Finding the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding can certainly be a process and take up some time! You want to make sure that you have gorgeous images from your wedding day but there are also a few other things to consider when finding the perfect wedding photographer. Keep reading for a few things that you may want to consider.
First thing is first, where do you start your wedding photographer search? You will want to look everywhere! Start your search with Google, look on The Knot and WeddingWire, ask your friends for referrals, read reviews, peruse bridal shows, etc. There are so many different places where you may find your dream wedding photographer! Also, don't be afraid to look for photographers outside of your area. A lot of wedding photographers travel (and those travel fees aren't as bad as you think) so if you aren't find the perfect photographer for you in your area, expand your search!
Photography Image Style
The first thing you will want to consider is what type of images are you envisioning for your wedding. Do you love the dark, moody, and dramatic images or do you love the light, airy, and bright images? Do you love true to life colors or are you more a fan of the muted colors? Each photographer is going to have a certain image style so knowing what you love will help you narrow down your search.
Just like image style, each photographer will have a different photography style too. Some are more photojournalistic and will capture the wedding as it unfolds candidly and some are more editorial where every single photo is posed and staged and some photographers may be a mix of both. Some photographers are more traditional with their images and some are more dramatic. Each photography style, like image style, can be gorgeous but it depends on what style you like best.
Images are not the only thing you want to consider when it comes to your wedding photographer search. You also want to consider your photographer's personality and how well you mesh with them. Your photographer will be with you longer than any other person on your wedding day. They will be there during the getting ready images all the way to the reception. You will want a photographer who you are comfortable around and who's personality you love.
Does the wedding photographer bring along backup equipment? This is really important. Weddings are a one time event with no do-overs and your photographer needs to be prepared. Cameras can malfunctions, lens can break, and memory cards can corrupt. If your wedding photographer doesn't have backup equipment then if something were to happen then they wouldn't be able to continue photographing your big day.
Independent Photographer vs Associate Photographer vs Corporation
There are several different business models when it comes to wedding photography and each of them have their own pros and cons. There is the Independent Photographer, which is probably the most common. This photographer owns and runs their own business and you will talk and work with them throughout the whole process. They may have a second photographer that comes along on the wedding day but they will still be there photographing your wedding, editing your images, and the one you communicate with. This type is usually a bit more expensive than the other types. Associate Photographers are photographers that Independent Photographers add on to their business. In this model, the Independent Photographer will be the one you communicate with but they outsource the photography aspect of your wedding to one of their associate photographers. The associate photographer will photograph your wedding but the independent photographer will edit the images. This type is a bit cheaper but you don't get the main photographer on your wedding day. Then there is the Corporation. With the corporation, you usually will be communicating with a sales rep. This sales rep will get you booked and communicate with you but one of their photographers will be photographing your wedding. You usually do not get to pick the photographer who will be there that day and may not be able to see the type of images that they produce before you book. This is the cheapest option but you run the risk on not really knowing what your images will look like and not being able to communicate with your photographer leading up to your wedding.
After you find a photographer that you love, you then will want to look at their packages. Do their packages include the type of items that you are wanting- second photographer, albums, canvases, photo booth, etc.
Lastly, you will want to consider the price. I made this the last point because, yes, the price is important but this is also a once in a lifetime event that you want to make sure is photographed beautifully. The images from your wedding day are one of the only things that you will have after the wedding is completed besides your spouse! If you find the perfect photographer that is outside of your budget, you may want to see if you can pull some money from something else. I'm not saying you should throw your budget completely out and hire someone that is completely over budget but sometimes you may have some wiggle room. If you are not sure how much to budget for your photographer, photography is usually around 12-15% of your total budget and the cost of the average wedding is $30,000.