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New England + Destination Weddings

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6 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Wedding Photographer

If you are newly engaged you may be wondering where to begin to find your dream photographer.  We always recommend “identifying your must haves” for a photographer as step one.  Taking a moment to reflect on what is most important to you as a couple is a great start.

Along with setting your date and choosing your venue, photography is such an important part of your big day. Aside from the beautiful memories you will cherish with each other and your loved ones, your pictures are really the one lasting part of your wedding that you will be able to relive for years to come.  Besides your planner, your photographer will be the person closest to you throughout your day, from getting ready through saying your goodbyes at the end of the night. Finding a photographer you really connect with, and whose work you truly love, is one of the most important decisions you will make and we’re here to help you.

Here are our top six tips for finding your perfect wedding photographer:

1. Identify your style

With so many photographers out there, how do you even begin to narrow it down? Our advice is to first settle on a style. Get inspired! Gather a collection of pictures you love and try to understand why you like them – is it the emotion being captured, the editing, the composition? Whether you lean towards a traditional, posed approach, a documentary style that captures the day as it unfolds, or a more artistic, fine-art feel, understanding what you are immediately and naturally drawn to identifies which style speaks to you and will help you recognize it in other photographers’ work. It also doesn’t hurt to hold onto your favorites to share later with photographers you love so that you can make sure you are on the same page.

ct-wedding-photographer

Photography: Evergreen Weddings

Lions Rock Farm Wedding CT Wedding Planner

Photography: Jona Images

Photography: Madrigal Films

2. Do your homework

Get into research mode! Start by searching for wedding photographers in your area and reading reviews from other newlyweds. Then make sure you check out their websites, portfolios, blogs, and even social media to see other weddings they have shot, and how they interact with their followers. Do they have good reviews? How do they capture the moments that are most important to you?

Word-of-mouth can also be a great way to discover your fit. Ask around for recommendations – from recently wedded family and friends, or from your other vendors, like your florist or venue. But we know that finding any of your vendors can seem completely overwhelming! We have spent years building our extensive network and love helping our couples find the perfect match.

3. Agree on a budget

Speaking of research, it’s important to agree as a couple on a budget that works for you, and with that comes some (you guessed it!) research. Find a few photographers in your area who publicly list their pricing – this will allow you to get a sense of a reasonable range of rates. From there, you can determine what makes the most sense for your wedding budget overall, and streamline your shortlist of photographers.

4. Make sure you connect

You will spend more time with your photographer than with your maid of honor on your wedding day. Crazy, but true! So it’s incredibly important to feel comfortable with one another and to really connect. Once you’ve found a handful of photographers whose work you love, and whose fees are in your range, send them a note to see if they’re available on your date. Some photographers’ calendars fill up quickly, so don’t hesitate to check out their availability before you decide upon your favorite.  Sometimes their availability makes the decision for you! In addition to information about your wedding location, your venue, and hours needed, go ahead and share some personal details about yourselves as a couple, along with your vision for the day. Then set up a call or an in-person meeting to get to know each other. Do you feel like you’re on the same page? Do you feel comfortable? Taking the time to see if you have a connection up front can make all the difference in ultimately choosing the right match for you.

Photography: Becka Pillmore Photography 

Photography: Evergreen Weddings

5. Look beyond the portfolio

It’s so important to see how a photographer will cover a wedding from start to finish. Once you get a sense of their style through portfolio highlights, one of the best ways to know for sure if a photographer is right for you is to view one of their actual  wedding albums (either digitally or in person!). This will give you a more comprehensive idea of how they capture everything, from your grandmother dancing at the reception, to your ring bearer’s reaction to your first kiss.

Wedding Music CT Wedding Planner

Photography: Steve Depino

Photography: Evergreen Weddings

Photography: Samantha Lauren Photography

Photography: Robert and Kathleen

Photography: Evergreen Weddings

6. Agree on the details

Finally, there are a few critical things to agree on before you sign on the dotted line. Be sure that the photographer spells out specifically what is included in your package. Do you get a second shooter? Consider the hours that your photographer will be with you.  What will they charge for extra time? Creating a timeline for the day will allow you to grasp whether your budget and the photographer’s package allow enough time for your photographer to be there for all of your most important moments. How will you prep together before the big day? Agreeing on a detailed plan is an important part of making sure your day goes according to your vision. Equally important is determining when you can expect your photos after your wedding day (it can be hard to wait!) and how many you can expect. All of these elements should be discussed and agreed upon in the contract so that you both understand each other’s expectations.

When choosing your wedding photographer it all comes down to making sure your vision, style, and personalities mesh. Most importantly, don’t forget that you want to look back at your wedding pictures and remember how you felt, not just how the day looked. You want to be transported back to that moment in time, so make sure you really feel something when you look at the photographer’s work, and go with your gut. Deciding what your vision is, and finding someone whose style aligns with your own may seem like a big investment of time, but it’s one of the most worthwhile and rewarding investments you’ll make.  So have fun and start your search for that special photographer who’ll work their magic capturing your wonderful day.

Photography: Taylor McCutchan Photography

Wedding Portraits CT Wedding Planner

Photography: J Benson Photography

Photography: Samantha Lauren Photography

Nightingale Events Tiny Human Photography Jonathan Edwards Winery

Photography: Tiny Human Photography  

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