So you’re engaged (or you’re talking about becoming engaged)!!!!  What a wonderful, sweet time in your life! 
The butterflies are kicking in, you’re probably showing off your ring to anyone who wants to check it out,
and people have already asked you a so many questions about your wedding.  Maybe you’ve been planning out
your big day since you were in elementary school.  Maybe you’re hiring a planner because you have
no idea where to start.  Maybe your Pinterest wedding board is chock-full of inspiration photos, but
the whole vision isn’t coming together in a cohesive way.  Wherever you are in your planning,
I’m hoping to be a voice of knowledge, experience, and reason in helping you choose the perfect elopement or wedding photographer for you.  

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You know, I’ll be blunt here: I think the photographer is the most important vendor at the wedding (videographers count as well, obvs). 
(Side note: really great wedding vendors are truly gifted artists and being able to hire such florists/stylists/planners/cake makers/caterers
etc is a blessing and you should definitely hire those people if you’re able and want to.  I am not saying, in any way,
that their roles and their crafts aren’t important.
)  Many couples who splurge on other items instead of a professional
wedding photographer regret their decision later.  I’ve heard of so many people regretting not hiring a pro or just having
Uncle Bob take some pics that they then have to reach out to legitimate photographers a few years after their wedding day
and recreate wedding photos because “they got a handful of okay ones but almost everything else was blurry”. 
Or they just don’t have any photos at all….from…the…biggest….day….of….their…lives.

I’m probably a bit biased since I have been living and breathing wedding photography for five years now,
but in case you need some persuasion as to why I have my beliefs, let me give you a little list below. 
Lists are good.

1) I mean..why wouldn’t you want amazing photographs taken on (hopefully) the happiest day of your life? 
Not to mention the day you (hopefully) look the best you ever have with your boo thang who also
(hopefully) looks the best he/she ever has. 
Of all days in your life, your wedding day deserves to be documented.  Your love on your wedding day deserves to be documented.
And documented well.

2) In many weddings, family and friends from all over the world travel in from far away to support the couple. 
What better day than to get photos with all your loved ones?   A good photographer is great with group family photos
and wedding party photos, but an outstanding photographer will capture all those extra moments:
your 90 year old grandparents dancing on the dance floor; your niece twirling in her flower girl dress;
your mom making a funny face at the camera after she’s had a few too many glasses of wine; your brother in the audience
wiping the tears away as you read your vows to your Love.  Your dad smiling and glancing at you as you walk down the aisle. 
These are moments that make up your story just as much as the connection you two share.


3) Even if you spend thousands of dollars on your dress and your florals and the venue and the details and the dinner and the band,
you’ll have nothing to remember those things by without a photographer.  Maybe some iPhone photos some guests snapped
that you might lose next time you update your phone.  Hopefully one of your aunts brought her digital camera and she can
post them on facebook.  But having someone who is trained to make all those things look and feel really good is awesome-
Why not have kick@$s photos of all the things you (likely) dropped a lot of dough on?  Ya know?




I have about 15 more reasons you should hire a professional, competent, experienced wedding photographer
that I could list right now, but this blog is titled “How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Photographer”
and so, let’s actually dive into it.  I’ll save my other thoughts for another post.





(You don’t have to follow these steps one-by-one, but each are important. :) )

STEP ONE: Make sure you click with them.

Study their websites, look through their galleries, and read their blogs.  A lot of photographers pour their little hearts
out into their websites.  Sometimes you can tell right away by someone’s website whether or not they’ll be a good fit for you. 
We use our websites as encouragement for you to look at our work, read our thoughts, and get a better glimpse at who we are. 
Ask yourself: “Do I connect with them as a human being?  Would we vibe well?”  Your photographer will be with you most,
if not all of, your wedding day. Up in your business sometimes.  It is important to feel comfortable with and around them. 
Do you think you can be yourself with your wedding photographer?  Do you think your photographer can make you feel comfortable? 
The magic reaaaallly happens when you’re comfortable and are able to open up.  Anyone can pose people and make it look pretty good,
but the intricate, small movements and connections and perfect little quirks are what make you two so special. 
A great wedding photographer is easy to be around and notices those in-between moments instead of statically going pose after pose. 
They both know how to be relaxed around you (after all: your wedding day is all about you two) and know how to make you
feel as comfy as possible even though you’re being photographed. 
Connecting with your photographer as a human being will make your engagement and wedding all the better.


STEP TWO: Ask yourself  “What else?”.

Any wedding photographer should be able to deliver you pretty wedding photos.  But what else do you want out of your photos? 
Do you want them edited in a certain way?  Do you want them timeless?  Do you want a modern feel to your final images? 
Do you want them to look like everyone else’s?  Do you want them too be completely unique to you?  Are you hoping for a bunch of candids?
Are you drawn to certain lighting in photos?  Do you want your wedding to be published or featured?  Do you want clean, fresh edits? 
Are you wanting the “dark n moody” trend?  What else other than “pretty photos” are you searching for? 
Find wedding photos you’re drawn to and figure out what exactly stands out to you.  It is the movement in the images?  The lighting? 
The composition or how it’s shot?  Make sure your photographer can deliver exactly what you’re looking for. 
Don’t hire the photographer everyone else is hiring if their work doesn’t make you feel something inside. 
Find the photographer who can take your vision, bring it to life, and then some. (But please don’t hand over a thousand-shot checklist of images we need to take. 
Unless you’re hiring a complete newb or are doing something we aren’t expecting, you can leave the shot lists on Pinterest:)) 
Your wedding day isn’t a day to settle for a photographer who can just take pretty photos.  We can all do that. 
Hire the one that speaks to your soul, that makes you wish you were in front of their camera-
the one who can prove that they can provide you with the images that are exactly what you’d hoped for and more.


STEP THREE: The Proof is in The Pudding.

One of the most important parts of trusting your photographer is seeing how they shoot a full wedding. 
Have you seen a full wedding gallery from the photographers you’re considering?  Are they willing to show you examples? 
Some photographers have aMaZiNg portfolios or Instagram feeds, but the full wedding gallery may not knock your socks off. 
Being able to see a full wedding day gallery or two (bonus points if it’s at the same venue or something similar)
will let you see how they handle different situations and lighting changes throughout the day.
You’ll be able to see if their editing is consistent and consistent with your vision.  You’ll see how they handle receptions,
if they shoot any candid photos, what the details look like, what kind of ceremony shots you can expect, and so much more. 
Since style shoots are such a popular things for photographers to do, sometimes it can be difficult to understand which
images you’re seeing is from a styled shoot and which are from actual weddings or elopements.

(Styled shoots immediately below.)


STEP FOUR: Spend a li’l more, get WAY more.

Budgets are important.  Obviously: choose a photographer who works with your overall budget. 
Please try not to go into unnecessary debt because of wedding costs. But hear me out: if you’re deciding on a pretty good photographer
for $2500 and an INCREDIBLE photographer for $3500, even though your budget for photography is roughly $3250…
do all you can to find that wiggle room in your budget (maybe you have wine, beer, and signature cocktails instead of a full open bar
or go the DIY route for some decor or have a friend be your officiant) to “splurge” on the incredible photographer. 
Your photos are the only thing that gain value over time.  You really WILL be able to tell the difference between
someone who’s “pretty good” versus someone whose work you’re in love with/someone who can deliver everything you want.
With that said: I am very well aware what goes into a photography business, how hard many many wedding photographers work,
and the time and care they put into each client and each photo.  To devalue what great wedding photographers can bring to the table is insulting. 
However; I know many of us are able to work with a budgets sometimes, if the budget won’t quiiiiite stretch far enough. 
We ask that you be kind, understand why we charge what we do, and respect our talents, but please don’t shy away
if there’s something that can possibly be done to book your dream photographer. 
It may not always work out, but it never hurts to ask.



STEP FIVE: Ask Questions; Don’t Assume All Photographers Operate the Same Way.

Though we all do “the same” job, each one of us operates completely differently.
Ask any photographer you’re considering what you can expect of them.  How do they work at a wedding? 
How to they work with the couple?  Are you encouraged to be yourselves?  Will they do pose after pose?   
A mix of directing and letting you be?  Can they take control of family photos?  Will they be up in your face all day? 
Are they a relaxed shooter?   Do they shoot unobtrusively?  Are they more go-with-the-flow or styling/doing anything for “the shot”? 
If you’ve put in a lot of effort designing your wedding to be featured, will they have what it takes to make that happen
(obviously that’s out of our hands completely, but can we shoot/edit in a way that will  be more likely to get published)? 
Can you trust their skills, gear, and experience fully?  Do they have backup gear? Do they have another photographer to work with? 
Will they stick to the contract?  It’s important to know what to expect not only of the work we produce but how we produce it.


STEP SIX: Know Your Priorities.

This is a weird thought.  Obviously you want the best possible photos of you and your wedding day, but outside of that,
what purpose will your photos serve?  Where do your priorities lie with your wedding day photos?   Do you want family heirlooms? 
Do you want the story of the day told?  Do you want cute pics for social media?  Do you want art on your walls? 
Are you gonna show them off to your kids?  Your grandkids?  Do you want to be published on Green Wedding Shoes or Junebug Weddings
Do you want to see your face on Pinterest?  Are they purely a “check list” thing on your wedding to-do list? 
Are they your number one priority for your wedding day?   Do you, in your heart of hearts, just want some stellar photos
of you and the one you love most?  It could be many of these, any of these, or none of these. 


STEP SEVEN: Find a Photographer Who Can Bring Everything Back to Life.

Choose a photographer whose shooting and editing style will add to and enhance your wedding day.  What does this mean? 
If you’re planning a modern event with lots of white and greenery and keeping that aesthetic is important to you,
find a photographer who knows how to keep whites white in post production and who won’t desaturate the greens in the images. 
If you’re having a bright and fun and colorful wedding and want that to be seen in your final images, pick a photographer who edits in
true-to-life colors or whose specialty is getting fun, creative shots.  If you’re getting married outside at night, it probably
wouldn’t make sense to hire a film photographer.  If you are getting married in an extravagant, sparkly ballroom, then perhaps a
“dark-n-moody” photographer may not be the best fit.  Think about how you want your wedding day portrayed. 
Find a photographer who is able to bring the most beautiful day of your lives to life fully.


Your wedding day and your love deserve to be remembered and celebrated with photos that are 1) beautiful 2) timeless and
3) completely and authentically you.  I hope I’ve been able to help guide you into picking out the wedding photographer of your dreams. 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to go after exactly what you want-photography doesn’t have to be another thing to
check off your big to-do list.  You’re hiring someone to make photographs that your grandkids will see one day-photos you’ll constantly look back upon. 
You’re hiring someone who is creating a most-treasured family heirloom.  Don’t settle on just someone who can take pictures
when there is a wedding photographer out there who can and will deliver everything you could ever hope for.  

Thanks for reading!  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

You rock.