Finding and Hiring a Photographer for Your Wedding
One of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding is who to hire for your photographer. Not only is it one of the larger expenses you will have, but you are trusting that person to capture one of the most important days of your life. But when there are hundreds of photographers in and around the Twin Cities area, how do you even start looking?
The first thing to keep in mind is that most independent photographers can only do one wedding a day, so they are one of the first vendors you want to book. There are some who have associate photographers they can assign who will be the one to take the photos on the day of the wedding, but then the main person will still edit them in their style. Or, there are different shops around town that have multiple photographers in their group you can choose from, so you know who will be coming to your wedding. Then those photographers turn the files over to a central editing team who will cull the raw photos and deliver a certain number of edited photos to you in your gallery.
When you start the process of choosing a photographer, it can seem overwhelming. The best way to start is to figure out what kind of style of wedding photography you like. If you don’t know, check out some of the photos of your friends or family’s weddings on Facebook or Instagram, or have them send you some photos of their wedding. Because you know how they look on any given day, you will be able to tell if the style of photography they had really reflected who they are. This may be easier for you than looking at photos of strangers.
Next, think about if you like the photography itself? Was the filter they used too dark? Too light? Did the pictures seem too formal or not formal enough? Did you like the angles they captured people from? Even if you aren’t quite sure what you are looking at or for, one thing I can almost guarantee you is that you will know what you don’t like, which is almost as important, and something you can talk to about with potential photographers.
When it comes to the cost of photography, you will find that like with any service, there are variances in pricing, and most of the time the old saying “you get what you pay for” is never more true. That’s not to say you can’t get a quality photographer at a less expensive price, but you may have to cut down on things like how many hours you have them there for or if they have a second shooter. Be sure to keep the following in mind when looking at pricing:
How many hours does it include on the day of the wedding?
Does it include a second shooter or is that extra?
What other things come with the package: engagement shot, album, prints, etc.
If you are not working with a Planner, there are a few things to remember when contacting a photographer to inquire about their services:
Be sure to put either the date of your wedding or the time period you are thinking about if you haven’t picked one yet in your inquiry.
Don’t just ask them for their pricing. Also ask some specific questions about what their services include.
Tell them a little bit about your vision for the day and/or some of your story. How they respond to this may give you a good idea if they are someone you want to meet in person.
As a Planner, in working with clients we send them portfolios of photographers with different styles to help narrow down what couples might be looking for. From there, we send them 3-5 options on photographers based on the following criteria:
They are available on the day.
They have a style (either in personality and/or photography) that we think will fit well with the couple.
They offer package options that will cover the parts of the wedding the couple wants.
They are around the price range the couple was looking to stay in.
From there we do email introductions to the photographers they want to meet with and let them set up a time to talk on their own. Even as a Planner, we do not attend or participate in meetings with photographers to start. We want couples to be completely comfortable with the photographer without any outside influence by us. They will be with them a good portion of the day, so the personal dynamic is just as important as how you like their work.
Making the decision becomes easier because most of the time when couples talk to a few photographers, they find one they really connect with and that will usually complete the search. This way the couple knows they are getting a photographer whose work they like, has the services they need for the day, and they get along with.
Check out our YouTube video for an interview with two Twin Cities photographers who answer the most common questions we get from couples about their wedding day photography.