tips for choosing a wedding photographer

6 Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

Steph Masat is a wedding and portrait photographer photographing the poetry of everyday people, one beautiful story at a time.
Browse these stories and peruse these tender memories. 
 Based in St. Louis, Missouri. Available for travel.

6 Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

You are engaged! And now you and your partner have begun the hunt for one of the most important pieces of your day, choosing your wedding photographer. You searched “{Your City) Wedding Photographer” and have 20+ pages of Google results to comb through. Already overwhelmed, you just shut your laptop and pour yourself a glass of wine.

Where do you even start?

I have put together 6 things to look for when choosing your wedding photographer that I have come to find so important as I have served couple after couple throughout this process. Use these 6 Tips/Questions as you narrow down your search! 

.01 Style

Do you like their style?

When choosing your wedding photographer, you need to ask yourself, what kind of wedding photos are you drawn to? When you peruse Pinterest what type of photos do you find yourself pinning and keeping for later and inspiration? This can be a clear sign of the type of style you might want your photographer to have.

Examples of styles might be, dark and moody, bright and airy, or true to color, and as well as somewhere in between all those.

That can be overwhelming, so stick to this: When you look at the photos you’re pinning, what is drawing you in about the colors? Once you have an idea, search on Instagram with your cities hashtag for wedding photographers (i.e. #stlouisweddingphotographer) and start to check out images that have the coloring you are attracted to! 

choosing a wedding photographer
choosing a wedding photographer advice

.02
Lighting


Do they showcase different lighting scenarios?

It’s so easy for photographers to showcase the best of the best of their work on Instagram and Facebook. Some photographers only post photos that were taken in perfect lighting scenarios, like sunset, and never show work shot at a reception when it’s dark out or in less than idea lighting situations. 

Another great reason to ask for a full wedding gallery is because you’ll be able to see a full day’s work of that photographer, and be able to get a good idea of whether or not they can handle different, difficult lighting situations and whether or not you like the way they handle them! 

For dark receptions, check to see that you love the look of the reception images, because not every photographer is skilled in how to light dark spaces for beautiful photos. 

how to choose a good wedding photographer
a practical wedding choosing a photographer

.03
Approach

Documentary or Traditional?

Some photographers approach a day very hands on, and they do a lot of posing and creating of different shots (traditional). Some photographers, like myself, try to interfere with your day as little as possible and want to simple tell your story honestly as we see if unfold before us.

Both styles will appeal to certain people, so ask yourself what style you’re drawn to! As you look at wedding galleries from photographers’ whose style and color you like, notice if their works looks really candid and natural, or if there is a lot of posed, stylized portraits. Then ask yourself which feels more like you!?

My approach is very hand off, I want to document for you how your day felt and looked. I do not want to interfere and stage moments for you that are not natural and did not organically happen. I keep my camera up, and my eyes open to see what is before me so I don’t miss a thing. 

how to choose the right wedding photographer
tips for choosing a wedding photographer

04.
Personality

Does your photographer make you feel comfortable?

This one is probably the most important in my opinion and one that I feel is often overlooked. I always tell my clients, “You have to actually like me!” I want you to walk away from your chat with me saying to yourself “Man, we could be friends!” Or “She’s so normal.” A photographer’s body of work and skill are so important, but if that photographer is a jerk to be around, your experience will suck. Bottom line. 

My relaxed approach with my clients and my personality won’t be for everyone, and that’s perfectly ok! You need to find a photographer that you vibe with, that makes you feel comfortable and that you can see yourself spending a day with on your wedding day.

best way to choose wedding photographer

SCHEDULE AN IN PERSON INTERVIEW

Make an appointment to talk with your photographer, not just via email, but schedule a Skype or FaceTime session so that you can hear them speak and get a good idea of the kind of person they are. 

choosing a professional wedding photographer

05.
Budget 

Let’s face it, we all have them! You have them for your wedding, I have them to pay my monthly bills! And a photographer’s price point can tell you a lot about their business.

It is very easy to buy a nice camera, throw up a website, have your friend who also has a nice camera second shoot for you, price yourself for $1500-$2000 bucks (or cheaper) and call yourself a wedding photographer. When choosing your wedding photographer, look at a their price point and make sure it makes sense with what the are offering. Do they have backup equipment, do they have insurance should your venue need it, are they a legal business, are they paying taxes on the money you spend on them?

Those are all legitimate questions to ask yourself. If their budget doesn’t make sense, it is probably a good idea of walk away. Do not risk your wedding photos on trying to save a buck.

SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK: DO NOT RISK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS ON TRYING TO SAVE A BUCK!

With an experienced, professional, legal photographer, you should expect to pay on average $3500-$5000 for 8 hours of coverage. And that number should make sense with what you see in their galleries and portfolios. Remember, it’s an investment and the ONLY thing you can take with you after your wedding day is over.

06.
Trust Your Gut 

When you are choosing a wedding photographer, your gut can tell you a lot of things. So if you have stumbled on an artist that you keep coming back to, that makes your insides flutter with the beauty of what they capture, then go with your gut and freaking hire that photographer! You do not get a do over of your wedding photos. Make sure that who you hire has the chops to deliver you a stunning, personal experience! 

how do you choose the best photographers for your wedding

comments +

  1. Buddy says:

    Excellent value driven article here. Tons of information. Appreciate it.

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