Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer
You did it! You’re planning a wedding and knocked off the biggest thing on your huge wedding checklist. You have chosen the perfect venue! Congrats, that is a big part of the process out of the way. Now the next thing on that checklist is to select your wedding photographer. A few searches on google or weddingwire later and one thing is clear…There are A LOT of wedding photographers out there. In Baltimore and Washington alone industry estimates say there are over two thousand photographers offering to shoot weddings. So how on Earth is a couple supposed to find the best photographer for them. Well read on and I’m going to try to help you choose the right photographer for you.
As with any aspect of planning a wedding the first thing is to consider your budget and how much you value photography. Admittedly, I am a tad biased, but to me your wedding photographer is the single most important vendor you will hire. Part of that rationale is obvious; your wedding photos are the only thing that last beyond the day itself and will, of course, last for generations. But the right wedding photographer can also help you plan your timeline and keep things on schedule during the day itself. The right wedding photographer can make a budget venue look beautiful, and a beautiful venue spectacular. The right wedding photographer will capture moments you didn’t realize were happening and immortalize the moments you will never forget.
With so many wedding photographers there are a wide range of budgets. So here is a little cheat sheet to help you. Obvious disclaimer. These are generalizations and there are of course exceptions to all of them.
$0-$1000 – Beginners who have probably photographed less than 5 weddings. May not have pro-level equipment. May not be adept at managing complex lighting situations. Wedding photography may not be their priority and as a result they may not be as responsive to communications. You may get what you pay for.
$1000-$2000 – Hobbyists and part-timers. In this price range you should be able to find someone who understands fundamentals of photography and owns proper equipment. They may lack advanced lighting skills and experience to adapt to the unexpected things that inevitably happen on a wedding day. Wedding photography may not be their priority and as a result they may not be as responsive to communications.
$2000-$3000 – Mix of part-timers and inexperienced full-time pros. Should have all proper equipment and understanding of lighting for any situation. May not have fully developed a style of their own and could have problems in certain specific or unexpected situations.
$3000+ – Experienced full-time professionals. Photographers in this range have photographed at least 50 weddings, and should be comfortable in any weather or lighting situation. They also have the knowledge and experience to help with timelines and may be able to help refer other vendors. Most importantly photographers in this range should have a distinct style and artistic vision that identifies and separates them from the competition.
Keep in mind, these are all starting prices and every photographer has different packages and add-ons like engagement sessions, albums, and 2nd shooters.
After choosing your budget the other big thing to consider is style. This comes down to your personal taste. The latest trend in wedding photography is dark and moody with muted colors and crushed whites. Before that it was the “bright & airy” with lots of golden light. There are also the more timeless traditional styles as well as documentary/photojournalistic styles that focus more on capturing moments.
It can often help to see how different photographers images look in venues that are similar to yours.
Another often underrated aspect of choosing the right wedding photographer is personality. You will spend a lot of time with your photographer on your wedding day, so its important that your personalities mesh and you don’t choose someone who is going to drive you nuts or add stress to your day. Personally, I am a naturally laid back person, as a documentary style photographer this helps me be unobtrusive and capture moments that might otherwise be missed or not even happen. There are also times when a photographer needs to take a bit of control and do so without ruffling any feathers. Wedding days can be a rollercoaster and its important for a photographer to be able remain calm and be a rock of positivity no matter what is going on around them.
Our style is a cinematic documentary style. We aim to tell a story with our photos but that story unfolds as they day progresses and is not directed by us. Capturing real moments as they unfold naturally is the goal. We also do some lightly posed portraits during the day and always love a good epic sunset photo of the bride and groom. The colors are bright, contrasty, and real. The black and white images are crisp and put the focus on the moment.
Have any questions or just want to learn more? Feel free to send any questions in the form below. Also mention this article in your inquiry and you’ll be eligible to win $500 towards your wedding photography collection.