How to choose and book a wedding photographer

When you choose a wedding photographer it is not just about asking questions to establish exactly what you are going to receive from them, it is also about finding a photographer that you trust. Communication should be clear and transparent and ideally, there should be some chemistry between you. And by chemistry, I mean that their personality should be compatible with yours.

Frequently asked questions are a great way to get quick answers but your selection process should be more in depth. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself “How important are the photos to me? At the bottom of this page, you will find my answers to some commonly asked questions that people ask me about my wedding photography, but first, let’s consider how you will find your ideal photographer.

With so many photographers to choose from it can be a long process!

Where do I start looking for a photographer?

The first place to start your research is no doubt Google. Choosing a photographer is difficult but ultimately you want the best photographer possible as the photos are the only thing you will have left. You may discover your photographer through a direct search, or you may have seen an Instagram profile or perhaps even seen them published on a blog or in a magazine.

Of course, you may also have a recommendation from a friend. Friends recommendations are great, but be careful of other recommendations. Your friend cares about you and will recommend someone in an unbiased manner. Someone else may not always have your best interests at heart.

Things to consider when you choose a wedding photographer.

As you browse the internet make sure that each photographer shows a large body of work. If they only have a few images in their portfolio you may question their experience level. See if they feature galleries of full weddings where you can see their work from the start to the end of a wedding.

Consider if they have reviews and what they are like. Nowadays, people sadly don’t have the time to express themselves and so they limit their comments to a thumbs up. A well-written comment is a sign that a client really was impressed enough to take the time to craft a proper testimonial and leave their feedback.

Are there any rules to help me choose a  wedding photographer?

My golden rule for choosing a photographer is to find the photographer whose photos you love and then see if you love them!

You may find a photographer that you absolutely love, but imagine that you didn’t talk to them before the wedding and then you find out that their personality completely disagrees with yours. They could end up annoying you, this will upset you, and that will affect the photos; you will end up regretting it.

Communication is so important. Choose a photographer that you can communicate with and one that wants to communicate with you. Poor communication generates confusion that in turn leads to disappointment.

How do I start my quest for the best wedding photographer?

I suggest you do your research on a desktop computer or laptop. The larger the screen the better. This way if you are doing it with your partner you will be more comfortable as you go over the thousands of images out there whilst enjoying a glass of wine.

More importantly, it is much easier to review the quality of the photos on a large screen. It’s a fact, everything looks great on a mobile phone. The images all look amazing and it is very hard to tell if the image is actually in focus or not; if there are pixelation or over-sharpening and other issues. You will find it easier to assess the quality of the image on a larger screen. It is also quicker than trying to do it on a mobile phone.

When do I need to start looking for a wedding photographer?

If you want to guarantee the possibility to work with a particular photographer then the sooner you contact them the better. Remember if a service provider offers a unique product or service then you will not be able to find someone else offering the same thing. You will have to choose an alternative or second option when surely you prefer your first choice.

Should I choose a wedding photographer by price?

Obviously, the price is an important factor when purchasing a service or product and that must always be considered. Weddings are expensive and you will inevitably spend way more on the food than the photographer so think about what is important to you and allocate as much budget as possible to it. Yes, it’s a cliche but the photos are the only memory of your wedding that you will have left. Everything else gets eaten or thrown away. The photos are there to record your wedding, make it permanent, make it part of history – your history.

I’ve found a photographer I like what next?

Once you find the photos that really excite you what’s next? Well, you need to contact that photographer. If the photos are really important to you then you need to do this yourself. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without talking to them, and you certainly wouldn’t ask someone else to choose the babysitter for you. If you really care about the photos you need to contact the photographer yourself as this way you will:

  1. Find out their actual availability. Not be told they aren’t free when actually they are.
  2. Receive their current price. If you receive a price list from someone else it may be out of date and hence incorrect.
  3. Receive their exact prices. Not recharged or inflated prices.
  4. By communicating directly with the photographer you are getting to know them. You don’t want to be photographed by a stranger.
  5. You will most likely receive an answer faster. Thus avoiding the risk of another bride booking your favorite photographer because the communication is slow as it has to go through someone else.
  6. 3-way communication leads to a convolution of the replies and increases the chance of miscommunication.

If the photographer is a critical part of your day take care of business yourself. If they are just a formality then you have nothing to worry about.

What questions should you ask the photographer?

When contacting the photographer for the first time ask them for their availability and price list. If you don’t yet have a date set just give them an idea of the month and ask about their availability for that period. Try and give them as much information as possible about your event as this will help them give you an accurate quote and all the options.

Once you have received and reviewed their information, and assuming their price is acceptable to you may have some further questions like some of these questions I have answered. Hopefully, most of them would have already been answered by their website and brochure but there are probably still a few that you would like to ask them.

Ask your questions via email or directly by talking or meeting the photographer. A video chat is an excellent way to get to know someone without having to waste the time to physically go and meet them. Video chat is even more useful for destination weddings as often you may not be in the same time zone as the photographer.

How to book a wedding photographer

Before you contact your photographer you should also check that you haven’t already signed an agreement with a venue or wedding planner that limits your freedom and ability to choose your own photographer.

So it’s time to book a wedding photographer. This should be straightforward. Make sure they have a professional detailed contract that outlines exactly what you are getting and exactly how much it is going to cost. If there are no issues with the contract go ahead and sign it and pay the deposit. At this point, the boring bureaucracy is done and it’s time to start working with your photographer to get the best possible results!

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Jules Bower

Italian and destination wedding photographer Jules Bower photographs weddings in Italy, Europe and worldwide. His unique approach and expertise arrive from not only an obsession with photography but also because he owned one of the first and most successful wedding planning agencies in Italy.