Steps to Take When Searching for a Wedding Photographer

Planning all aspects of a wedding can be a long and sometimes overwhelming process. Picking out the perfect vendors who fit your budget, style, and preferences often takes some serious research and consideration. While all vendors are important and contribute to the day in different ways, properly vetting your photographer is a great idea as your photos will be something you (and your significant other, friends, and family) will look back on for decades.

Luckily with the invention of social media, it’s become a much easier process to not only find a wedding photographer that fits your style and budget, but to figure out if this vendor is professional, reliable, and ethical. Here’s just a few things you should consider when looking to hire a wedding photographer:

1. Figure out the style you want

In a market saturated with photographers, you’re bound to come across numerous photography styles. Create a Pinterest board and save every wedding image that speaks to you: bride and groom portraits, decor inspiration, invitations, dresses, locations, and whatever else you love. Sit down with your significant other and write down a list of what draws you to those images in the first place. Do they have a bright, light and airy vibe? Maybe they’re more dark and moody, or maybe they’re simple and classic. Some people want only candid shots, while some people like a mix of candid and posed.

Get an idea of the style you want for your wedding and photos, and seek out photographers who consistently fit that style. Just determining what style you want can narrow down your search significantly.

2. Check their reviews

This is an absolute no-brainer. People love leaving reviews, and you can often find multiple reviews of the same photographer in a couple different locations. Of course, you should check the testimonies on the photographer’s website, but don’t forget to look at their Facebook and Google pages, as well as The Knot and Wedding Wire if they have a profile on those platforms. A photographer isn’t going to put a negative review on their site, so it’s important to look in multiple places so a valid, concerning review doesn’t slip through the cracks.

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3. Ask to see work that isn’t in their portfolio

Every wedding photographer is going to post their best photos that they are personally proud of and believe best represents their work. While a portfolio can give you a great idea of the skills a photographer has, don’t be afraid to ask to see work that isn’t highlighted in their portfolio. Instead, ask to see an example of a full client gallery. This will show you what a typical wedding day will look like from start to finish, and will give you an idea of how that photographer works in different lighting scenarios.

4. Reach out to previous clients

While reviews are always a great place to start, it always helps to go straight to the source. Reach out to previous clients via Instagram or email and ask them their experience with that photographer. More than likely, most people will be willing to give you an honest opinion as to whether or not they enjoyed their experience and photos with that photographer. Furthermore, they may give you some insight as to how friendly the photographer is, how they worked throughout the day, and maybe even some extra details that you may otherwise have not known about.

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5.  Ask for an in-person meeting

While a phone call or Skype session may be more than enough for some people, others may prefer an in-person meeting with their potential photographer. This is a great idea because it allows you to get a feel for them as a person and see if you two would work well together.

Maybe the photographer you’re interested in hiring is very casual and adventurous, but you are more proper and reserved. It would be best to meet in person to discuss your wants and needs for your wedding, because in the end it’s possible that you two are just not the right fit for one another (and that’s a-okay!).

Many times your photographer may have materials for you to look over such as printed wedding albums. This is a great time to get to know their personality as well as what other products they offer.

6. Determine what (if any) add-ons are important to you

An add-on is basically any service the photographer offers that isn’t immediately included in your wedding package. Add-ons may range from engagement sessions, adventure sessions, bridals, wedding day weekends, wedding albums, and much more.

Add-ons are typically priced a la carte, so it’s important to figure out what add-ons you want to include (if any), and determine if your potential photographer offers them.

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7. Understand how they work during a typical wedding day

Maybe you’re like me and enjoy being in the moment more than being directed into specific poses. In that case, you want to know how your potential photographer works during a typical wedding day. Are they a fly on the wall, capturing interactions as they happen naturally? Or are they going to set aside time during the reception to get specific poses of you?

You don’t want a photographer that goes against your wishes, or even worse, makes you feel uncomfortable. You should ask them how they work during a typical wedding day and make sure it lines up with your expectations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your photographer is very into posed shots, it wouldn’t be fair to expect them to shoot candid photos all night when they were upfront with their shooting style initially.

8. Find out their availability

So you think you may have found the perfect photographer, and now you want to reach out to them. Give them your exact wedding date during your initial inquiry to find out if they are available. Many photographers book dates anywhere from 6 – 12 months in advance, while some very well-known photographers get booked up to 2 years in advance.

Furthermore, it’s helpful to check out photographers travel itineraries, which are typically available on their site. You don’t want to waste your time inquiring about a service if that person isn’t even going to be in the same country on your wedding date.

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9. Include as much information as possible in your inquiry

The best inquiry a wedding photographer can receive is one that includes a ton of information. While we definitely need to know the date, location/venue, and hours of coverage you need, we absolutely LOVE to hear all about what style you guys love, what hobbies you’re passionate about, and any special touches you want to incorporate on your special day.

This not only helps a photographer determine if they would be a good fit for you, but also helps them get to know you on a more personal level. When a photographer knows more about you, they can better capture who you two are as a couple and individuals.

10. Be confident in who you hire

You’ve finally done the research, chosen the perfect photographer, paid the deposit, and secured your date. The hard part is over! Now is the time to send over your list of desired shots, be clear with your expectations, and be confident in who you hired.

When you’re hiring a professional, remember that you’re hiring someone who not only knows what they’re doing but is passionate about it as well. Micromanaging your wedding photographer is unnecessary. Trust that your hired photographer is getting the shots you want and enjoy your day!

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5 Reasons To Consider an Elopement

A few decades ago, eloping was synonymous with running away from home with your partner to get married. While that definition still holds true in some cases, today elopements are an intimate and adventurous way for a couple to get married without the stress and distraction of a more formal wedding.

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We always encourage more elopements, because we see them as the perfect opportunity for couples to take a simple, yet memorable route to marriage. But elopements are anything but boring, and the exclusivity of it all can make it feel that much more special. If you’re dead set on a regular wedding, that’s awesome! But if an elopement is something you have considered, let me give you some reasons why we think they happen to be the best.

1. You’re in much more control of your big day


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When planning a wedding, you have to make decisions about every aspect of the day. Maybe you’re a vegan and are trying to decide what type of food to serve to your guests. Or perhaps you have that one disruptive family member and you just can’t decide where to seat them to keep the peace. Maybe you sent out 100 invites and only 30 people have RSVP’ed, leaving you worried about who will actually show up.

When you elope, you get to decide what’s important and what isn’t. With just you, your future spouse, an officiant, and maybe a couple close family members/friends, a lot of the stressful decision-making vanishes. You will still have to do some planning, but with an elopement you can decide what matters most to you and focus solely on that.

2. You don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to


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With a large, traditional wedding, there is often a lot of pressure to invite everyone from each side of the family (even that crazy aunt that no one really gets along with). Maybe you already know that there will be some drama just creating the guest list. With an elopement, you can literally invite whoever you want. Want it to be just you and your honey? Done. Maybe you both want your parents there and that’s it. That’s awesome too!

Eloping can allow your wedding to be more about you and your significant other, and less about pleasing and accommodating all of your guests.

3. You can go somewhere awesome


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A lot of people who have traditional weddings do so in their hometowns so all their friends and family can attend, and some people aren’t able to take a honeymoon after the expenses of the wedding. With an elopement, you don’t have to worry about a centralized location that works for everyone.

Wanna get married on the beach in Jamaica? Do it and then enjoy the rest of the time adventuring with your babe. One of the many reasons elopements have become as popular as they are is because you get to combine a wedding and a vacation. Sounds like a win to me.

4. It can be as formal, informal, adventurous, or silly as you want it to be


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Maybe you love formal weddings but the idea of an elopement is exciting to you. You can still incorporate all of those things into your big day. Maybe you guys want to wake up early in the morning, hike to the top of a mountain and get married at the peak. You do you.

With an elopement there’s no pressure to do things the “normal” way. Put your own spin on it and make it a day you and your future spouse will always remember.

5. You get to focus on what’s most important: each other


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Elopements allow you to have that special time to focus on your relationship. You two are making a decision to love each other and stick by one another for the rest of your lives. Eloping allows for no distractions; you two can focus on your day being just about the two of you.

The best part is that while you can save your ceremony for you and your significant other, you can always meet up with friends and family later on to celebrate. We know several couples who have eloped and then chosen to have an awesome reception with all their friends and family when they get back. It’s the best of both worlds, and can make sure everyone is included without sacrificing what’s important to you.

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At the end of the day, whether you decide to have an enormous wedding, a relaxing backyard wedding, or the most intimate elopement, what truly matters is the love you have for each other.