You've been scrolling through Instagram for the digital equivalent of eternity. Double tapping and following photography accounts that make your heart skip a beat with all the glowing couples silhouetted on mountaintops.
But now it's time to lock down a photographer for one of the most important days you'll ever have, how do you know which of the photographers you've found will be a good fit for your day?
There's so much more that goes into being an excellent wedding photographer than simply be able to click and shutter button and knowing good light from bad. A wedding is a unique experience; you need a photographer who can anticipate key moments, work with a wide range of personalities (pause for a moment to imagine every member of your family + friend groups interacting in a few crowded hotel rooms or an Airbnb), someone who knows how to guide an entire wedding party through the key moments of a wedding day + has an eye for the emotions and chaotic beauty that is a wedding unfolding in real time. Not every photographer fits this bill and here are some key questions to ask and consider as you weed through the possibilities to find the photographer who will capture your dream wedding!
1. Communication, few things are as key as this one. You'll be in contact with your photographer for up to a year before your wedding day and because of this you want to work with someone who communicates promptly, answers your questions with ease and doesn't leave you hanging for weeks wondering if they've escaped to the amazon or worse, forgotten your wedding day! Your photographer is a vendor that you remain in contact with for much more of the planning process. From the initial coffee date or FaceTime call to interview them, to the multiple email chains that will accrue as you plan, to the scheduling your engagement session, and finishing with the final lead up to the wedding day - for all of these major planning steps, good communication is a must! Additionally, during the wedding day your photographer will be with you from start to finish, it makes sense to have someone by your side (especially during emotional and intimate moments like a first look) that you choose a photographer who makes you feel comfortable!
A follow up to consider in the communication department; does your potential photographer's communication style mesh well with yours? If you prefer direct straight talk, it may be wise to steer away from the blushing violet, fly-on-the-wall photographer and go with a bold and blunt professional who can give it to you straight and not be afraid to speak up and bring important details to your attention. Vise versa; if you prefer a gentle communicator don't gravitate to the photographer who has a loud, take charge attitude. Neither is incorrect, but it makes sense to find someone who's communication style matches yours.
2. Style! This may be the obvious consideration, but with good reason, you want to love the work and style of the artist that will capture your memories! Whether you gravitate toward warm colorful images, or bright airy photographs, find a photographer whose work matches the look you desire. Take time to browse the Instagram and website. You should see a consistent body of work that shows a consistent style. In addition, ask to see a few full galleries! You want to see what an entire wedding day will look like (including different light and environments), not just a few golden hour shots from sunset.
3. The nitty-gritty, Their artistic work and personality a huge part of why you should pick a photographer, but another side to the work they do is being a responsible business owner who knows how to protect your images and what to do in less than ideal scenarios.
Ask them about how they back up their images, what protections do they have in place to counteract card corruptions and hard drive failures. Do they carry business insurance (your venue may require this). Also, ask about contingency plans for unexpected occurrences like illness (do they have several backup photographers in their network or team who could step up if an emergency keeps your photographer from your wedding). It's unlikely, but what preparations do they have in place should they (gulp!) shuffle off their mortal coil prior to delivering your wedding gallery?
Any photographer worth their salt, and the hard earned money you're putting toward their services, will have answers to these types of questions.
4. Why are they a Wedding Photographer?
Being a wedding photographer is a special breed of artist. It's a fabulous, exciting career, but it's also challenging and not for the faint of heart. There's a wide range of careers in the field of photographer, but shooting weddings requires a degree of passion + stamina and it's good to know what motivates the photographer you're considering.
With these four questions you're ready to really dig into finding the perfect wedding photographer for your incredible celebration! Consider all of the information as you search through the endless sea of camera wielding photogs!
Good luck and may the photographer who captures your wedding always shoot your best angles and be as passionate about seeing the light of your love inside their lens as they are about a sunset over Yosemite!