Beginning the Search for a Wedding Photographer
As I’m writing this post, engagement season is upon us. Couples all over will be preparing to take that next step together and will soon be planning a wedding.
That means they’ll also be looking for a wedding photographer.
With that in mind, I wanted to write this advice post to give some general pointers and information on what you should look for when searching for a wedding photographer.
I don’t want to focus on the technical side too much, although that is important. What I want to focus on is making sure a couple is comfortable with what will turn out to be a very important decision.
Why Finding the Right Wedding + Elopement Photographer is Important
Finding the right wedding photographer is important for a variety of reasons, but, above all else, your wedding photos are the official document and record of your celebration.
The photos are the lasting memories you’ll have of your special day, so you want to make sure whoever is taking them is 100% absolutely the right choice.
You want to find someone that is willing to be your advocate. Someone that will be by your side, not only to capture the big and small moments but will also to make sure nothing happens to prevent those moments from taking place.
What I’m trying to say is that you don’t want to trust your wedding photos to just any run-of-the-mill photographer.
It has to be the right choice for you and your partner.
How Do I Know if a Wedding Photographer Would be Right for Me?
That’s the million-dollar question.
Couples can go about finding a wedding photographer in all sorts of ways. They can begin with a google search for photographers in their area or where their ceremony will take place, they can go by word of mouth, or even go directly to someone they know.
Whatever the starting point may be, though, finding out if a wedding photographer is the right fit can be pretty standard.
The first method is, well, looking at their portfolio online. What weddings do they have on display? Do they have a multitude of galleries on their website? Do they even have a website? Are they just relying on Instagram? Are the photos they’re showing real weddings or staged shoots?
The other big thing to consider right out of the gate is a photographer’s style. Does it match the style you want? Do they do multiple styles? Do they refuse to do multiple styles? How open are they to input?
You’ll also want to find reviews from previous clients. Look at what their Google reviews say or recommendations on their Facebook page. If you can’t find them, ask for direct references from previous clients. A professional photographer will have no problem getting you this important information.
These are all questions to ask and consider when starting out because making sure you’re comfortable with the actual work of the wedding photographer is the first step.
What I recommend is making sure the photographer has lots of galleries of actual real weddings on a website. Staged shoots are fine and all, but they are done in 100% controlled settings. They, however, do not reflect the reality of a wedding day.
I also recommend finding someone that is willing to adapt and take input. These, after all, are your wedding photos. You want to find someone that is comfortable with giving you what you want while also maintaining their artistic vision.
You really want to find someone that has experience in shooting actual weddings and what that involves. There really is so much more to being a wedding photographer than just taking photos.
Find a Wedding Photographer that Will Go Above and Beyond
When I say a wedding photographer does far more than just take photos at an actual wedding, I mean it.
I’ve been a wedding photographer since 2010, and I’ve done all sorts of other tasks at weddings, mostly from a coordination standpoint.
This is for a very simple reason. It is because I want to make sure the day goes as smoothly as possible for the couple, and I’ll do anything and everything I can to ensure that happens.
If I see a potential fire developing, I will not hesitate to put it out. If the whip needs to be cracked to get people in line, I will not hesitate to be the bad guy.
I do all this because the couples I work with are important to me, and their day is important to me. I want them to have the best experience possible, and I will not let other circumstances creep in to prevent that from happening.
As a photographer, I don’t want a stressed-out couple because that means the photos run a real risk of reflecting that. I want my couples to relaxed and without worries.
I’m saying all this so you can consider that in your search for a wedding photographer. You really should have this in mind when searching for a photographer and are preparing to talk with them.
Talking + Meeting with a Wedding Photographer You’re Considering
After you’ve done your initial research and sent out inquiries, you’ll probably start developing a list of potential wedding photographers you really want to have document your celebration.
The next step, at least from my perspective, would be to arrange a consultation with them to go over more specifics.
When I do a consultation with a couple, I always send two things in advance. A FAQ to answer any preliminary questions they may have, and a copy of my standard agreement.
The agreement is the contract for the wedding. It spells out every term and condition, and it protects both me and the couple.
If a photographer doesn’t show you an agreement on their own, ask for one. If they still don’t show you one, run and don’t walk. Don’t ever work with a wedding photographer that doesn’t have an agreement in place.
Now, when it comes to consultations, they can be done on the phone, a video chat, or in person. I do a lot of traveling for my weddings, so I usually do consultations on the phone or via video chat, whichever method the couple prefers.
I have a standard flow I follow when doing a consultation, but the general idea is to give the couple a good idea of my personality, my approach, and how I will document their wedding. I ask them a lot of creative questions and a lot of questions about the timeline for the day.
I want to show them I’m already putting a plan in place for them in the event they choose me as their wedding photographer. I want to show them my experience is allowing me to do that.
Most importantly, though, I want to show them that they can be comfortable with me. That they’re making the right decision if they choose me as their wedding photographer.
Ultimately, this is what you should be considering when you’re having a consultation with your potential wedding photographer. You should feel comfortable talking with them. It should be like a light that turns on and something inside tells you, “Yeah… this person is the one I want to document my wedding”.
You’ll Know When You Find the Right Wedding Photographer
As mentioned, you’ll probably consider multiple wedding photographers in your search. You might even talk or meet with multiple photographers during the process.
When you find the right one, though, you’ll know they’re the right one.
It’s just something that will come to you. That match and that connection will hit, and you’ll want to proceed with that particular photographer.
If you have any hesitations or apprehension about a particular photographer, address them well before you make that important final decision. It could prevent a whole lot of heartache for you during your wedding day and after the fact.
I hope the advice I’ve given you in this post has been helpful. I also hope the advice I’ve given you has been enough so you’ll consider DSmithImages Photography as your official wedding photographer.
Everything I’ve told you in this post is what I will provide you as your wedding photographer.
You can also see all my wedding galleries. They are 100% real, and I’ve never done a staged shoot.
Most importantly, though, you can check my pricing and availability. This is where you can get really important information about what I can provide you while also sending in an inquiry for your date.
I’d love to talk about being your wedding photographer, and I’d love to answer any questions you might have!