I asked 24 professional wedding and elopement photographers: how to choose your wedding photographer, and these are the advice they gave.
Begin by understanding what style of photography you’re drawn to – whether that’s candid, documentary, posed, whimsical, moody, etc. Use platforms like Pinterest or Instagram to gather images that resonate with your vision, and use this as a guide when researching potential photographers. Look at their previous work, check their reviews, and ensure their style aligns with your vision.
It’s important to have a good rapport with your photographer, as they will be present throughout your special day. Arrange a meeting or a video call to ensure you feel comfortable with them. This is also a good opportunity to ask any questions you might have about their process, their backup strategies, their offerings, etc.
Experience is crucial when it comes to capturing your wedding day seamlessly. Look at their past work, consider their reputation, and ask about their contingency plan. This will give you a sense of their professionalism and reliability, and ensure that even if unexpected circumstances arise, your day will be captured without any hitches.
We asked Ieva Marija Photography, an elopement photographer in Edinburgh, Scotland and she said: “Get on a video call or meet up in person with any wedding photographer you are seriously considering to choose before booking. This may not seem like the most important thing but trust me – liking the person who’s going to be at one of the most important events of your life, capturing you and your significant other being close and intimate with each other is extremely important. If you feel at ease with them, your photos will be 10000% better.”
Then I asked Miguel Rosenstok, Lisbon Wedding Photographer | Boris the Cat and his feedback was: “divide the task in small steps: 1 – decide on the style you like; 2 – make a search on Google using ” [genere] photographer [your city] … visite the web sites Google presented you and avoid directory websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire… note those you like and resonate with you; 3 – pick the first 3 photographers on your list and send a mesage asking for availability and the info you wish to know; 3 – book a meeting (in person or vídeo call) with the 2 photographers you enjyed more. 4 – hire the winner.”
We then asked Brittney Moseby, an Indiana Wedding Photographer, what she thought about choosing your wedding photographer and this is what she had to say: “When interviewing a wedding photographer, ask their approach to a wedding day. Are they a fly on the wall or are they involved with helping pose you and keep everything on time? Decide which you prefer because this can drastically change your experience on your wedding day. “Documental style photography” is on the rise & many couples are asking for it but it’s important to know that this is a more hands off approach to the day. If you feel that you’ll need more direction & posing advice from your photographer, it’s important to know that while searching for the right fit for you.”
We also asked the question to Anita Schanck a talented Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer and she said that: “When considering a photographer, it’s important question to ask your wedding photographer about their contingency plan in case of unforeseen circumstances preventing them from attending your wedding day. While it’s rare for a professional photographer to miss a wedding, unexpected emergencies or illnesses can happen. It’s crucial to understand how your photographer handles such situations and what steps they have in place to ensure your day is still captured seamlessly.”
When asked the same question, Denise Winter, Surrey Wedding Photographer relayed that “When looking for a wedding photographer these are the key things I would consider; Style, personality, price, experience are all equally important. But one of the key areas I always direct my couples to are reviews and kind words from past wedding couples. They have shared the same journey as you and their reviews will allow you to hear first hand what it was like to work with your photographer, and an insight into what you can expect for your wedding.”
Alyssa Dougherty, Central Florida Wedding Photographer on the other hand consideres that: “Make sure you like their editing style. That;s the MOST important. 2. Are they in your budget? 3. First hand feedback from previous clients is great too. Most people book through word of mouth.”
I kindly asked the question of choosing your wedding photographer to Brianna Parks who is a PNW Elopement Photographer and she said that: “Choosing your wedding photographer is a big decision. Here are some tips to make the process smoother. First, define your style. Are you looking for more candid, documentary, posed, whimsical, moody, etc. kind of photos? Pinterest or Instagram is a great place to start compiling images you can use for a mood board to see what style you gravitate towards most. Once you’ve decided what style you like, do some research. Google and Instagram are the best places to look if you’re searching for a local photographer. Keep track of whose work catches your eye. Once you’ve found a photographer you like, look that their reviews. I would ask to see a full gallery. Once you’re satisfied with their work, ask to hop on a phone call or video call. It’s important to make sure that you get along and click well (pun intended) with your photographer, as they’ll more than likely be spending the entire day with you. You can also ask them questions about what their process is like, how images you’ll be receiving, if they offer albums and prints, their backup process, etc. Turn to Google if you don’t know what questions to ask. At the end of the day, choosing a photographer who you click with and has an editing style you like is the most important part.”
On the other hand, Madara Kurtisa, Wedding Photographer in Birmingham UK, added that: “Once you have pinpointed the photography style that connects with your vision for capturing your wedding day, the fallowing step involves reaching out to your selected photographer after viewing their portfolio. Establishing a face-to-face call or meeting in person is crucial. This step is not only important for the couple, but it holds importance for the photographer too. This is opportunity to build a connection and see if there is a good click between both parties.
Take advantage of this consultation to ask any questions you may have, even the quirkiest ones and see how the photographer handles them. This is time for you ask anything before finalizing your decision. Additionally, consider asking whether an engagement session is included in the photography coverage. From the photographer’s experience, meeting the couple in person before a wedding significantly improves the overall experience. Through an engagement session, you will experience what it is like to be in front of the camera, ensuring a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere on your wedding day. You are more likely to sit down with your photographer and will discuss all the final details related to your wedding.”
In the same time, Kristen Tomkowid, a Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer, thinks the following when it comes to choose your wedding photographer: “Once you’ve found some photographers with work that resonates with you and who fits in your budget, check their reviews. Check Google, The Knot, Facebook, ask in local wedding facebook groups. Photographers who have been in business for at least a year should have someone who can vouch for them. The more experience they have, the more people who should sing their praises. If everything looks good, meet them, whether on a video call, over the phone, or in person. You should be surrounded by people you vibe well with on your wedding day. If you don’t connect, listen to your gut and find someone else. They may not also be able to accomplish what you’re looking for, but they may offer other ideas. Many couples believe they need two photographers or 10+ hours because that is what their friends did at their weddings. Not all weddings are the same and whoever you hire should be able to point you towards a package that will cover all that you want.”
Even, Christian Bruno, Italy Wedding Photographer, based in Lake Como thinks that: “Style and approach are going to be your priority. Photography is art and every photographer has a different artistic eye, so look for the style that best fit yours. Get 3 names of photographers and then decide based on budget + experience. If you wan to get some emotional shots, be sure to choose a photographer that connects with you.”
We interview, Tenerife Photographer Ema Avarvarii Pixelsinlove, about the same subject and she added that: “When choosing your wedding photographer, it’s crucial to ensure their style aligns with your vision. Think of it like cake tasting – consider booking a couple’s photoshoot as a test run. This not only gives you a feel for their work but also lets you see if you’re comfortable with their approach and personality. This brief session can be invaluable in helping you decide if they’re the right fit for capturing your special day.”
We had the same conversation with Ben and Hope, Gold Coast Wedding photographer, who think that: “Begin by perusing portfolios to identify styles that resonate with your vision. Look for photographers well-versed in weddings, understanding the intricacies of the occasion. Arrange meetings to gauge their personalities and professionalism, fostering a comfortable connection. Discuss packages, considering coverage, prints, and albums within your budget and preferences. Request full wedding albums to assess consistency and storytelling prowess. Scrutinize contracts carefully, clarifying terms on delivery, image rights, and potential extra expenses. Ultimately, prioritize talent, chemistry, and dependability to entrust your special day’s documentation.”
It was interesting to talk to Anji and Pete Martin, Washington DC Wedding Photographers about the importance of choosing the right wedding photographer and they shared that:
“Don’t worry about the technical jargon; trust your gut. The terms used to describe different wedding photography styles can be confusing, in part because they are not especially rigidly defined. (And most photographers don’t adhere dogmatically to just one way of shooting anyway.) So don’t spend time trying to understand what each style is. Just look at lots of and lots of portfolios to get a sense of what you like and don’t like. The easiest thing to do is look at every picture and try to imagine yourselves in it. If you like how that would look, then the style is probably a good fit for you. “
They suggested to: “Ask to see full wedding galleries. The images that photographers put on their websites show the kinds of things they want to photograph (and by extension, the kind of couples they hope to attract). As a result, those portfolios tend not to show everything that will end up in your final gallery. So always request that any candidate send you a couple of full weddings to look through.”
“Understand each photographer’s pricing structure and don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications. Different photographers price their services in different ways, making apples-to-apples comparisons very difficult at times. Sometimes low prices can turn out to cost more than anticipated when you start factoring in all the extras. So take the time to get the full picture, and make sure every candidate explains exactly what you’ll be getting at each price point.”
Lastly, to “Make sure you like your photographers. There are only a few people who will be with you for almost your entire wedding day, and your photographers are among them. If their personalities are a bad fit for you, it’s going to be a slog being around them for such a long time. So as you talk with them, take note of how well you click with them.”
We had the opportunity to talk to Christiaan & Chanelle Ras too, who are documentary wedding photographer and videographer, and they suggest to: “Always ensure that the photographer you have booked will be the one to photograph your wedding. With larger studios they will often send associate shooters to photograph your day. Best to ask during the initial meeting.”
Anika Habib, a Virginia + DC Wedding and Elopement Photographer, thinks that: “Wedding photography comes in various styles, each offering a unique perspective on your big day. Documentary, Editorial, Fine Art, Cinematic, Traditional, just to name a few. Start by creating a Pinterest mood board to identify your preferred editing style and content. Many pins on Pinterest are crafted by photographers, making it a treasure trove of inspiration. Follow photographers with styles you adore, and use this board to guide your search for the perfect match. Editing styles play a crucial role in defining the mood of your wedding photos. Some are dark and moody, light and airy, bold and bright, and film-like. Your mood board should be able to help you choose which editing style you’re more drawn to. Choosing a wedding photographer is not just a transaction; it’s like commissioning an artist to create meaningful art for your home. Ensure you vibe with your photographer. This person will be with you throughout the entire day, capturing intimate moments. Schedule a meeting or engagement session to establish a connection and make sure you feel comfortable around them. And don’t be afraid to snoop on their business social media and reviews. This will also help you get to know them better.”
On the other hand, Breana Isley, Los Angeles and Orange County Wedding Photographer, consideres that: “Choosing a wedding photographer in Southern California involves careful consideration to choose who captures the special moments of your big day. Key factors: style, budget range, personality, and expectations. Consider the style of photography matches your vision, such as traditional, photojournalistic, light and airy, dark and moody, editorial, or creative fine art. Many premium market photographers offer a blend of two styles. Determine a realistic budget for wedding photography by your expected quality and budget range. Prices can vary widely in investment and quality. Most photographers premium and luxury market offer installments after the retainer has secured your date, making it easier to work a higher quality studio into your budgeting. A newer photographer will be on the lower end of cost, while artistic photographers with lighting and experience will be a premium. Choosing a personality that you enjoy is also key since you will spend most of your day with your photographer, whether they’re shooting more documentary style or traditional. The right wedding photographer of your team will have your best interest in mind when capturing your story.”
Interestingly enough, Steven Mitchell, a Glasgow wedding photographer, who loves capturing the real, natural and authentic moments, even blogged about how to choose your wedding photographer. His “best advice is to connect with your photographer. Because You want to be natural at your wedding, and having someone you can trust and isn’t a complete stranger helps you to relax and have one less thing to worry about in your day.”
In addition, when we asked the same question to Karen Agurto, a California Elopement Photographer, she said that: “Selecting your wedding photographer is a decision made intentionally with research. Start by zeroing in on the photography style that resonates with you- whether it’s traditional, fine art, candid, or documentary-style. Pinterest is a useful tool in defining this. Next, experience is crucial, and viewing full galleries of similar weddings will give you a better sense of how they photograph. Equally important is your photographer’s personality; you’ll be spending a good chunk of your planning and special day with them, so compatible communication styles are key. Additionally, take a deep dive into reviews and references – they’ll give you a glimpse into what it’s really like to work with the photographer. Your consultation call will help you in making sure the vibes are right. Finally, make sure their packages align with your budget, and be on the lookout for any hidden costs. Ultimately, finding a photographer is about striking that perfect balance between loving their work and feeling at ease with them – after all, these are the memories you’ll cherish forever!”
This is when the quest to choose your wedding photographer becomes interesting. Ether Photography Studios, who is Toronto Wedding Photographer, thinks that: “What a lot of pro-level wedding photographers do best is capture the emotions or expressions on a bride and groom’s face. Make sure you ask to see a full gallery to get a sense of whether the photographer is able to either A. Guide the couple to show these emotions during posed shots (essentially every single portrait taken, if it’s a portrait, it’s posed – some like to call these prompts, but they’re essentially the same thing) or B. Be fast enough to compose on the fly and capture the candid moments with natural expressions.”
What I enjoyed about interviewing Annie Dawson, a Brisbane Wedding Photographer, is her insight for shy couples. “If you are a shy couple and have never had professional photos taken before, ask your photographer how they will go about to capture beautiful, raw and real emotions on the day. How they will get those happy and intimate snaps of the two of you. It is very important that your photographer is a master of dealing with all types of personalities and can execute the same results with every couple. Ask if they are experienced shooting in low light, with flash on and off camera, in wet weather, wind etc and ask to see samples of weddings in these environments. Anything can happen on a wedding day and how they deal with it is what is important.”
Then, Julia Mina Photography, a California Elopement Photographer, believes strongly that: “When you see a photographer’s work you fell in love wih, dig deep on what you love about that image. Is it the color? emotion? couple’s stye? location? The way the photographer captured the moment? While the editing style of the photography is important, the most important factor about choosing your wedding/elopement photographer is someone you can connect with at the personal level. Your photographs from your wedding/elopement day is going to be one of the only ways you can relive & remember your day and it is important that your photographer understands your values. Not only that, they are one of the only vendors who will be with you all day! My biggest advice is to look into what their processs/experience is and if their values align with yours. Then hop on a video call with them and get ot know your photographer. While you are on the call, ask them about their process, values, style and what sets them apart (important). Whoever can aswer all four questions knows their core values, their craft and put a lot of thought into there they stand as a documentarian. You will be able to tell if this is someone you can trust and want to spend all day on your wedding day!”
We listened to Bethany Clarke, a North Yorkshore Wedding Photographer, about the topic. She shared that “A big part of picking your wedding photograher is choosing someone you feel comfortable with and trust with your memories. You also need to ensure that you like there style, not only how they capture the world but also there edit and approach on the day. Feeling relaxed enough to forget that the are there really ensured the best moments can be captured, read reviews from past couples too.”
Also, we gave the opportunity to Robert Carter Photography, a Yorkshire Wedding Photographer to share his insight into how to choose your wedding photographer. This is what he had to say: “Choosing your wedding vendors are all about the feels. Do you like their style? Do they fit within your budget? If you’ve ticked yes to both of these, it’s time to have a chat with them. The most important point of booking any of your vendors, is whether you get on with them or not. Do they have the same energy as you? Do they have the same sense of humour? If its a massive ‘YES!’, looks like you’ve found your match……get them booked.”
It has to be interesting to find what Borcila Dorinel photography, Northampton Wedding Photographer, wanted to say. “Choosing the right wedding photographer involves several key steps. First, review portfolios to assess their style and quality. Meet in person or online with the potential photographer to ensure you’re comfortable with them. Discuss packages, pricing, and contract details. Check reviews and ask for references to gauge their reputation. Consider their experience with weddings and equipment quality. Lastly, communicate your expectations clearly to ensure a smooth collaboration on your special day.”
Choosing the right wedding photographer is a multifaceted decision that requires careful consideration. The advice from these seasoned professionals highlights the importance of defining your style, carrying out thorough research, and ensuring a comfortable rapport with your potential photographer. It’s equally important to consider their level of experience, their approach to capturing your special day, and their contingency plans for unexpected circumstances. Remember, every wedding is unique and what worked for one may not work for another. Ultimately, the photographer you choose should resonate with your vision, complement your personality, and instill a sense of trust and confidence that your wedding day will be captured in the most beautiful and authentic manner possible.
Let us know in the comments below if these tips were helpful in choosing your ideal wedding photographer.