How to find your perfect wedding photographer

As a wedding photographer, I’m always being asked “how do we choose, there are just so many different photographers around”?  I would love to answer with…

  1. Do you like the photographer’s portfolio and do they make you feel happy?
  2. Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel comfortable and happy?

IF ONLY it was this simple!!

I guess this is the outcome you want for sure, but with so much access to technology – Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and the internet, you can drive yourself crazy searching the net for hours and days on end!

So hopefully these little tips will help you narrow it down (and hopefully with you reading this, you’ll be wanting to book me to shoot your wedding too).

Find a Style you LOVE

Photo journalistic / Documentary – A more informal and unobtrusive style where the bride and groom don’t realise the photographer is there as they blend in with your wedding party and guests.  Very little to no posing.

Traditional / Classic  – Think of your parents’ or grandparents’ wedding albums – just with a bit more of a modern twist.

Contemporary / Modern – This can result in a greater level of spontaneity and is capable of capturing the fun, as well as some of the more formal elements – as the photographer will not be posing people to the same degree.

Lifestyle – Lifestyle photography is photojournalism redefined, it’s candid, yet done so with some direction and styling—it has an approachable feel and a relaxed result.

Dramatic – Lighting is a key component of dramatic photography. You need to be able to create your own light in some other way if the lighting isn’t cooperating on the wedding day.

Artistic – Not all portraits have to be a couple in full frame looking at the camera.  Photographers look for different angles.

Have a budget in mind – but please be realistic

Ok like I’ve said there are thousands of photographers around – hell I know about 300 in Brisbane alone, and there’s new ones popping up every day, but you need to do the research.  You need someone who is reliable, preferably have been in business for more than 5 minutes, attends workshops to better their skills, they have an ABN, Public Liability Insurance, a website, camera and computer equipment, back up camera equipment, have mentors and other photographers they can recommend as a back up if needed, they pay taxes and need to make a living… and remember all of this takes time and money to do!!  They are spending thousands of dollars every year for this upkeep – so you can’t really expect them to shoot your wedding for free, or for exposure..

If your wedding isn’t local, you might need to add travel and accommodation expenses to your budget too.

ASK Around – Word of Mouth

Have some of your friends recently married?  Ask them who their photographer was and what they liked (or disliked) about them.  Did they meet expectations?  Would your friend recommend the photographer to you?

Read their Testimonials and Reviews

Personally I’d prefer to read testimonials on their website as generally their client has taken the time to email the photographer to thank them for everything.  Sometimes I find on facebook photographers can get nasty reviews from other photographers or someone just wanting to drop the photographer’s 5 star rating.

You can read my testimonials here:

Stalk their Instagram, Facebook, website

See what are they posting.  Is it all weddings, do they have family portraits in their portfolio, are they showing food they eat and where they are travelling to?  All of these can give you an idea about who your photographer is.  Even Insta Stories or Facebook stories can give you an idea (as long as their stories are interesting) 🙂

I have 3 Instagram accounts – one for photography, one for my travels and the other is just every day personal life.

But you can stalk me on here:

Meet 3 or 4 photographers in person

This is your chance to actually meet the photographer, in person, to see if you really like their personality.  Are they welcoming, friendly, funny, quirky (whatever you’re looking for in a photographer)?  How does their studio look (if they have a meeting place) – you could be meeting them at a coffee shop too.

Ask them how long they have been shooting weddings and in business for, and how many weddings do they shoot a year.

View their weddings – full weddings, not just their best of images.  Anyone can take a few great shots, you need to see that their style is consistent or if they adapt to different client requirements.

Look at their albums / watch their slideshow.   Where do they get their albums made – all of my albums are Australian Made.

Do they explain everything to you well?

Tell them what you like and dislike with photos (you may HATE the jumping in the air shots and don’t want to do this – that’s good, I’m not a fan either but if the bride or groom requests that photo, I’ll take it for them but I just won’t show it on any of my social media sites).

Chat about your MUST HAVE photos – your grandparents, that special person from overseas, and maybe even something on pinterest that you saw.

Locations – do you have certain locations in mind, or your photographer may have suggestions too that you never thought of.

Delivery of your images – how long will it take until your images are completed, do you get hi resolution images, prints, an album?

Ask for “rough timings”.  Does your photographer start early for getting ready moments, will they stay for the first dance and some crazy fun partying moments afterwards.  If you’re having fireworks or a sparkler exit, do they need to stay longer?

Can your photographer recommend some amazing vendors that they have previously worked it?   Have you seen my vendors page?

Ask what the booking fee is,  when payments can be made and when the final payment needs to be made.  Usually most photographers require final payment anywhere from 1-3 weeks before the wedding.   And do you see them again closer to the wedding?  Again I usually see my clients at least 3 weeks before the wedding, that way everything is booked and we can work out the perfect timeline to make your day run a smoothly as possible.  I give my clients ALL of their wedding images via an Online Gallery.  I’m not culling your wedding images down to 400 or 800 images – you book me, so you get all of them.  Obviously I will delete the photos with eyes closed etc.   Just make sure you know what you are getting with your chosen package so there aren’t any nasty surprises later down the track.

Ask as many questions as you like – even if you feel silly

Most photographers realise that you probably haven’t done this before (gotten married) so they expect you to ask questions!  Make a list of the most important things you need to ask them – and if you forget, that’s fine – I have brides and grooms sending me emails all the time asking about something they forgot.  It’s not a drama – I’d prefer you to ask questions – and hopefully my spiel in our appointment explains other points you may not have thought about either!

Here is a great link from Here Comes the Guide with 38 Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer!

So you finally think you’ve found the right one

That is fantastic news!!   I have too!!  He’s in the photo below with me!!    You feel like you can trust them with your wedding day photography, so BOOK them!  Sometimes I have clients book me on the spot, or some might come back the next day after they’ve chatted that evening.  Book as soon as your gut feeling tells you this is the right person, you don’t want to miss out because you’ve left it a month and now another couple has booked them for the same wedding date.

Then let your photographer do what they do best, and you can relax in knowing you have a professional to take care of the one major item you will have after you wedding!  Then sit back, breathe and have fun on your wedding day!!

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