Congratulations, you are engaged! Now the crazy task of putting together your wedding begins.
Photography is a very saturated market and therefore the process of trying to find a great photographer you love can be particularly difficult.
So how do you navigate your way through the hundreds of possibilities? Here is a 5 step guide to help you filter and narrow down your search to end up with your dream wedding photographer.
1. Find photographer's whose style (portfolio) you already love.
Now this may at first seem a very obvious point to make however, I have found that couples often approach the search with budget first. They find a photographer in the range who too often does not shoot in the style the couple want and so they begin to try and have the photographer change their style.
Photographers spend years developing their individual style, approach and brand and therefore asking them to completely alter can lead to disappointment in the end product for both sides.
Of course there is nothing wrong with letting your photographer know your preferences within their style or moments that are a must capture but when the lists are a page long you are definitely not setting yourself up for a win.
Instead, research the different styles of photography and discover which you love and connect with most. Consider which represents you as a couple and the overall vibe of your wedding day.
Once you have the style decided on it is so much easier to navigate your way to the best photographer for you.
2. Set A Realistic Budget
It's important to sit down as a couple and discuss which aspects of the wedding are most important to each of you. As you are breaking down your overall wedding budget assign different levels of importance on each area you need to book, such as photography, videography, flowers, cake, venue, food and so on.
Keep in mind that after your beautiful day the only things carried on to be enjoyed for life are your photos and video. You can drop $1000 on your wedding cake and it may be incredible but consider if you might be better off investing some of that money towards your wedding photography budget instead.
Often your initial photography budget can be raised when you think about it in this way. These photographs will be your family's love story heirloom, they are truly a lifelong investment.
3. Meet Multiple Photographer's - In Person
My advice is to narrow your field down via the internet to a top 3 and then book up a coffee date with each. You need to meet up with each of these photographer's in person and experience how you interact with them. When booking couples I look to see if we have a genuine connection, do we fit well together, is the conversation easy and are we on the same page with expectations.
Having your photos taken can sometimes be a daunting experience for couples and so I believe it's vital to feel a level of comfort and trust with your photographer. A face to face get together facilitates this.
4. Book An Engagement Session
This is key! If I could recommend anything to engaged couples booking up their wedding photographer it would be to ensure you go for an engagement shoot.
Number one, this experience allows you to approach the wedding day photography with an extra level of ease, familiarity and comfort. You will have an understanding of how your photographer works and interacts with you during the shoot. I find that my couples who experience an engagement session are able to focus more on their connection and enjoying the alone time together and less on their fear of being in front of the camera.
Number two, it's a win win. Your photographer gets to know you as a couple so much during this time. They will learn how best to connect with you and what makes you feel most at ease in front of the camera instead of figuring this out on the big day.
5. Find Reviews / Recommendations
The best way to know the credibility and reliability of your photographer before you book is to talk to past clients and check reviews online.
Be wary of the testimonials listed within their own website. These are great but in reality they could have written these themselves. Instead head over to the reviews on their Google account, forums and within local online groups. You can do this by finding their business on Google Maps and then clicking on the reviews section under their business name.
Often photographers would be more than happy to put you in touch with a few willing prior clients to chat through their experience also.
Once you hear great reviews from previous clients you can gain that extra sense of security in the end product and overall experience.
So do not be deflated if you are overwhelmed by the prospect of finding your dream wedding photographer. Follow these steps and feel confident in your decision. There are so many talented photographers out there.
A great place to start your search might even be social media like Instagram.
Happy planning. x