Picking a wedding photographer is second to nailing down the vision of your wedding. You want your vision’s aesthetics to match with the photographer’s so that your wedding album five, ten, twenty, fifty years down the line maintain the exact air of what it was like to be at the significant day.
When I was trying to pick my wedding photographer, I ran into a few road blocks. I kept falling in love with the people, the weddings and the dresses I saw within the picture and would otherwise dismiss a photographer if the bridesmaids were wearing green or if the wedding was too shabby-chic for my taste.
After emailing about ten different wedding photographers asking for prices and some extra info – and sufficiently getting a bit overwhelmed as to how to match a price to an aesthetic – a former bride gave me a great piece of advice:
Make sure you are paying attention to the photographer’s style and talent, not whether or not you like the bride’s dress. Separate the style of the actual wedding being photographed from the photographer’s personal aesthetic and taste.
Well, that helped a lot. I began looking at photographers for their work versus the over-the-top amount of pink that one bride decorated her tables with.
Then, comes the budget. My wedding photographer was the first thing I really did some research on (other than my dress). It was hard to ascertain how much I should really spend on a wedding photographer. Prices vary so much for each vendor so it really comes down to what you want to put into each aspect of your wedding.
I felt it best to create an entire budget – a rough draft budget – of what I wanted to spend on each vendor before committing to any which one. This helped me see the bigger picture and helped me hone in on how much I wanted to spend on a wedding photographer versus a florist. If I spent a little more on one vendor, I would subtract a little from a different vendor’s budget that I wasn’t as passionate about.
At this stage, an overwhelming veil hovered about. When creating an entire rough draft budget for your wedding, it feels like you are planning your entire wedding in one swoop – and in a way, you are. The research I did to create my big-picture budget showed me how much I wanted to spend on each vendor and which led me to find most of my vendors along my research path. After that, it was just a matter of securing each one by one – one pop at a time. Overwhelming at first, significantly easy later.
A few budget questions to ask your photographer:
- If your photographer is traveling out of their home city to your wedding, what is the travel fee? Do you need to provide lodging?
- How early in advance do you need to pay the deposit?
- Do you need to provide a meal the day of the wedding?
- Do they provide the prints and if so, what is the print budget?
Now, with my eye trained towards the photographer’s aesthetic and my budget in hand, I was able to narrow it down so fast that my choice seemed so naturally obvious for both Adam and me as a couple.
As you saw, from ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS, Jamie Street from Rad & In Love will be shooting our wedding. But just to be entirely sure you have chemistry with your photographer and you like how they photograph YOU and your fiance specifically, always schedule an engagement photo session.
It may seem like a waste of money – but think of it as a trial run, not only to see if you and your photographer mesh in person and that you love how they capture you and your fiance, but also to get comfortable being photographed while being all lovey-dovey. It doesn’t come as naturally as you might expect.
So, a quick few tips:
- Look through 3-5 wedding albums for each photographer you are considering. Always keep in mind – if you don’t like some of their photos, is it the couple’s taste you don’t like or the actual photographer’s style? To keep that distinguishable, find weddings on wedding blogs that you like and then look at which photographer they used.
- Do your research on what kind of style you want your engagement/wedding photos to reflect – and how that style is a reflection of you two as a couple.
- Send photos of other engagement shoots/wedding albums you admire to your photographer – this is the best way for him/her to understand your vision.
- Remember – your engagement and wedding photos are for YOU! For our engagement session, Adam and I wanted to take really intimate photos for the two of us and then wanted more formal photos to send out to family, so that is what we did!
- Have fun! And try not to be as nervous as I was, k?
Did I miss anything?
Photography by Rad & In Love