How to Find Your Best-Fit Wedding Photographer

Valuable tips to help narrow your search for a wedding photography professional.

Written by: Heather KingenSmith


Wedding photography is as much about the wedding day as it is about the years that follow. Selecting an experienced photographer who shares your style and sensibilities, while understanding your vision, is a decision you will live with forever. Not only will your photographer be by your side in an extremely personal and collaborative way throughout your entire wedding day, but their photographs will be shared with your loved ones for a lifetime.

Brilliant wedding photographers must be technical geniuses, navigating the most challenging lighting conditions and working under compressed time constraints, all the while remaining diplomatic and compassionate in order to provide an enjoyable experience. To be the complete package, photographers must have the timing and awareness of photojournalists as well as the talent to create meaningful and artful portraits. Instead of searching for the best photographer, start looking for the photographer that best fits you and your celebration.

TYPE OF SERVICE  
If you desire professional results and view photography as a priority on your wedding checklist, choose a studio with a reputation for aligning their interests with your own. Since full-service studios often cultivate relationships with couples, they go above and beyond by ensuring that they understand each vision and exceed all expectations by creating high-quality photographs and one-of-a-kind albums. Alternatively, photographers who solely shoot images and burn them to a disk are obtainable for couples that do not view photography as a priority.

COMPATIBILITY
Photographers who document smaller events have different capabilities than those who cover larger receptions with 200+ person guest lists. Choose a photography team that is built for the complexity of your event. For smaller weddings, the photographer should be unobtrusive and blend in with the crowd. And for larger weddings, you’ll need an experienced professional who can organize large groups of people in a short amount of time – in a very calm and creative manner – as hundreds of guests and a large bridal party can be very demanding. Additionally, if you desire comprehensive guest coverage, you’ll need a photography team that shares your priority.  

LIGHTING EXPERTISE 
Understanding all lighting conditions is essential to exquisite photography. The best wedding photographers know how to handle every predicament from harsh sunlight to the darkest of ballrooms. If you planned for an outdoor wedding, your photographer should also be prepared to shoot your entire day indoors in the event of inclement weather. Challenging environments like low-light ceremonies and receptions demand that the ambience of a romantic, candlelit wedding is preserved without hundreds of obtrusive flashes. Great photographers will possess the skills and equipment to maintain natural-looking light in any circumstance.

STYLE 
Once you have narrowed your search based on a photographer’s experience and proficiency with your type of wedding, you’ll want to connect with their style. To discover a photographer’s artistic approach, face-to-face meetings are extremely valuable. Meeting with photographers in person will give you the opportunity to review their portfolios of real-wedding albums. Beware of the popular “stylized wedding shoots” – which feature models portraying brides and grooms – as they can be vastly different from authentic wedding-day photographs. After all, most couples don’t have six hours to pose for photos the day they marry. Actual wedding photographs, taken with real-life time restraints, will lend a better idea of which photographer meets your artistic vision.

PERSONALITY 
Finding a talented and experienced photographer is not enough – it’s just as important to find someone who you’ll look forward to interacting with on your wedding day. Meeting with a photographer will help you to imagine them by your side, with your closest family and friends, on one of the most important days of your life. During a meeting, you will also be able to tell pretty quickly if they are interested in your vision, or only their own style and ego. Choose personalities wisely: You’ll get better photographs if you are comfortable and relaxed. It is that simple.

After considering these five aspects, and meeting with at least two photographers, you will hopefully find a professional who best fits with your vision and wedding. Ideally, you will hire a photographer who is the complete package: talented; built for your event; shares similar style sensibilities; and is easy to be around. If photography is a high priority, adjust your spending accordingly to get the right fit. It can be time-consuming finding your “best-fit photographer,” but when you do, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of amazing images.

Opening photograph by KingenSmith

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