One of the first vendors you’ll book will be your wedding photographer. They book fast because they can only do so many weddings in a year, and they’re such an important vendor. You’ll have your pictures forever, so you want a photographer whose work you love and who is going to provide you with an amazing experience. Here’s how to find and hire your wedding photographer.
How to find your wedding photographer
There are a variety of places you can go to find your wedding photographer. Don’t just rely on Wedding Wire and The Knot because there are tons of amazing vendors who aren’t on those sites. Wedding Wire and The Knot are great resources, especially since you can read reviews, but you don’t want to automatically discount vendors that aren’t on them. Outside of these websites, there are quite a few places to find your photographer.
Do a Google search
Yep, a good old-fashioned Google search is always helpful. Search for “wedding photographers in [your location]” and see who pops up. Many photographers utilize Google’s free business profile, but you can also just see who actually shows up in the search results. Google’s business profile has reviews too, which are always helpful. So, just spend some time Googling photographers and seeing what their websites are like.
Look for blogs
Many photographers have amazing blogs in which they showcase their work. If the photographers know their marketing, you should be able to easily find these blogs by searching for weddings at your venue or get creative and search for things like “winter weddings in [your location].” This is especially a great option if you’re having a destination wedding because photographers will often include location in their titles, so you can find any who have worked at your specific venue or who know the area really well. You can often find these blogs through a Google search or Pinterest. Pinterest is a great resource for looking for real weddings.
Check out Pinterest
You may not have thought of Pinterest as a place to go to hire vendors, but it absolutely is. Again, any photographer who knows their marketing has keywords in their title and profile. So, you can often search for “[your location] wedding photographers,” and they’ll pop up on Pinterest. I love Pinterest for this because photographers will often put up a variety of different weddings, and you can really get a sense of their work.
Scroll through Instagram
Instagram is another great place to look for photographers because you can really see so much of their work and get a feel of their personality from the captions. Again, they will often have those searchable words in their bio, so you can search for them. You can also go through location-specific hashtags and find work you love. So, if you’re looking at #NHWedding, odds are you’ll find some New Hampshire photographers. Some venues also have their own hashtags too.
Ask for recommendations
Did your friend recently get married and you love their images? Ask them who their photographer was! This is one of the best ways to find your wedding photographer because you can get the full rundown of someone’s experience with that photographer. It’s also an opportunity to maybe see a full gallery and get a good idea of how many photos and what kind of photos you’re going to get.
You can also ask for recommendations from your other wedding vendors, especially your wedding planner. They’ll only recommend wedding photographers who they’ve had good experiences with. They also might have a good idea of who will have the style you’ll like and who will fit in your budget.
How to pick your wedding photographer
Picking the right photographer is so important because photos (and video if you get it) are the best souvenirs you’ll have from your wedding. They’re the best way to relive the day. So, you’ll want to really take some time to pick the right one. Here are some things to consider as you make your decision.
Go through their work
So, obviously, their website is a great place to go to see a photographer’s work. If they have a blog, that’s often the best place because you’ll see a whole wedding and get a sense of how and what they shoot throughout the day. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are also great places to go to see more of their work.
You always want to pick a photographer whose work you LOVE. As you go through more and more photos, you’ll get an idea of what kind of style you like. Dark and moody? Bright and airy? Natural and candid? Once you’ve narrowed down your style, it’ll be easier to pick your photographer.
Look at your budget
You’ll typically want to get quotes from different photographers before you make your decision. Wedding photography can be expensive, and while we believe it’s worth the investment, still every couple can only afford so much. If you’ve only budgeted $2K for photography, but your dream photographer is $5K, you’ll need to make some decisions. Which photographer you ultimately go with might be determined by your budget and how much you have to spend on photography.
Talk to them
After you’ve reached out to a photographer, they’ll typically want to set up some sort of phone call or video call. If you love the photographer’s work, we recommend speaking with them. (If their photography style doesn’t really work for you or you already know they’re out of budget, don’t waste their time with an inquiry call.) You want to hire a wedding photographer who works with you personality-wise. It’s important that you get along with your photographer and that they make you feel relaxed. You don’t want to be tense and upset on your wedding day, and you will be with your photographer all day.
Ask them questions
When you’re meeting with your photographer, you’ll want to ask them some questions, so you get a sense of whether or not they’ll work for you. By this point, you should already know their photography style and have gone through quite a bit of their work. So, you’re really just asking the logistical questions. Some important questions to ask are:
- What is included in your packages?
- How many hours are included in the package?
- How will my photos be delievered?
- Are albums or prints included in your packages?
- Does your package include an engagement session?
- Do you offer any additional corrective editing services?
- Do you charge a travel fee and what is it?
- Will you have any assistants on my wedding day?
- Have you shot weddings with a similar style and size to ours?
- Have you ever worked with a videographer before? (If you’re having one. If you know who it is, ask if they’ve worked with them before.)
- Can we see a full gallery? (If you haven’t already)
- How would you describe your working style? More fly on the wall or more engaged?
- Do you shoot digitally or on film? (Film has a very specific style.)
- How much of a deposit do you require? When is it due?
- What is your refund or cancellation policy?
- Do you have liability insurance? Does it cover your assistants as well?
- Do you carry backup equipment?
- What is the backup plan if you are unable to photograph my wedding for an unexpected reason?
- Will you be posting about our wedding on your website and social media?
Your wedding photographer is a big decision, so really take the time to do your research and go with someone you love. If you find the right photographer, book them as soon as possible.
What kind of photographer are you looking for? Comment below and let us know!
Erin Lafond is a blogger with ample experience writing about weddings. She planned her own wedding and got married in October 2019. She lives in New Hampshire and loves a casual wedding with luxury details.