When we started searching for a photographer, Ray and I had a massive list of names, and NO idea what we liked. Ideally, we loved a film style, which is built for natural light and has more of that grainy quality you see when you look at uber romantic pictures. However, we also loved more candid pictures of people laughing and smiling, which is considered much better in a digital style.
If all of this sounds like crazy jargon to you, then don’t worry. It definitely was for us, too! But here are the key factors that really helped us to decide who we wanted to work with for our big wedding day.
- Go crazy on their website – Similar to wedding planners, photographers will likely put their favorite pictures and galleries front and center on their website. Is this the style you’re looking for? You’ll be able to tell fairly quickly whether they prefer more serious pictures or more candid pictures, whether they prefer staged pictures or more of a photo journalistic style. Within a few minutes of looking through a wide variety of websites, we were able to pick out four photographers that we liked and narrowed down that list to our top two that we reached out to immediately.
- Ask a lot of questions, more than you think you should – My guess is that most people ask the obvious questions about the contract and the photographer’s familiarity with the space. But you shouldn’t stop there. What is their working style (i.e. do they dress in all black and slink in the shadows, or do they get jiggy with your guests on the dance floor)? Do they use purely film or digital and why? Do they have pictures of a wedding that’s a similar size or in a similar space to your wedding? Do they request a list of pictures that you want or do they go with the flow? These questions helped us to become familiar with the way the photographer likes to work and allowed us to be realistic about who we’d like to work with on our big day.
- Be realistic about what you want – If you’re having a small wedding, one photographer is likely fine, but a larger wedding should have at least two. Ray and I also want pictures of both of us getting ready for the wedding. This means that not only should we have two photographers, but we need to request at least 8 hours of their time. When we started looking for photographers, I was only thinking about the wedding and part of the reception, but it’s important to think about the bigger picture (pardon the pun) when you’re signing on the dotted line. We decided that two photographers and 8 hours of time was the way to go for our event.
- Make sure you get along with the primary photographer – You’re going to become super tight with your photographer. Not wedding planner tight (see how we picked our planner here), but they’re going to see you getting ready for your wedding tight. Make sure that you get along with them and you almost want to be their friend. Honestly, this was the main reason we instantly cut out one of our top two – they were incredibly kind and pleasant, but we didn’t think that we’d want to hang out with them for 8 hours on our wedding day. A seemingly small reason, but it was important to us that we trusted and got along closely with our photographer.
No matter what, remember that everyone, photographer and non-photographer, will be taking a million pictures at your wedding. Don’t be too critical of yourself, you’ll always have favorite pictures and some pictures you just don’t love. But there will always be at least one that captures how you truly feel on the day of your wedding. And that feeling is what matters most.
For those curious, we’ve signed with Jamee Photography, who has already been absolutely amazing to work with. We’ve already taken our engagement pictures and I’m certain that Ray and I have made the right decision for us!
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How do you know that you’ve found the “right” photographer, either for your wedding, random style shoot, maternity pictures, baby pictures, etc? I’d love to know your tips for how you know you’re picking the right photographer to capture the mood of the moment.
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