As engaged wedding photographers ourselves, we have an unfair advantage when looking for the right photographer for our big day. We decided, its only fair to share our experiences and tips to help you, help yourself.
Contractors V.S. Photographers
There are many companies out there that subcontract their wedding photographers. We have worked with tons of these companies from local to country wide businesses.
Starting with the good. Due to the structure of contracting, this option is cheaper for you as a future bride or groom. These contracting businesses allow for a middle ground of sorts. The Photographer doesn't have to advertise, edit, or pay for any overhead. They speak with the brides and then take photos. Once done they send them off to an editing team and get paid. Allows them to spend less time and effort as well as get tons of experience quickly. If you feel uneasy about how that was phrased, thats intentional.
The down side is these companies don't always train, interview, or sometimes even check if they own a camera before hiring people. This can be hit or miss. You can get a photographer that has been professionally doing this for years and is great or you can get Joe from up the street with his iPhone. Haha This is an exaggeration obviously but really not that far fetched.
When one of these companies originally reached out to me, I didn't even own my own camera yet. There were no questions other than asking if i was available on the date needed. Following that I recommended Abby (My partner) to go instead while I purchased a camera and got training from another company.
I generally tell engaged couples on our calls. "I don't care if you choose me, just be sure to find a photographer yourself. Look for the style you like then interview for their personality."
Note: Recently, I have seen one specific company making efforts towards fixing this issue. This one company now allows you to view the contractors work before choosing them. I would say this is much better but is still being put into effect slowly.
Choosing a Style
There are many different styles of photography. This topic we could easily write an entire post on.
For the sake of making this easy, feel free to do a quick google search for photography editing styles.
Using this you should be able to get an idea of what you like until the post is made haha.
Starting the Search
At this point you can google for photographers in your area with your chosen style. You could also join facebook groups for newly engaged couples. In those groups you can make a post asking for photographers that edit in your style. You will likely get tons of responses, sometimes an overwhelming amount. Then the final option is using a site such as "The Knot" or "Weddingwire." These sites are meant to be middle grounds to help you find a photographer just using a set budget and the images they post.
In my opinion, the best method involves you knowing a photographer already. Although not everyone may know a photographer. Most people have had senior photos done or something along those lines. That photographer should know a wedding photographer they would recommend. I would add them to the list.
Choosing the Photographer
This is the final step and the most important. At this point you should have a handful of photographers picked out. Next is to narrow it down to one. Reach out to them all and set up interviews. It may feel tempting to book the first one to respond. Please don't just yet!
We have a post of 20 Questions to ask your Photographer. Go ahead and use that as a starting point. During these interviews remember, you want to ask all the questions you can. Pay close attention to the answers, confidence in the answers, and their personality. Remember, you will spend this entire day with them and there will be stressful moments. Will they be able to handle it? Will you have the same sense of humor? These questions may seam irrelevant but in my experience they may matter the most.
I hope this helps and if you still have more questions, feel free to comment them. We will update this blog as needed!