At Abbie Takes Pictures, we are all about helping our potential couples learn how to look for a wedding photographer that truly fits who they are. Choosing a wedding photographer is a deeply daunting task. I’ve been shooting weddings full time for over 11 years (over 275 weddings!) and I still see couples all the time who are so overwhelmed with the process!
I get it… there’s so much to do when you’re planning a wedding. From venue choices to dresses and tuxes, florals, centerpieces, bouquets, color schemes, décor. It’s bonkers, right? With all the time you spend to make sure all the details are perfect, the only way to have lasting memories is to hire a photographer that you know can capture all the details, as well as your real personalities.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Let’s talk about a budget. I totally recommend that you and your fiancé have a good talk about how much money you want to spend on photography. There are several factors that go in to how much a photographer charges, so understanding where your investment is going can be helpful. A true professional photographer has a lot of overhead costs that go into running a smart business. At a minimum, I recommend that your photographer has an ironclad contract, a full set of professional-grade backup equipment and business and liability insurance. I always say, “A good photographer isn’t cheap and a cheap photographer isn’t good.”
Once you decide how much you can spend, begin your search! Ask your friends and family for recommendations. A personal recommendation from someone you trust is always a great way to start this process. You can also search The Knot, Wedding Wire, Google, etc. When doing this, make sure you read all their reviews. How far back to the reviews go? Do the reviews seem genuine? Also, stalk their social media profiles. How often are they posting? Do they have relevant and updated content? Are they interacting with their clients? Another big thing to look at is their website and image galleries. I always recommend looking through the entire gallery of each photographer that you’re considering. Take note of how many different brides and grooms you see. If you only see a few couples over and over again, in my opinion, that’s a big indicator that they don’t have a lot of experience. On the flip side of that, a photographer with a wide variety of weddings in their gallery should show that they have the ability to photograph in different spaces, different lighting scenarios and different poses.
Through all of this research, keep a list of the photographers who really stand out to you. I recommend narrowing your list down to 3-4 of your favorites. Reaching out to each of them and setting up an interview, to me, is the most important part of this process. You and your fiancé need to see how you vibe with each photographer. You may love their images but when you actually sit and talk with them, you may realize that they just don’t fit your personalities. Who wants a photographer with them the entire day that doesn’t jive with you and your favorite people? (C’mon… we’ve all been to a wedding or in a wedding that had a boring/unpleasant wedding photographer. It’s the worst, right?!)
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you do your research, educate yourself on what to look for and set up a few interviews, the process isn’t daunting at all. You want your wedding photographer to be someone you enjoy spending time with. You should be excited to spend more time with them. I believe that you should have a gut feeling after you meet with them. It should truly feel like, “When you know, you know.” If you’re excited to invest in their company and support their passion, then you’ve found a good fit. More than anything else, choose someone who you could see yourselves being friends with, enjoying a meal with, and building a trusting relationship with.
Special thanks to Abbie Rudolph, PPA, owner of Abbie Takes Pictures, for contributing this story. Photo by Abbie Takes Pictures.