The ring is on your finger, the relationship status has been updated, and now, IT'S GO TIME. As a former bride myself I understand what comes next. Endless google searches looking for the perfect cake, dress, favors, flowers, registry, linens, candles, veils, shoes, bridesmaid dresses, bowties, suspenders, venue, something blue, GASP *breath*, and oh yeah... a PHOTOGRAPHER.
Before I go on, I want to make clear how I believe a wedding should be prioritized. The number one purpose of a wedding is to celebrate the vows of commitment being made by the couple with friends and family. Having said that, I will admit the other stuff is fun, but we've got to remember that it's just STUFF. After the wedding day is over and done, the champagne has been poured, the food eaten, the flowers have died, what is left?
Your vows and your photographs.
So how DO you choose that person who will be documenting this major event in your life? With care.
1. HIRE YOUR BFF
Ok, don't take this literally, unless your BFF happens to be a professional wedding photographer. What I mean by this is that your wedding photographer is going to be literally stalking you ALL DAY on your wedding day. You need to make sure that you are totally comfortable with this person. A good way to gauge whether a photographer is your potential new BFF is to follow their social media stream. See what they are talking about! This can help tremendously in picking the right person. Also, see if they offer a consultation. The ideal situation is for a couple to feel connected to the photographer as a friend they trust AND a creative professional providing a stellar experience. (This is what I strive for)
I hired my wedding photographer Ryan Johnson because A. I liked the images in his portfolio B. He was in my price range C. He seemed like a cool dude! After our skype consultation, I was sold. He was laid back and sincere. I liked his personality, and I knew he would be great to have along on our wedding day adventure. Hire your BFF.
2. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
If you are a price shopper, an extreme coupon-er, or penny pinching frugal maven of the supermarket... BEWARE. Where wedding photography is concerned you often get what you pay for. If your wondering where to splurge and where to save, here are my suggestions. Make sure to choose a beautiful venue and a capable photographer that fits your style FIRST. It won't matter how beautiful your dress and flowers were if your $200 photographer screws it up because they don't know how to use a light meter. I say spend money on your venue because beautiful surroundings can make even those most simple and affordable weddings (or elopements!) absolutely magical.
3. LOOK AT THE BLOGS
Portfolios are great and show the best of the photographer's work, but it's always a good idea to check out their blog if they have one and look at a full wedding post. See how they tell the story of the day. Did you say "awwww!" or get teary eyed? You might be connecting emotionally with a photographer's work. This could mean you have found your match! If you didn't, you may need to investigate further, or you may be a robot, or just a heartless monster...
4. FOLLOW THE FEEDS
I mentioned this earlier, but I'll say it again, GET SOCIAL. You will never know if a photographer will be right for you unless you talk to them, ask them questions, and be friendly! Do they instagram? What are they blogging about? Make it Facebook official and friend them! Be a stalker! We don't mind! Photographers are always happy to have super fans. (I LOVE YOU GUYS! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) If you follow them for a while, you should get a feel for who they are as a person and judge whether you march to the same drummer.
5. ASK YOUR FRIENDS
This one just makes sense. If you are looking to hire someone you get along with and will capture your big day beautifully, ask your friends! Find out who shot your friend's wedding. If they had a great experience, there is a good chance you will too. Facebook is good for this too. Everyone has had their wedding picture as their FB profile pic at some point, follow the links and check out the photogs! Asking friends for recommendations is a great starting point, but make sure to reach out to the photographer you've been stalking, I mean FOLLOWING, and get to know them. This is the secret to picking your perfect photographer.