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10 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer (2021)

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

Planning a wedding is a complicated and extensive process with so many decisions to make along the way. The venue, your DJ, your hair, your make-up, your wedding dress, your suit, your bridesmaids' dresses, food, time of year; it's a lot. But as you start to plan and make your way through the list, your perfect day will start to unfold before your eyes.

All that work you put into crafting your vision into a reality and how the final product will be documented should be one of the most important decisions you make; because the right photographer will capture that vision for you and provide you with the images that will serve as the reminder of the perfection that you worked so hard to create. Here are some things you should consider before entrusting a photographer with that responsibility.

Let's dive in.

1. What are some characteristics that a good wedding photographer will possess?

Now this question you can’t really ask over an email or text message. More likely you’ll figure this out yourself during your engagement shoot or if you meet for coffee (does this still happen with corona...). Knowing if your personality meshes with your photographers' is absolutely crucial to the success of your wedding day. I mean, you've brought all your best friends and family together and now you're asking a stranger to come in point a camera at them. It's important that your wedding photographer is amicable and easy-going and, by the end of it all, practically feels like family. Make sure you get to know this stranger so that you ensure they won’t go around insulting your great Aunt Suzy’s dance moves. And if you hire someone who thinks enough to dry off your wedding bouquet before you head off for the First Look, you know you've hit the jackpot.

The bottom line: Your perfect wedding photographer should do these four things:

  1. Understand your vision for the day.

  2. Be supportive and encouraging while still getting the job done - so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re killing it (even though you will be for sure).

  3. Stay cool under pressure

  4. And put you at ease. The last thing you want is to feel any more stressed out than you naturally feel during your big day. Your photographer should bring good air with them, not detract from a bad attitude.

2. Besides taking photographs at the wedding, what are some of the other tasks that my wedding photographers should be doing?

Wedding photographers must also be good with people and be willing and able to hold conversations with guests at a wedding. This means that they can’t just snap away and then go lock themselves in the bathroom. Even if they take freaking amazing pictures, this would absolutely take away from your wedding day experience (and frankly just be super weird).

Your photographer should be someone you can count on to keep the excitement of the day going so you don’t have to worry about doing that yourself. Your photographer should also have good insight into taking cute pics of your wedding rings, greeting cards, and table settings. After the fact, your photographer should be skilled at putting the finishing touches on your photos by efficiently and tastefully touching them up.

The bottom line: Your wedding photographer should take amazing pictures, but also be actively trying to make your job easier because your job is only to enjoy the day and get married!

3. Why should your photographer have stellar examples of their work to show you before your wedding?

It is very important your photographer shows previous examples of their work to bridal couples before their wedding so the couple can feel more comfortable entrusting them to capture the most important day of their life. Their portfolio is what you look at to decide if your styles and visions match. It’s also the collection that you will reference when trying to figure out what to expect from your own photos. As clients, feel free to message your photographer about their own portfolio and ask questions so you can understand more about their skills and what to expect from your own big day.

A portfolio can also help you to answer important questions like:

  • How would you describe your photography style? What would you compare your work to?

  • How would you describe your working style? Do you prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments, or do you like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images?

The bottom line: A portfolio can quickly answer the most obvious questions about the style and expertise of your wedding photographer.

4. Your wedding day: should it be captured on film or digital?

Now, I don’t know a lot of wedding photographers who still exclusively use film for weddings, but it’s not unheard of. Film cameras can undoubtedly provide a stylistic choice for capturing your big day. And yes, you will definitely see the difference if your photographer uses a film camera; your photos will have more of a classic and timeless look. However, film cameras are obviously becoming less and less commonplace for weddings because digital cameras allow photos to be taken by the masses and provide the photographer and client the freedom to choose the best ones afterward.

The bottom line: It depends on your vision, but I think a good rule of thumb for wedding photography is:

"The greater the number of photos taken, the better the odds of capturing the perfect one."

5. What are traditional wedding photographs like?

When you first think of wedding photography, this is the type of photography that most likely comes to mind. Traditional wedding photographs are the ones with posed subjects and manipulated lighting. The photographer has complete control over all elements of the photograph making the likelihood of capturing a perfe