How to choose a perfect photographer for your wedding? (Part 1 - Research)
Choosing a perfect photographer for your wedding is not simple. You have to find a person with skills that make the photos of your wedding dream come true, AND you have to find the one whose personalities line up with yours. You might think “What personalities have to do with this?”
Let think about it for a moment. Unlike other vendors (such as DJ, florist, catering, etc.), you and your photographers have different kind of relationship. They work by your side throughout the entire day, have the closest interaction among others, and still work with you long after your wedding day. It is like the difference between finding a friend for your next road trip versus finding a friend to take you to the airport. Personalities significantly affect the relationship and determine how well your overall experience will go. Does it make sense for you?
Be prepared, it is a long journey to find a perfect photographer. But don’t worry, we will show you step-by-step, with tips and advice so that you can make your decision with confidence. We will divide this journey into different parts. With Part 1: Research, we will show you the first three steps. Then we will give you a homework (more like a fun activity) before we take you to Part 2. So here we go:
- Step 1: you should secure the venue, this will set the stone for everything you do later on, including choosing vendors. This helps you to decide in which areas you should look for photographers first.
- Step 2: define the style of photography that you like. This will tremendously help you narrow down your search and make the “interview” later on easier. You should keep in mind that the style should match your venue choice. For example, if your venue is indoor with dim light, a photographer whose strength is natural light might not be a good fit. In that case, you need someone with good flash skills.
- Step 3: make a list of potential photographers whom you like most. This can consume a lot of time. Where to start?
- The venue: they can tell you who worked there before.
- Your friends: who got married or about to. Ask them for their review.
- Other vendors: sometimes, photographer is not the first vendor you book. You might already book a makeup artist whom you love for so long. They can give you great recommendations as well.
- Other websites related to wedding (like wedding wire, the knot, etc.). It is easy to find a local photographer here. If you want to see their most recent weddings, check their actual websites, not their work on these websites.
- Google: if you are willing to invest your time, this is quite powerful.
Alright, as we said earlier, this is a little fun activity for you: make a list of 10 photographers you like. If you haven’t booked a venue or set a date yet, it’s still okay. The main goal for this exercise is to help you define your style of wedding photography through finding photographers whose works get your attention. We suggest that you spend at least a week for this. After you finish, you can read Part 2 of this series: Learning.
Things to keep in mind:
- Don’t limit your search to local photographers. Expand it everywhere. There are a lot of photographers who are not local, have the style you love, and are willing to travel.
- If you are lucky with your search and find many photographers, feel free to expand the list to 20, but don’t go over that as it might confuse you later on.
- When you find photographers you like, look anywhere on their websites (usually “about us” section) for the words (or terminologies) that describe their style. These words will be your key words if you want to use Google.