Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important steps in wedding planning, and we don’t just say that because, well, we’re wedding photographers. We say that because it’s true, and we only speak truth here.
You may be wondering “Why is a wedding photographer so important? What about the other vendors?”
That’s a fair takeaway! But think about the following wedding-day elements:
Food? It all gets eaten. And it’s delicious.
Décor? It gets put away or returned to where it was rented.
Flowers? Unless you’re super-crafty and amazing at pressing flowers, they will have a fairly short lifespan.
Dress? Tux? Neatly put away and admired.
Your wedding day will be jam-packed full of excitement, and all of the elements you worked so hard to plan will have there time in the sun, and will be so thoroughly enjoyed by all of your friends and family.
As for your wedding photos – those are some of the only tangible things left of your wedding day. All of the memories of that special day, forever frozen in time in hundreds of digital files and beautifully made prints & albums.
And guess what? We’re pretty much with you from day one. You get engaged (your photographer may even be there for that), pop the champagne and then you think: we should probably start to plan this thing! You will be spending the most amount of time with your planner (if you hire one) and your photographer – so don’t you want to make sure you choose the perfect one? And how do you know what to ask to ensure you will be a great fit to work together? Lucky for you, we’re here to make that process easy peasy. Keep on reading for some sage photographer-finding advice.
Perhaps the most important element, hence why it gets the #1 spot. Budget will come later, but first things first: what do you want your wedding images to evoke? Which images are your must haves? Do you want to be told how to pose, or do you just want to do your thing? These are all crucial things to consider when you begin your search. Many photographers will be comfortable with lots of different styles, but with one particular niche that makes their work really stand out. Find out what exactly you love and then go wild on The Knot, Weddingwire, Instagram, however you’re finding wedding photographers these days.
For us, our specialty is documentary, editorial & fine art. If that sounds like your style, your search may be over, so click here.
If you have already started thinking about how your wedding day will flow, you can figure out if you’ll need a second photographer on site. You can read lots more about that in this post!
Another important part of this section: some photographers are part of larger studios that employ lots of shooters. It’s important to find out who exactly will be available to shoot your wedding day, that way you can begin the “getting to know you” step. More on that later.
Now that you know what type of photographers to look for, you can dive deeper into your search and filter out any that do not fit your budget. Most photographers will have payment/installment plans, so the price of your entire photography package will not be what you have to pay upfront. Numbers can be a bit intimidating, but be sure you let us know what you absolutely need on your wedding day, and we’ll figure something out. Package customization is pretty standard and totally cool by us.
Wedding photography cost can vary, but the industry standard is about $300-$600/per hour. We start at $2400 for 8 hours.
Reviews are not the most important element of this process, but it is 100% worth seeing what past clients have said about the photographer’s work.
How did they carry themselves throughout the wedding day?
How was the client/photographer communication throughout the process?
What was the turnaround time for images?
Look for answers to those questions in your review search. Here are some of ours.
If you’ve narrowed down your search and are almost ready to commit, the next step would be to determine who from the respective studio will actually be present at your wedding. When you inquire with a large studio, they will have many associate photographers with different availability. However, if you are inquiring with a smaller studio (like us), chances are the person you speak to on the phone or meet for your consultation will be the one to photograph your wedding. Ensure you meet with any and all prospects to figure out who you just really enjoy time with. Like I said earlier, we’ll be spending a lot of time together; meeting to discuss prices, doing an engagement shoot, your actual wedding day, and those days post-wedding to collect your prints and albums. It’ll be really inconvenient if we found out in the middle of our relationship that one of us actually thought Rachel & Ross were on a break – but that’s beside the point.
Take some time to create your dream wedding photography vision board; search through some wedding hashtags on instagram or browse pinterest. Nail down what you like, and search until you find it. Meet the photographers – I can’t stress this enough, and it’s only, like, 95% because I personally love meeting new people and going for coffee and talking about weddings. If you’re not local to the photographer, schedule a skype call or a quick chat on the phone. You can tell a lot about a person with just a few short minutes of spoken word.
When you have a true, genuine connection with your photographer, the whole process will be smoother. They will understand what you want and capture your emotions with great care & sensitivity. You should look back in a few years and still be thrilled you decided to invest in this art.
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.