little candid moments that may have otherwise gone unnoticed? How many photos do they typically deliver? Are they proficient in multiple lighting scenarios? You may find that one of your top choices can really nail those sunset couples portraits you love, but fall short during other portions of a wedding day.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
It may feel awkward to ask, but any photographer should be ready and willing to tell you what sets them apart. Each of us has our own unique strengths and skills. This question gives photographers a chance to brag a little bit about what makes them special as well as serving as a gauge for their confidence, professionalism and humility.
I’m concerned about __, how do you handle that?
Honesty is the best policy. If there is something you’re worried about or afraid to ask, please go ahead and ask! You’re super camera shy? Ask how the photographer helps warm people up. Realized your top pick is more than you can afford? Ask if they create custom packages to work with specific budgets.
Finding your perfect wedding photographer comes down to choosing someone who aligns with your visual style as well you as a person. Years from now when your photos are your only keepsake to remember your wedding day, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to make them perfect!
Meet Ali Minetree: Hi, I’m Ali! I’m a Houston-based wedding photographer who specializes in capturing romance in a colorful, natural and fun way. I provide warm and fuzzy photography for people who value genuine emotion, candid moments and getting a little bit weird. If that sounds like you, I think we would be perfect fit! I shot my first wedding in 2014, and have photographed over 100 marriages since then. (Let’s not count up how many pieces of cake that equals…) I go beyond just capturing pretty images by using a documentary-style approach to tell the whole story of your wedding day. I pride myself in my ability to allow my couples to feel completely relaxed, comfortable and their in-love selves in front of my camera.