Even as a wedding photographer myself, choosing a photographer felt paralyzing. There is this intense pressure to make the right decision. You’ll have these pictures forever, right? I’ve been getting this question a lot lately so I figured I’d put my best advice into a blog post in case this information is helpful to others!
Choose the absolute best photographer you can afford
This should be your guiding principle. The best you can afford. I know I am biased, but after a while you start to forget the little details and moments, and the photos and videos will be the things you cherish.
Settle on a style you and your partner both love
You should see a picture that photographer has taken and think “these are exactly the kind of pictures I want for my wedding”, with no doubt or wavering.
Once you have a list of photographers based on the above criteria, these are the questions you should be asking them. BUT PLEASE don’t just email a bunch of photographers these questions. Set up a phone call, coffee date or FaceTime chat and talk to them face to face. Have a conversation and get to know them as a person.
Ask the right questions
How many weddings have they shot (if it’s under 10 and they are insanely expensive, I’d be nervous there. Price should be connected with experience, and if there is a disconnect I’d be worried.)
How many weddings they shoot in a weekend? I will only ever do one full 8+ hour wedding in a single weekend. Weddings are physically and mentally demanding and I’d never want to be exhausted to shoot someone’s wedding.
Ask if they have a second shooter. If you have more than 90+ guests, you will want there to be two photographers. If you just want extra coverage, a second shooter is a great to have. For example, if you want pictures of the cocktail hour but will be taking family formals at this time, this is where a second shooter comes in handy to cover those moments while the primary photographer is working elsewhere.
Ask if you can see a full, delivered complete wedding gallery. Its easy to fall in love with their 20 favorite images on a blog post, but what do the other 700 look like from the rest of the day?
Ask if engagement pictures are included. It is AWESOME to get to shoot with your wedding photographer prior to the wedding to make sure you are comfortable with them and like their style of shooting.
Ask how many final files they will deliver to you. 60-80 images an hour is the usual amount, though every photographer differs. This is good to ask just to set expectations about what you will be getting.
Ask how long it will take to get your pictures back. Up to 8 weeks is OK and at the high end of industry standards. Any longer and I’d be worried.
Phew! I hope that helps! Choosing your photographer isn’t easy, so I also recommend taking your time and listening to your gut. Make sure you “jive” with them as people in addition to connecting with their work.
You got this!