You’re ENGAGED!! This is such an exciting time, and it can also feel a little overwhelming, right?! From locking in a venue and date to hearing all the opinions from friends and family, your heads may be spinning when it comes to choosing one of your biggest vendors – your photographer! If you’ve been wondering what to do before you inquire with a wedding photographer, keep reading!

As a wedding photographer, I hear all the time that my couples want someone who truly feels like a friend and not just another no-name vendor on their big day. Your photographer is someone who is with you not only for most of your wedding day but also for most of your planning experience. It’s so important to get along with them, love their photography style, and truly trust that they’ll deliver an amazing experience and gallery to commemorate your day!

Before you start browsing through and reaching out to potential wedding photographers, here are a few essential steps to follow before you inquire with a wedding photographer to ensure you find the perfect match for your special day.

1. Photography Style

You two and your love story are so unique, and so are photographers and their styles. Before diving into inquiring with everyone, sit down with your partner and envision the style that resonates with both you AND your venue.

If you adore the timeless elegance of a classic style of photography that feels true to life in colors – you may opt for someone with what we call a “light and airy” style.

If you’re more drawn to deeper, moodier, earthy color tones, you may want to narrow your search to “dark and moody” style.

If your focus is on photos that show off the day as it happened – consider a documentary-style photographer where candid moments and an emphasis on real-over-perfect is key.

Do you love their color editing and their black-and-white editing?

I find that my style falls in between documentary and editorial – you’ll always have your key moments with beautiful lighting and great angles, but you’ll also have storytelling images that capture the candid realness of your day. All the emotions and little moments that unfold unexpectedly.

Having a clear vision of your preferred style will help you narrow down your options and find a photographer whose portfolio aligns with your dream wedding album.

Pro tip: Keep in mind the aesthetics and style of your venue to determine which photography style may pair beautifully with the space and vibe you’re envisioning!

2. Portfolio Review

Ahh, the fun part – all the pretty pictures!! A portfolio showcases your photographer’s artistry and storytelling ability. Take your time sifting through their work from their Instagram posts to blog posts to full galleries (yes, it’s okay to ask to see full galleries)!

Notice how they pay attention to the little details that make each wedding unique. Do you like their approach to capturing emotions? Do you feel confident in the way they photograph in all different lighting conditions? Many photographers can make a sunset look gorgeous, but do you love their work and style when it comes to getting ready photos or reception?

Notice the variety from the intimate to the big moments – do they catch those fleeting moments or focus more on the main events? As mentioned, don’t be afraid to ask for a full wedding gallery – you want to make sure you love every part of the day, not just the pretty portraits on their Instagram feed!

3. Read Reviews & Talk to Past Clients

Okay, so you’ve found a few photographers (or THE one!!) whose work you can absolutely envision yourselves in! Before you commit, please do your due diligence in reading reviews and researching their reputation!

Anyone can make an Instagram account look stunning and believable, but there is so much truth in real experiences. Dive into Google/Facebook/Wedding Wire reviews, check out their website testimonials, the comments on their posts, the captions of the images they’re tagged in from past clients, and really get a sense of what the experience is like.

You’re not just looking for rave-worthy 5-star reviews; you want to hear about how your photographer handles challenges, communication, and the stress of a big day! Reviews that speak more to the experience they provide than just the final gallery will be so helpful to learn more about them.

It can’t hurt to reach out to a few of their past couples to chat about their real experience! So much helpful insight in talking with real couples! I always say, if it feels like you can grab a drink with them and hang out for an evening, you know it’s a great fit! 🙂

4. Know Your Vision

It’s not 100% necessary to have your venue and date before inquiring, but some photographers will not disclose more information until they can confirm their availability for you! Knowing your venue and date is incredibly helpful for the photographer to be able to check their schedule and send over information customized to your vision (sample galleries, custom investment information, etc.)

Knowing the style, aesthetics, and vibe allows the photographer to validate if they are a great fit for you two, as well! If your vision, mood boards, and dreams do not seem like the best fit stylistically for them, they may be able to guide you to other photographers who would be a better fit! It’s a two-way street where you have to love them and their work, and they have to know they can provide you with what you’re dreaming of!

As they say, “Help me, help you.” As much information as you can provide upfront on the vision of your day will be so valuable for them to be able to guide you along the way!

4. Investment

Before you inquire with a wedding photographer, discussing budgets and how much you’re willing to invest in your vendors with your partner is crucial. Take some time to find any investment information on their website before inquiring, so you can make the most of both of your time when meeting. Your budget may be flexible and for the most important vendors, you may be willing to stretch your budget when it’s an amazing fit, but understanding their starting investment range will help ensure that you’re both on the same page for a meaningful conversation!

Be honest and transparent about your budget so you can find out what your options are. Some photographers offer a la carte packages that are customized to you, others have one base package you can add onto, and others have a range of package options to choose from. There’s no one standard way, so reach out for more information and review the details before you schedule a call. You want to ensure that everything is in line with the investment you had in mind first, and then schedule a meeting to validate that your personalities and values align!

Consider the value you’re getting and what inclusions you want. Does the package include engagement sessions, additional photographers, or an heirloom album? How many hours of coverage will you need for your day? How many years of industry experience do they have under their belt? Understanding the full investment will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your vision and values.

Bonus: NOW, Inquiry & Chat!

You may LOVE their work, but do you love their personality and vibe?! Is this someone you can envision kissing in front of or being your most relaxed and real self with? Schedule a virtual or in-person meeting with your potential photographers to truly get a sense of their values, their excitement for your day and love story, and what they offer.

Do they seem to care about you two as people or just a paycheck at the end of the day? Like I said, your love story is unique – do they honor that and want to truly show off YOUR unique story? You want someone who not only understands your vision but also makes you feel comfortable, confident, and valued!

So there you have it – five steps to ensure you find the photographer who’ll capture your love story in a way that shows off your love the way you want to remember it. Planning a wedding is a journey, and finding the right photographer to guide you and cheer you on along the way is paramount. Happy planning, lovebirds!

If you loved this educational post about what to do before you inquire with a wedding photographer, dive into this blog post all about how to add visual interest into your wedding day!

The beautiful venues featured in this blog post are:
Magnolia Streamside Resort
Winterthur Museum
Hotel Du Village
Renault Winery
Pomme Radnor

5 Must-Do Steps Before You Inquire with a Wedding Photographer!

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