How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

January 18, 2024

With all the planning, anticipation, and excitement that goes into a wedding, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the big day passes. Fortunately, wedding photos allow you to capture and savor every moment for years to come. So, choosing the right wedding photographer is no small part of wedding planning.

When you start your search, the wide range of prices and packages can be overwhelming. Every photographer also has a different style, skill level, and personality. So, how can you narrow your search and find the best photographer for your big day? Let's dig in and find out!

What Makes a Great Wedding Photographer?

If you don’t consider yourself photography savvy, you may have no idea what to look for in a wedding photographer. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

In general, you should look for:

  • Experience
  • Style (fine art vs. emotional candids, timeless vs. trendy, etc.)
  • Creativity
  • Personality
  • Positive reviews from previous wedding clients

You can get a feel for each of these factors by reviewing the photographer’s website and portfolio, followed by a phone conversation or in-person meeting. 

Experienced photographers have a knack for predicting important moments and guiding you more confidently through the process. But they’re usually more expensive, so if cutting costs is a priority, you can look for a naturally talented photographer with less experience. However, don’t expect photographers to have very low prices. Being a photographer is an expensive profession, whether you are a beginner or a long-time professional, and nobody likes to work for free.

Along with style and pricing, personality matters because you want someone you jive with, someone who will reduce stress, instead of adding it on the big day. Positive reviews (or the lack of them) give you an idea of the photographer’s ability and the overall experience they create. If they have a lot of happy customers, it’s more likely that you’ll be a happy customer, too.

If you don’t think you know how to judge style or creativity, don’t worry. Simply look for photography that you love. If the photographer’s work speaks to you and makes you think, “I want my photos to look like that,” then you’re on the right track!

Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about how to conduct your wedding photographer search.

Set Your Budget

Quality wedding photography doesn’t come cheap. As you set your budget, remember that prices factor in your photographer’s creative ability, experience, equipment costs, travel expenses, and the many hours involved in preparation, capturing your special day, and editing your photos. 

Start by finding wedding photographers in your area who post rates on their websites. You can also ask recently married friends and family members how much they spent on wedding photography. Prices vary widely, but this will give you enough information to use as a starting point.

Decide on a budget range you’re willing to pay. Looking for photographers within these parameters can simplify your search process.

wedding photography couple on beach

Know What You’re Looking For

The next step in choosing a wedding photographer is deciding exactly what you’re looking for and what matters the most to you. Completing this step before diving into your search will help you further narrow your options and feel less overwhelmed.

Think about the style that most appeals to you. If you’re unsure, try making a collection of your favorite wedding photos. What do they have in common? Is it the composition? The editing? The ability to beautifully capture emotion? Do you like glamorous photos, or something that feels more personal? Once you know what you love, look for a photographer who excels in that style.

You should also think about what qualities you consider most important in a wedding photographer. How much does turnaround time matter to you, and what are your expectations? What about the personality of the photographer you choose? Do you have a large, loud family and need a photographer with a big personality to direct everyone? Are you camera shy and hoping to find a photographer who helps you feel more comfortable? 

Now, write a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a wedding photographer. If you want to get super organized, rank the items on your list in order of most to least important.

Define Your Priorities

Before going full steam ahead on your search, think about where your budget range falls on your list of priorities. The more specific shots you request and the more hours you require, the more the cost of wedding photography increases.

So, how many hours do you expect to need your photographer? Do you want photos of getting ready, the wedding, the reception, and your exit? What types of photos are most important to you (e.g., candids, family shots, portraits of just the two of you)?

And are you willing to sacrifice some of your wish list to get a more affordable price? Let’s say you find your dream photographer, but they’re outside your budget range. Are you willing to give up photos of the reception and your exit? Or would you prefer to get your entire wish list with a more affordable photographer who isn’t your top choice? 

We know, it’s a lot to consider! But pondering these questions beforehand will inform your search and the questions you ask prospective wedding photographers. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for and what’s most important to you will help you find a photographer who’s the perfect fit for your big day.

Ask for Referrals

Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for, the easiest route to a great wedding photographer is asking for referrals from a reliable source. 

Ask if your venue has a list of preferred vendors, then check whether their preferred photographer(s) match your preferences. Or talk to friends and family members who loved their wedding photographer. Ask questions about their experience and if you can look through their full wedding gallery.

Related Posts