A few weeks ago, I shared a list of must-ask questions for your wedding photographer. These are questions that ideally you’d ask during the inquiry stage, before booking, to make sure you’re happy & confident about your choice. Today I wanted to dive a little deeper into how to search for a wedding photographer AND how to decide who is the best fit for you.
Before we can find & choose a photographer, there is one important thing you gotta do…
Decide on a budget
I know, talking about money is not as much fun as… not talking about money. But this is important – and honestly, if you’re getting married, there are lots of money talks in your future – so don’t shy away from this chat. Talk first with your spouse-to-be and get on the same page about what you want to invest in your photography. There’s certainly truth to the saying “you get what you pay for” BUT, there is absolutely a photographer out there for every budget. You can find someone that you can be excited about AND afford. Decide on a range of what you’re comfortable spending.
Once you know your budget, it’s time to start the search for THE ONE! (not your life partner, your wedding photographer) And my advice here is…
Wedding photographers can get booked up pretty far in advance, especially since most of us take on a limited amount of weddings per year to ensure we can provide a great client experience. You’ll want to start looking pretty soon after you’ve locked in your date & venue. The sooner you can reach out, the better chance the photographers you love will be available!
Start with friends & instagram!
There’s a lot of value in recommendations from people you know! Ask around and see if any of your friends absolutely LOVED their photographer & photos. If you’re into their style, reach out & see if they’re available! Instagram is a great way to quickly find photographers in your area. Search a hashtag such as… #chicagoweddingphotographer or #illinoisweddingphotographer
Explore the images that come up & click on the posts that stand out to you!
Write down 10 or so names
Trust me, trying to decide between 3 photographers you like is much easier than trying to decide between 10. There is no need to overwhelm yourself with options. Chances are good that you’re already feeling the pressure of making the best choice. Make it easier on yourself by not going overboard with options. Start by reaching out to your favorite 3, then if one or more of them is already booked on your date, you can reach out to the others on your list.
You can find these on sites like Zola & Wedding Wire, & even on the photographers website. Reviews will start to give you a sense of what it would be like working with that photographer.
Set up meetings
…with 3 photographers who have your date available. In person, or Zoom is great – communicating is always better when you can actually see each other! They’ll likely have some questions for you & you should come prepared with your own set of questions! What kind of questions you ask? – I made a list for you here.
Make sure it feels like a good fit
You’ll be spending a good amount of time communicating with this person before the wedding & of course on your wedding day. You want to make sure your personalities vibe well & that you feel comfortable around them. If you actually LIKE your photographer, this will make your experience 10x better. Again, there is a photographer out there for everyone. Don’t feel like you need to move forward with someone you’re not excited to work with.
Compare options & go with your gut!
The photographers you connect with should provide you with quotes & package options. Compare their offerings & see who is offering the most value. Don’t forget to consider their personalities as well! Someone might be worth a higher price tag if your gut is telling you to go with them. The biggest thing is trust. If you feel that you’ll be well taken care of & have a great experience – that’s worth a lot.
I hope this is so helpful to you! Explore the Helpful Tips category to find more expertise!