The big day is months away…well, hopefully 6+ months away (more on that in due time). Congratulations and happy engagement! Planning a wedding is a wonderful mix of stress, excitement, and anticipation. After you say “yes”—or after they say “yes”—it is time to start planning some of the essential components of the big day. One of the things that is probably one of the most critical (in my humble opinion) is booking your wedding photographer.
There are a lot of different things to consider when selecting a wedding photographer, and this post is really meant to get you started thinking about the kind of photos you want to achieve on the day you say “I do.” Let’s first start with the basics and then move on to some of the more specific aspects and details you will want to consider before you actually settle and book the photographer of your choice.
For photographers at LakeShore Photography and Video, especially owner, Jimmy Fishbein, it is really important that you allow time to plan and talk about what kind of images you want to achieve—so let’s start there.
When to Book
People start booking as early as 18 months-2 years out, but a year is usually recommended. Anything less than 6-months you are going to be pushing it, and will also be paying more without a doubt! Some photographers might be willing to work with you (we’ve definitely accommodated for last-minute bookings in certain circumstances), but it is definitely not advised. Having more time means that you can rest assured that you are on the photographer’s calendar, able to take time to discuss what you want, and plan for the photography on the big day. Plus, having the photographer locked-down early means that you could also talk about engagement photos and test out their services before you commit fully. Bottom line: book as early as possible. It will definitely be helpful!
When you start doing your homework and researching wedding photographers you want to pay close attention to the kind of style they primarily shoot in—of course, many photographers can be slightly flexible if there are certain images you want to achieve, but everyone has their own style. The Knot breaks style down to documentary, portraiture, fine art, and edgy-bold. Whether or not all photographers agree with this break-down is up for debate, but truthfully, photographers do have their own feel to their portfolios, and it is something you want to pay attention to.
Make sure you like the portfolio of the photographer you select, but also check-out some of the full albums of the weddings that they have shot, this will give you better insight about what a final product really looks like.
Look At Reviews
Online reviews are such a powerful tool these days, they have taken word-of-mouth promotion to a heightened, visible, level in the online world. There is really no reason not to look up the reviews for a photographer. Photography studios may or may not have as many reviews as other business-types, but the important thing is their quality. You want to hear that people were positive about their experience working with the photography crew and that they would recommend them for other’s events. You also want to hear that people are happy with their photos (in case that wasn’t obvious).
You can see a recent review from our Wedding Wire account below:
First Impressions and Personalities Matter
While both the work and reputation of the artist go a long way, do not underestimate the importance of clicking with the photographer that you want to work with. Remember that this is a professional relationship that you are going to have and maintain for over a year, but more than that, you want to make sure the chemistry is right for being present and documenting your wedding day. Do you both share a vision for your wedding day? Do they have ideas that you like and do they respect and work with your ideas? These are really important aspects that will make or break how you work with your photographer! Remember that the production is important but this person is also going to be a guest on your big day, in some regard, so make sure you want them to be there!
Get All of the Details
You want to know everything from post-production timing, image rights, how the photographer might utilize the images (for example, on their website) up front and before you sign the paperwork. There is no specific rule for these aspects, but make sure that they are things you are comfortable with! Ask how many images you can expect, if the proofs will be retouched, and ask about any special effects or post-production work that you might want done!
Picking a wedding photographer is going to be one of the most important components of planning your wedding day. Remember that you are going to have those images forever, and you want to look back on your wedding photography fondly—knowing that you selected the photographer that captured your day exactly the way you were hoping for!
Do you have any questions about selecting a wedding photographer? Did we leave anything important off this list? Let us know in the comments section below—we would love to hear from you!