How to hire a great wedding photographer

Book early.

The best photographers are often booked out far in advance. If you plan on having engagement photos and additional portraits taken, be sure to allow plenty of time for these extras.

Know your style.

If you don’t know exactly what you want, find inspiration on social media and from friends’ photos. Then you can choose a photographer based on keyword searches or their portfolio photos. If you fall in love with a photographer’s specific style, make sure it, and the lighting he or she specializes in, are compatible with your venue.

Figure out a rough budget.

Even if you don’t have an exact amount in mind, a ballpark figure is a must. Finding a pro that’s exactly what you want is great, but only if you can actually afford to pay his or her rates.

Get to know each other in a casual setting.

Once you find the right fit for your style and budget, it’s time to set up an in-person getting-to-know-you session. Meet for coffee or a cocktail, and make sure your personalities mesh. Liking your wedding photographer is important, but it’s equally vital that you communicate easily and feel comfortable voicing your wants and needs.

Go over the details.

Your photographer may already have certain details spelled out on her professional website or social media page. However, make sure you’re clear about what’s included in your wedding photo package, as well as any restrictions. Get a rough timeline, and find out what rights the photographer retains regarding your photos.

Ask about past work.

You’ve already seen photos of your photographer’s best work. Now, ask if his former clients are willing to be contacted for a brief interview. Ask to see past clients’ full galleries or albums to ensure the consistency of his or her work. Portfolio photos don’t tell the whole story, but you’ll be able to tell a lot from candid guest photos and casual wedding party pics.

Once you narrow your search via initial impressions from social media and portfolio pictures, the process of hiring a photographer for your wedding is all about good communication. Vibes are key, considering the emotional nature of a wedding photographer’s job. If you decide to pass on your first option, be sure to let the candidate know you’ve chosen someone else. It isn’t just polite; this courtesy allows her to move on to the next potential client.