Once your wedding day is over, your wedding photographs are what will become your most treasured wedding keepsake. They are what you'll post to your social media and send to your family and friends the moment you receive them. After your wedding day, you'll most likely be obsessively refreshing your inbox every day while asking yourself, "Are they here yet!?" This is why it's so important that you choose a photographer that is just right for YOU.
Unlike the work of your other vendors, photographs aren't something that you can go do a tasting of, visit, listen to, or try on. There's a lot of careful research you'll want to do when trying to find your photographer. We're outlining a "study guide" to help you do your homework!
Book your venue first.
It's a smart idea to secure your venue first. Just like venues, photographers can be booked up a year in advance. Aim to hire your photographer 9 months to a year before your wedding date if you can. Not sure how to choose your venue? Click here for our guide on how to choose the perfect wedding venue.
Once you have your venue secured, ask them for their preferred vendors list. Generally the venue will have a list of photographers who they have worked with before at the venue that they can recommend to you. This is helpful because those photographers will be familiar with the space and already know all of the best shots!
Figure out the style of photography that you like.
Now here's the really fun part...look at lots and lots of wedding photos! Do your homework by browsing several wedding blogs to see what style speaks to you. Do you like bright and pop-y with saturated color? Vintage tones? Dark and moody? Or maybe you're more drawn to classic, black and white photos. If there's a specific style that you love, make sure that you choose a photographer that specializes in that. Check out their website, Facebook, and Instagram to get a feel for their style. Be sure to do a deep dive and look at full wedding albums that they have on their site so you can see how your wedding gallery might look.
It's also helpful to read reviews from newlyweds from sites like The Knot and other local listings. Is the feedback from the clients positive? How does the photographer respond? Do they seem friendly and personable? This will help you get a feel for what kind of working relationship you'll build with them.
Seek recommendations from your social network.
Ask your recently married friends who they used as their photographer and how they found them. Do you love your high school friend's wedding photos that you see on Facebook? Ask them who their photographer was! Also, if you see wedding photos on Instagram that you love, check out which photographer was tagged. Pick up several local wedding magazines, like Brides of Houston, from the store and page through the Real Weddings section. Pay close attention to the photo credits while you are browsing.
Make sure your personalities match.
Don't underestimate the important of liking your photographer, after all, they will literally be shadowing your every move the day of your wedding. You want to make sure that your photographer is someone who makes you feel comfortable and who you trust. You need to feel confident following the directions that they give you. The more comfortable they make you feel, the better your photos will turn out!
Browse their website and read through their About Me sections to get a feel for their personality and what makes them stand out amongst other vendors. Set up a phone call with them to see if your personalities mesh. Share your wedding vision with them and see if they seem genuinely excited and inspired to be a part of your special day.
Discuss the cost.
Have a budget in mind when you're searching for the perfect photographer. Just like you wouldn't try on a wedding dress that's way out of your price range, make sure you're not falling in love with a photographer's work that's out of your reach. Some photographers will list their prices on their website. For others, you might have to request their pricing via email or by filling out a form on their website. Be sure to carefully review what is included in each package (how many hours, additional coverage, photos you'll receive, etc). Your photographer will help you create your timeline for the day, so ask them how many hours they would be needed for based on the shots you want. Talk with them and see if they'll be the one shooting at your wedding or if they'll be sending someone else from their company. Also, discuss the potential need for a second shooter at your wedding and if that's included. They can help steer you in the right direction for what you'll need to help capture your vision.
Schedule a test run.
Some photographers will have an engagement session or bridals included in their packages. An engagement session with your photographer is always a great idea- this is the perfect opportunity to get to know your photographer better and help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Let's be real, we're not all professional models here and sometimes we get camera shy! The "poses" your photographer will ask you and your partner to do will often be the same poses they'll ask you do to on your wedding day, so make sure you're a fan of the directions you are being given. The ultimate goal is to have fun during these shoots, or at the very least think "well that wasn't so bad!"
To get to know some of the best photographers in the greater Houston area, be sure to check out our Instagram every Friday during the month of July for our #FeatureFriday photographer spotlights.
Photo by: Kristen Giles