10 Tips When Hiring a Wedding Photographer
Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now you need to hire a wedding photographer–but wait!
Your special day deserves to be perfectly immortalized.
There is no better way to do that than through hiring the best available wedding phot
Not only do you have a bottom line to keep in mind, but you also need to hire someone you are comfortable sharing your big day with–you need a photographer who is professional bestie material.
There are plenty of options when it comes to the style of your wedding album photos.
Whether your desired look is traditional, photojournalistic, or even fine-art, you need to find a photographer that can deliver quality images aligned with your style without sacrificing your bottom line.
PRO TIP: If you need some inspiration, Pinterest has mood boards and more to spark your desire.
It’s worth it to get those candid shots that immortalize your most precious moments. I like to call it:
It’s always a bonus when you find a photographer with an impressive portfolio in the style you’re looking for.
While consulting with one about your big day, make sure to ask about previewing a full wedding album.
This will give you a better sense of their experience.
RED FLAG #1: If they don’t have a full album available for you to preview, that could be a dealbreaker.
Tip #2: Know your desired venue.
You might already have a location reserved for your wedding day, or at least know the setting (indoor, outdoor, at the country club, or in a gorgeous yard).
Location is as equally important as your style. As such, you want to hire a wedding photographer who is comfortable navigating and adapting to your chosen environment.
Keep this in mind as you browse their gallery.
However, don’t discount a photographer who hasn’t experienced your type of wedding location. Photographers are artists at their core, which means that they can also be versatile and adaptive.
The most important factor is your comfort.
A reputable photographer will have reviews that mirror the quality of service they deliver. This will help narrow down the list of candidates.
Tip #3: Review their reputation.
It’s best practice to investigate reviews online before using any service or product.
PRO TIP: Use keywords and filters in your search. Make a list of the photographers who stand out and align with your style, location, and core values.
While you’re searching on Google, Yelp, Social Media, or even wedding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire for the photographer who fits your style and venue, be sure to check out their reviews.
Tip #4: Choose your top 3 faves.
It can be tempting to reach out to all the 5-star photographers, but it might save time if you create a list of your top 3 favorites. You also want to check their availability.
PRO TIP: Talented photographers know other talented photographers; it doesn’t hurt to ask for a referral if the one you want to hire isn’t available.
Take time to interview and get to know a wedding photographer before you commit to hiring them.
Professional photographers will have a contact form that you can use to send over the general details of the event and confirm availability.
Before reaching out to confirm a wedding photographer’s pricing and availability, make sure you know how many hours your event will take place so that they can accurately assess their availability.
You want everything to go just right on your big day, and so does your wedding photographer.
Are there specific moments you want to capture?
Your photographer will diligently work to immortalize the memories of your wedding.
Keeping them informed about the timeslots for any vendors, as well as your guests, will ensure that your photographer can capture the maximum amount of genuinely precious moments, as smoothly as possible.
Ideally, you want the photographer you hire to know how to work with large groups AND the schedule.
Open communication is key.
Tip #6: Consider your budget and add-on options
Do you have specific poses, special effects, or props in mind? Are you incorporating videography? What other pivotal moments would you like to capture along this wedding journey?
When hiring a wedding photographer, you want someone who can offer plenty of options without sacrificing your bottom line.
You want value in your investment.
Some offer all-inclusive deals at different levels such as bronze, silver, or gold. However, the best photographers know that choice is everything.
Ask about a-la-carte options where you only pay for what you want.
Either way, make sure you know what is included in their price. If anything seems unclear, always ask for clarification.
Some irresistible photo ops to consider:
Behind the Scenes
Day After Session
After considering your options, you may be feeling more than prepared to hire a wedding photographer.
Before you decide to commit to your hiring decision, keep scrolling for more tips to ensure you hire the best wedding photographer for your special day.
Tip #7: Schedule a free consultation
By this point, you might have a good idea of who you want to hire.
Whether in person, over the phone, or on a video call–meeting with your potential professional bestie before committing to their contract is a perfect opportunity to test for chemistry.
RED FLAG #2: If the photographer doesn’t offer free consultations, then that could be a dealbreaker.
You want to hire someone with who you feel comfortable sharing some of your most intimate moments.
First impressions are everything.
Don’t shy away from asking questions about their process during the free consultation.
The best photographers use assessment techniques to get to know you better and determine how they can best serve you. This is your chance to assess them as well.
Inquire about their experience, package options, and contract. You want to hire a photographer who is on the same wavelength regarding your preparation, commitment, and passion. Your wedding is a memorable event that should be mesmerized by an equally memorable wedding photographer.
Once you have a contract proposal in front of you, there are some important factors to consider BEFORE you sign.
Tip #8: Review the contract proposal
A professional photographer always uses a contract.
Hiring any vendor or service for your wedding is an investment, and for the most part, you want to be in control.
The wedding photographer you hire must fit into your budget.
Read every section of the proposal with a special focus on policies for pricing, cancellation, rescheduling, and publishing.
If there is any part of the contract that you do not agree with or completely understand, be sure to reach out for clarification and ask more questions.
RED FLAG #3: If they aren’t using a contract, they probably aren’t legit.
From day-of expectations, to post-edit delivery methods, and image copyright, always ask for clarification on any unclear or conflicting information before signing any contract.
Tip #9: Read the fine print–know what to expect
The contract proposal in its entirety is important to review and agree with. More importantly, you should know the rights you have with digital images.
Hiring a wedding photographer means you’re paying for their creative services and professional editing.
Most of the time, you’re able to use the images in print for personal use as you please. However, if you want to share them digitally (like on social media) then you typically have to credit the photographer every single time (i.e., watermark or tag).
For other circumstances, the photographer may be willing to sell you the rights to a few photos, but remember that you are hiring an artist for a service, and the photos they capture/edit are original works of authorship.
In other words, they are (by default) the legal owner of any image they capture.
The best photographer knows how to cater to your needs.
Don’t sacrifice your vision if you can’t reach a mutual agreement. Move on to someone else if the vibes are off at any point before you sign a contract.
The bottom line is that you need to know what your package includes and what to expect day-of.
Our values are the foundation of who we are as human beings. You don’t want to leave any room for bias affecting the memories of your wedding.
This is especially true if you need someone who will be comfortable honorably capturing any of your sacred family traditions.
Speaking of family, if you happen to have little ones, check out this great blog with tips on how to prepare.
Think back to first impressions.
Who’s worth the commitment? Are they capable of capturing your essence? Can they work well with your loved ones? Do they fit into your budget?
If you can answer these questions favorably, then that’s when you know you’ve found “the one” wedding photographer you want to hire.