- Stage 1: Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
- Stage 2: Onboarding Your Wedding Photographer
- Questions to Ask
- Have you worked at our venue before, or will you want to review it beforehand?
- What information would you need from us before the wedding day?
- Can I point you to some photos from your portfolio that made me fall in love with your style?
- Do you have any allergy requirements? Would you like to join us for food?
- Can we pay an extra fee if we require you to stay longer?
- Can you pull together a slideshow for the wedding breakfast?
- Do you have a backup plan in case you can’t attend on the day, or something goes wrong with your equipment?
- Meet Up & Discuss Logistics
- Check-in Before Your Wedding
- Questions to Ask
- Stage 3: Enjoying Your Day
- Stage 4: The Wait for Submission
- Stage 5: Write a Heartfelt Review
Your wedding is going to be one of the most momentous occasions of your life. Over time, specific memories will fade and all that will remain is your joy, your keepsakes… and your photos. Therefore, choosing a wedding photographer isn’t an easy “spur of the moment” decision.
Every artist has a different style, and the same can be held true with photographers. Hours of hard work go into training, shooting, and editing – all so brides and grooms alike can fall in love with the final result.
If you’ve been struggling to narrow down your options, stay on budget, and make the best decision for your special day, follow our guide to:
- Know what to look out for in a wedding photographer
- Learn what questions you should be asking &
- Build suitable expectations for the day of your wedding
Stage 1: Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
If the crux of your issue is not knowing where to start searching, then your venue will likely have recommendations from local photographers. Of course you can also turn to Google (with your location turned on for local recommendations) and even LinkedIn to help. Once you’ve got a long list with hundreds of options, you’ll be able to start crossing some off.
Research Size & Scale
If you’re someone with a large extended family and a whole host of friends, understanding the capacity of your wedding photographer is an absolute must. For a large wedding, look for a small business of 3-5 people rather than a freelancer. This will help increase coverage and make sure vital moments aren’t missed because your photographers are shooting photos elsewhere.
Similarly, you’ll want to learn where your choices are based and whether they are able (or even willing) to travel out to your destination. If you live in London, for example, then make sure you aren’t browsing through a Scottish photographer’s website – getting your hopes up only to come crashing down to Earth!
Review Their Portfolio
Once you’ve found a few options that seem suitable for your dream wedding, take a look through available portfolios (warning: if the photographer you are considering doesn’t have one, then alarm bells should ring). Carefully review photos, editing style, and the overall result, before selecting which ones leap out at you.
Do you want bold, expressive photos brimming with laughter?
Or suave yet classy black-and-white pictures that promise a pure timelessness?
Every wedding photographer is guaranteed to have their own flair and style so make sure you choose one that matches your hopeful expectations for the big day.
By now, you should have easily narrowed down your choices to a few local options. Reviews are going to be the next thing that helps you cut down your decision – so make sure to take a look at social media, website testimonials, and Google My Business star ratings. Take a look through any critiques, and have an honest conversation with yourself about your priorities for the wedding – has someone made beautiful results but been an anti-social presence throughout the day? When making your choice, consider that a photographer isn’t just a camera – they are a person, too! Find someone who aligns with your ideals and requirements, such as always being on time, or being a reliant responder to messages. This will help quell some of the anxious-bride/groom panic that’s natural on the morning before you get married.
Request Quotes and Availability
Once you’ve got just a couple of options left from your previously long list, reach out to request pricing information and availability for the day of your wedding. Make sure to include vital wedding details such as:
- Your budget
- Expected guest total
- Date and time
This will help the photographer provide the best package options for you – and also immediately wrap up any conversations where they simply aren’t available.
Stage 2: Onboarding Your Wedding Photographer
Have you found the perfect person, the answer to your nightmare of a decision? Great! Now comes the onboarding process. Here, you’ll be able to ask every question to your heart’s desire and build an understanding of what to expect on the day.
Questions to Ask
If you’re bubbling with nerves and not sure what to ask your wedding photographer, here are some great FAQ basics to build a foundation of trust and knowledge between you:
Have you worked at our venue before, or will you want to review it beforehand?
Choosing a local wedding photographer comes with one main benefit – they’ll likely have experience with many of the local hotels, churches, or event venues. However, if someone is coming from further afar, then they may want to review lighting, angles, and positioning to capture that all-important “walk down the aisle” moment.
What information would you need from us before the wedding day?
The response may include a request for timings, access codes for pre-set up, or some desired contact information in case of disaster. Either way, knowing what your photographer will expect from you can give you a head start in providing them with what they need to succeed.
Can I point you to some photos from your portfolio that made me fall in love with your style?
This will help you highlight specific photos that you’d love to replicate in your wedding. This way, your photographer can give you staged instructions for a photo you know you’ll love.
Do you have any allergy requirements? Would you like to join us for food?
Whether you’re providing full individual meals for your guests, or a free-for-all buffet – you should incorporate your wedding photographer into your plans.
A recent viral social media post showed a groom not allowing their photographer to eat, or even have breaks, during his wedding in high heat. Not only is this unethical, but nobody wants a hangry, tired artist! They won’t be able to work to their best ability, and it’s better to make provisions for them as early in advance as possible.
Can we pay an extra fee if we require you to stay longer?
When the party’s in full blast with no sign of slowing, and your heart is full of happiness and romance, it’s normal to never want the fun to end. Asking your photographer if it’s possible to keep them for longer will enable you to either stay on the dance floor past their contract or remind you to pre-charge your phone so you can have some photo coverage long into the evening.
Can you pull together a slideshow for the wedding breakfast?
The editing process for wedding photos is a lengthy one, with average waiting times between 2-6 weeks for a full package (and then even longer for printed versions). However, asking your photographer to pull together a few slides over the evening will give you some extra smiles in the morning – and something to share online… if you care about that sort of thing.
Having a plan A, plan B, and plan C in place is a great idea for every step of your wedding, and the same applies to your guests. Getting your wedding team involved in designing back-ups for back-ups is key to a day that goes smoothly. Plus, knowing your photographer has extra equipment, or a friend on call, will help avoid complications and upset if things go wrong.
Meet Up & Discuss Logistics
Meeting up with your wedding photographer before the day is another way to build trust and understanding, iron out any questions, and build clear guidelines for expectations. Getting to know them as a human being rather than a faceless entity online will give you reassurance that you’ve made the right decision, and reveal the value of their commitment to you. You never know, you may end up making a friend for life!
Check-in Before Your Wedding
In the week running up to your wedding (or even the day before), check-in with your photographer, confirming:
- The date and the time they’re due to arrive
- Starting location and travel plans
Getting that last-minute thumbs-up from them is vital to enable you to enjoy your wedding morning with as little stress as possible. Add it to your pre-wedding checklist, along with the florist, baker, and chefs.
Stage 3: Enjoying Your Day
Breath. You’ve made it. Your wedding is about you and your partner, and try to make the most of it – letting everyone else do the worrying. No matter the weather, or even the small hiccups that are bound to go wrong no matter how much planning you do, you’re here – you’re safe, and it’s time to say “I do.”
With your wedding photographer by your side, you’ll have keepsakes for years to come. The joy is radiant (even if the sun isn’t). The same will apply to you. Smile, and embrace it.
Stage 4: The Wait for Submission
Feeling the blues after such an anticipated event has come and gone happens to many married couples. For so long, you had something to plan – something to work towards and be excited about.
Thankfully, that’s where honeymoons come in.
Make the most of the time you’ve got with your partner, and soon you’ll perk back up. After all, time flies by when you are having the time of your life. Before you know it, you’ll have another thing to be excited for: the arrival of your photos. The likelihood is, you’ll receive hundreds to thousands of options to look through, and choosing your favourites is another big decision itself.
Many photographers offer printing options, and selecting the best photo to hang above your fireplace will maximise good memories of your joyous occasion. Family members alike will want in on the action, so make sure to order plenty of canvas prints of your favourite photos, and consider making an album for perusal in the future.
You won’t regret the ones you do pick, only the ones you don’t.
Remember to leave part of your wedding budget aside to purchase and print as many photos as you can possibly fill your house with, and don’t forget some for your mother-in-law! Once you’ve bought the licenses and the print-outs: the photos are yours to keep. Treasure them, and treasure your new spouse.
Stage 5: Write a Heartfelt Review
Part of supporting your photographer, no matter the size and scale of their operation, is leaving a review after all the work has been done. Many artists rely entirely on word of mouth to spread the news about their skill, and this extra touch will help fortify a friendship with your wedding photographer (and this may come in handy for future anniversary shoots, family events, and referrals).
Despite common misperceptions, being a photographer isn’t an easy job. Time dedications go beyond onboarding and shooting, and editing photos to perfection can take weeks. Making the most of your wedding photographer and utilizing their skillset will help you enjoy a stress-free wedding, and absolutely adore your final photo packages. Leaving a review is a real, down-to-earth gesture that your photographer will greatly appreciate.
You’ve read the guide, and now it’s time to start choosing your photographer. For more information on planning your dream day, browse through our extensive range of wedding articles.