You’ll remember your wedding day for the rest of your life, but every couple wants photos of their big day! After all the planning, stress, and excitement, wedding photos are a great way to reminisce and treasure the memories from your wedding day. While relatives and friends can take photographs, most couples opt for professional pictures to memorialize their big day.
Choosing a wedding photographer doesn’t have to be stressful - you just have to know what to look for! Most wedding photographers have websites with examples of their work, information about themselves, and info on their pricing and packages.
You can vet different photographers by reviewing their websites before asking for more information or interviewing them. Learn how to choose the perfect wedding photographer for your big day!
Set a Budget
Before you start researching photographers and fall in love with the most expensive one, figure out your budget. When you begin planning your wedding, you should have a general budget in place.
Hopefully, you factored in your wedding photography costs and already have a price range that you’re willing to pay for amazing photos. If you haven’t already budgeted for a photographer, figure out how much you can afford to pay.
Average Wedding Photographer Cost
Wedding photographers charge a wide range of prices - while some may charge astronomical fees, others will surely be reasonable and still produce great images. The cost of hiring a wedding photographer depends on a few factors: the package and what it includes, the hours they’ll be shooting, their experience level, and more.
One estimate projects the average cost of a wedding photographer to be from $1,150 to $3000. Many brides opt to spend around 10% of their total wedding budget on the photographer. Depending on your priorities, you may spend more or less.
A tip is not always required, but many couples choose to tip their photographers for a job well done.
What Comes in a Wedding Photography Package?
Each photographer and photo studio will have different preset packages, and many are open to customizing packages to fit your needs. If you’ve found a photographer you like, contact them or check out their website to learn more about their package options.
Generally speaking, the standard wedding photography package should include either a full or half-day of shooting (8 or 4 hours) and a set number of photos.
Most packages offer at least 500 photos, but often include more, especially for a full day. Eight hours may seem like a long time, but that includes shooting the ceremony, reception, and posed photos with the wedding party and families.
More extensive wedding packages include editing, a website with all your photos, a photo album, and more. You can also choose to pay for extra hours or extra photos.
Often, photography packages include a consultation before the wedding, so that the photographer can meet with the couple and get ideas about style, what photos they want, and more. Some packages even include engagement photos.
Research Wedding Photographers in Your Area
With a budget set, you can start looking for wedding photographers in your area. A simple Google search will yield plenty of wedding photographers for you to sift through. You can also ask friends about who they hired for their weddings, or if they know any photographers personally.
When you’re looking through photographers, take note of their style. Popular wedding photography styles include traditional wedding photography (think posed bridal party pictures), portrait photography, and fine art photography for a more fashionable look.
Many modern couples opt for a more photojournalistic or documentary-style of photography to capture all the real, candid moments. Most photographers will happily do a mix of styles, so you can have candid photos of the dance floor as well as classic wedding photos.
Aside from style, figure out if your photographer shoots in film or digital. This will affect the style of the photos as well as price. You can also look into black and white photos vs. color, and natural light vs. planned lighting.
Before you contact any photographers, check that your venue allows outside vendors; some may only allow their vendors from a pre-approved list.
Interview Your Top Wedding Photographers
Meet with photographers in person, or at least over the phone to ask questions and go over details. Some topics you may want to ask about include:
- Availability: Are they available on your wedding day?
- Experience: How many weddings have they shot? Have they shot at your venue before?
- Style: What style do they use?
- Examples of work: Check out their portfolio for more examples of their style.
- Camera equipment: What equipment will they use?
- Backup equipment/photographers: Do they have backup equipment in case of technical issues? If they can’t make it due to an emergency, will they provide a backup?
- Pricing: How much will everything cost? How much is the deposit?
- Package features: What is included in their package? Is it customizable?
- Editing: Will they edit the photos before sending them?
- Online or physical photo albums: Do they provide an online album, physical photo album, or both?
- Delivery: When can you expect your pictures after the wedding?
It’s vital that you are prepared with the right questions to ask your photographer so that all your bases are covered. Once you’ve met with a few photographers, you can narrow down your choice based on all of these factors.
You should also consider how comfortable you feel with the photographer - you’ll want to look natural and relaxed in the photos, so feeling awkward around them could be a problem.
Hire Your Wedding Photographer
With a decision made, you can hire your wedding photographer and confirm dates and scheduling. Make sure you understand when they’ll arrive on the big day, how long they’ll shoot for, and every other aspect of what you’re paying for. You’ll likely have to put down a deposit as well.
Once you’ve hired your wedding photographer, you can cross one more item off the to-do list! Stay in contact with your photographer as the big day approaches and enjoy the wedding so that you can look back on all of your happy memories!