How to Hire a Wedding Photographer

Your wedding photographs will last forever, so finding the right photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. We’ve compiled a few tips on how to hire a wedding photographer.

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Photography is usually one of the biggest pieces of your budget, and for good reason. Professional wedding photographers bring the right lighting, lenses, and previous experience to capture little details and moments in a way that untrained photographers simply cannot.

When you’re looking for photographers, you want to go with one that whose style fits your aesthetic and budget, and who can best capture your special day. The right photographer can help you relive the emotions of your wedding day for years to come.

FINDING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER

When you find a few photographers that you like, schedule a consultation with them so that you can get to know each other. While you’re meeting with them, see if you click and if they get your vision for your wedding day. Next to your wedding planner, your photographer will be the vendor you interact with most on your wedding day, so go with someone who makes you feel comfortable and relaxed from the get-go, and who can bring out a natural smile.

If all of that clicks, you’re in a good place. From there, ask about specific details, including the questions below:

  • Will he or she be joined by a second shooter?
  • How many weddings does he or she shoot in one day?
  • How many hours does a typical wedding day contract cover?
  • What the typical turnaround time is for photos after the wedding day?

And lastly, if you’re using an event stylist he or she “should be well aware of all of the details that are most important to you and should also be given the opportunity to know the wedding day schedule and connect with the photographer before the day begins,” says event stylist Jenn Elliott Blake. “Event styling is typically something that happens hand in hand with the work of the photographer and therefore these two vendors should be comfortable with each other (or at the very least know each other’s names) before the day of the wedding.”

SIGNING THE PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRACT

Photographers book up early, so when you find one try to make it official as soon as possible. When you’re ready to sign the contract, look it over to make sure it includes the information below.

  • Who: name and contact info (your’s and their’s)
  • What: everything they’ll be providing
  • Where: the location of your events
  • When: dates and times of service
  • How much: cost per service
  • Receipt: the deposit paid, the balance due and due dates
  • Uh oh: cancellation policies and emergencies

Once you’ve both signed the contract, file your copy in a place where you can easily access it later, and update your budget to reflect what you spent and what you still owe.

THE ENGAGEMENT SESSION

Some photographers include a complimentary or discounted engagement photo session before the wedding. While it’s totally optional and up to you, if you do decide to go forward with your engagement shoot, it can be a great way to get to know your photographer and see how you work together before the big day. Engagement sessions usually take place anywhere from 9 months to 3 months before the wedding and last just a few hours. Have fun – choose a location that carries special meaning for you.

WHAT ABOUT A PHOTO BOOTH?

Some photographers will also offer add-ons, like a photo booth. Or you can rent one directly with an events photo booth service.

A photo booth is another great way to offer an entertainment experience for your guests. “Professional photography provides an excellent way to treasure the memories of your day, and a photo booth gives you all the tomfoolery you don’t want to miss! Photo booths provide people with a unique and fun experience revolving around a particular moment in time. After all, some of our favorite moments are candid,” says David Chitwood, owner of BotBooth photo booths.

We hope you’ve found the above tips on how to hire a wedding photographer helpful! Now that you’ve read through them, print the questions to ask and sample contract sections out and bring them to your consultations. And above all, make sure you find a photographer whose work you like and who will work within your budget.