When you’re looking for the right wedding photographer, there’s a lot to think about! If you’re in Virginia like me, there’s so many options, price points, personalities–each with their own pricing and package structure. It can be overwhelming! As a wedding photographer myself, I know just how many small decisions and preferences go into choosing the right photographer and package. Here are a few things you need to know before you inquire with a wedding photographer. These will help streamline your conversations and get you started on the same page!
This seems simple, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t sure yet! It’s easy to get excited about scheduling engagement photos to post an announcement, without realizing that 90% of the time engagement photos are part of a full wedding photography package. It really enhances your own experience and the wedding photography process if you work with the same photographer for both. It would REALLY stink to end up loving your engagement photos, only to find out your photographer isn’t available for your wedding date!
So, in order to make sure they’re available and get an accurate quote, you need to know when and where you’re getting married! On some occasions, it might be okay to just know the month and city, if you’re still looking for a venue and the photographer of choice has pretty open availability. But you really want to avoid signing a contract and paying a deposit on a package if you aren’t 100% certain they’ll be available for your date.
We want you to absolutely love your wedding photos! That means loving the editing style and posing too. Most photographers have spent years fine-tuning their specific style of work. They aim for consistency across all their weddings and sessions, so the outcome is a good reflection of their brand. Photography styles are not generally flexible. Your light and airy wedding photographer is not going to be able to edit a dark and moody in home engagement session.
Make sure that the photographer you are inquiring with has a style of work that you love! Spend some time on Pinterest looking around at wedding content. Start making yourself a mood board of portraits that you like, regardless of the subject matter. Remember that Pinterest is idealistic content, so not every photographer in your budget is going to line up to those expectations. But use the board as a guide against the general style and tone of photography.
After deciding on a date and place, the size of the wedding is most important when it comes to the photography logistics. The number of guests, size of the wedding party, and details about location transitions help me understand whether we’ll need one or two photographers to properly capture the day, or possibly an assistant to help with logistics. Most photography quotes are based on hours of coverage. We’ll use details about the size of the wedding and number of locations (ceremony, portraits, and reception) to help us determine how many hours of coverage is right for your wedding day.
Note: it is always better to book a comfortable amount of coverage, versus trying to save money by squeezing your day into a shorter timeline. When working through a wedding consultation, my goal is always to get you matched with the right photography coverage for you. No matter how great the consultation is going, if the budget isn’t there for the coverage they need, it’s better for me to connect them with someone in their price range so they can have a great, not rushed wedding experience.
Speaking of budget… you’ll want to know yours! Or at least have an estimate in mind. It’s hard to know exactly what you want to spend when you still need to talk through what’s included, what your day requires, and consider optional items like albums and print products. Start with a comfortable range for you, and keep an open mind. Your photographer might offer something valuable you didn’t think of before, maybe they have a videographer on their team too, or their process seems so stress-free it’s worth the additional cost. You’ll have to weigh those decisions after your consultation, but you do need a starting range in mind before you start inquiring with photographers for your wedding.
If you’re curious about what wedding photography costs in Virginia, I go into more detail on that topic on my own blog.
Close your eyes and think about picking up your wedding album after it’s all over. You’re smiling at the pages. Who is in those photos? What’s making you smile? Are they candid moments with family members that traveled in from far away? Or maybe they’re luxury bridal portraits in the veil you’ve been looking forward to wearing forever! Now look at the photography options you’re considering… do they have images in their portfolio that reflect these priority images? You want to make sure they will naturally view the day the way you’d like to remember it. Style extends to more than just colors, tones, and exposure. It’s how they tell a story, what they notice and decide is camera-worthy, posing and prompting. Once a wedding day moment happens, it’s gone forever. You want to be confident you picked the right person to memorialize it in a meaningful way.
Thinking about these five things will get you started on finding the best photographer for your wedding. Booking your vendors is a little like dating sometimes. You want to find a skilled team, but also people who are supportive, connect with you, and whom you can trust. One of the best ways to ensure you get trustworthy vendors is to ask for referrals! I highly recommend you hire a planner to help you with all the contracts and logistics that go with booking these vendors. But you can also ask your venue, other vendors, and even friends or family who they recommend. Everyone has different preferences, so ensure they still measure up to all your expectations even if they were referred by a friend.
Have more questions about wedding photography? My inbox is always open! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This guest post was so fun to write, and I hope you found it helpful!