Choosing a wedding photographer can be tough. Chances are, you probably haven’t dreamed of who your wedding photographer would be in the same way you might have fantasized about your dress, the venue, or the person you’re going to marry (if at all, which is most likely why you’re wondering how to pick a wedding photographer). As non-glamorous as it may feel (for now, at least!), picking your wedding photographer is JUST as high on the list as your venue and florist. Since you likely haven’t been dreaming of this decision your whole life, I’m guessing it can feel like you have no idea where to even begin. Good news is, you’re not alone!
Here are a few things to consider and a couple of questions you might want to ask yourself or your potential photographer to help guide you on how to pick the right wedding photographer for your big day.
Pick a Wedding Photographer With Consistent Imagery
Once you’ve gathered a list of wedding photographers to pick from in your area, take a look at their portfolios. Yes, you want someone who can take pretty pictures. However, the key thing you want to be looking for here is overall consistency in their work. Can your photographer deliver on what they are advertising? Do their images all look like they were taken by the same person?
While each event or session will have its own unique quality, there will be a cohesive feel and look across the board. Perhaps even more telling of the photographer’s overall consistency, is the cohesiveness between images within the same gallery.
Imagine looking through an online photo gallery and the first few images just draw you right in. They’re bright and dreamy and ethereal, and exactly how you want to capture and remember your special day. “Wow! Those are amazing!” you might think.
However, as you click through the gallery, the next images from the same event have a darker and edgier feel with muted colors, and then the next few after that are bolder and more dramatic. While each image might be amazing in its own respect, you don’t want what’s delivered after your wedding day to be a mixed bag of styles or quality (unless you do, then keep doing you, boo!).
Pick A Wedding Photographer Who's Style Matches Your Vision
While I lightly touched on this in the previous section, I think deserves a specific shout out. Each photographer has their own style that dictates how they shoot and edit their photos. It’s important to pick a wedding photographer whose style matches the aesthetic of your vision.
If you had your heart set on getting married right as the sun went down and want to remember the way the sky was on fire on the day you married the love of your life, then a photographer whose editing style often over-exposes the sky may not be a good fit for you.
If instead, you are more focused on capturing the excitement, expression, and light that you and your new hubby radiate when you’re together, then maybe that light and airy photographer is the one for you, because it’s all about you and sky be damned (or at least softened)!
While looking through different photographer’s galleries, ask yourself “What about their images speaks to me?”. Think of words or feelings that you get when you look at the lighting, colors, and tones of their images. From there, figure out if that matches the overall story telling you want your images to convey.
Gear Related Considerations When Picking Your Wedding Photographer
Technology versus talent will always be a hot topic of debate within the photography community. Here’s how and why it concerns you. Understand that they both play a role in creating the images you will cherish for a lifetime.
A truly talented photographer can and will create beautiful imagery with just about any piece of equipment you give them. However, the quality of the equipment definitely determines the quality of the image. A low-end camera with a pop-up flash in a dark church may still capture a nice image. However, it is likely there will be significantly more noise or grittiness to the digital and printed image, than if that same image was captured on a camera with better low-light functionality.
When the Gear Matters
Without question, higher end cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment will produce crisper, clearer images. But because of a multitude of factors, sometimes the difference in quality is only a fraction of a difference. Don’t just asking what model camera they have. Instead, inquire about how their camera handles low light situations or how quickly their camera and lens combination can achieve clear focus.
Another factor to be mindful of the camera equipment comes into play when there are multiple photographers during the day. In an ideal world, every person working the wedding with a camera in their hand should have at the very least, the same brand of camera if not the same model.
This is because of a thing we photographers have a love-hate relationship with called Color Science. To put it simply, each camera brand has their own formula for the way their cameras capture color. It can become noticeable when the same image is taken with different camera brands.
If your lead shooter has a Canon and their second shooter has a Nikon, and their 3rd shooter/assistant is rocking a Sony you might notice slight color variations across your gallery. That is, of course, unless they’ve got some kick-*** editing skills, but even still it’s a headache to work with. Consider asking your photographer if everyone working the wedding shoots with the same brand and how they account for that if they aren’t.
Look For A Wedding Photographer Who Has Additional Resources Available For You
Your photographer is a person of many hats. They are one of the few people who stay with you during the entire day. This means your photographer will serve as one of your most valuable resources. Whether it’s helping along the timeline or lending an extra hand buttoning up the dress, your photographer will know how to best serve you.
Look for a photographer who has a resource page. This could include blog articles or downloadable materials that may help with different aspects of the wedding planning process. Chances are, they’ve been around the wedding block a time or two and have the knowledge to help be that source of calm during a whirlwind of a day.
Pick a Wedding Photographer That Feels Like Family!
I saved the best for last for you here, because this is what we feel is possibly the most important aspect of picking the right wedding photographer to capture your day. Did they feel like family from the moment you met them?
I know you’re probably thinking “wait a minute, I’m not trying to adopt a photographer here”, but hear me out. Like I said earlier, this person that you pick must be your kind of person. You’re going to be spending more time with your photographer than you will the person you’re actually marrying! Ya’ll better be besties from the very beginning or it could make a long day that much longer!
During your initial meeting with your potential photographer, be aware of a couple of key things. Pay special attention to their ability to match to your personality and energy level. Notice if you feel naturally comfortable around them or if something feels forced. Picking and working with your photographer should feel natural and easy. If anything falls short, it may be worth the extra time to keep searching until you find the perfect fit.
I hope this article got those gears turning! Hopefully you’re feeling better prepared to start reaching out to different photographers in your area. More importantly, I want you to feel confident that you will be picking the right wedding photographer for you. It can be a bit of a process. Trust me, I know. Keep these tips and questions in the back of your mind. It can make the process a little smoother and that much more worth it when you find the right one!
As always, if there is something you’d like to hear more about, or if we missed anything, we want to hear from you in the comments below!
Be sure to check out our Wedding Planning Resources page for more tips and insights for planning your big day.
About Ashley and Erik Photography
We are a family of like-minded creatives in Miami serving South Florida and various destinations, who wish to be a spark in the lives of the clients and families we serve. We are dedicated to loving and serving our clients as if they were our own family, and elegantly preserving their stories to be shared with future generations. We’d love to grab a coffee with you and discuss any questions you have about our Wedding Photography Experience. Please feel free to contact us anytime.