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5 Steps to Hiring Your Wedding Photographer

Congratulations on your engagement! You are probably very excited telling friends and family, but do not get too relaxed, you have a lot of planning to do for your special day. One of those things is that you will need to hire a professional wedding photographer.

Hiring a photographer is probably one of the first things you will need to do, this is because some of the best professional wedding photographers book their shooting schedule up to two years in advance. So get searching for your photographer right after you have booked your venue. This will allow you to provide a date and location for them when checking availability.

Seek recommendations from family, friends and your venue.

Wedding photographers who are good at what they do, usually have a track record of success with a great reputation amongst many. This means good photography is not too difficult to track down. Start out by asking for photographer recommendations from family and friends who may have hosted their own wedding or been to one recently. Your friends and family will always have your best interests at heart, so they are more than likely going to recommend a truly fantastic photographer. If nobody close to you doesn’t know of a photographer not all hope is lost. Speak to your caterer or even the venue you plan to wed at. All these places may know someone perfect to capture your big day.

It’s time to pay them a visit.

If you are fortunate to have a list of recommended photographers, it is time to break the list down even further by eliminating particular photographers from your list. First, give them all a call, have a chat about what you require, but do not commit to anything just yet. Use the call to find out how friendly and accommodating they are.

Once you have eliminated a few more from your list, it is time to pay them a visit. Is their office or property nice? Is it well kept and modern? What is your overall impression? All these little things create the bigger picture (no pun intended) as to what you could expect when working with them.

Get judging that portfolio!

When sitting down with a potential photographer, have they offered you a wide variety of wedding albums for you to look over? Have they worked at the venue that you are planning on having your wedding? What are their working hours, do they suit your needs? These are just a few questions you may need to ask yourself before committing to hire a photographer, but most of all, do you love their style?

You may also want videography to be done at your wedding, if you do, this is the chance to speak to your photographer to ask if it is possible. Do they have any video samples to show you? Do they edit their own videos before handing them over to you? How much involvement do you have? Although you may not necessarily want to use the same company for your wedding video, but nevertheless choosing the same company to do both will certainly offer you peace of mind that everything is being handled together.

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Finding The Right Destination Wedding Photographer

If you’re in the midst of planning a destination wedding you probably have already figured out that finding the right photographer can be a pain in the butt. It is always hard to book vendors in a location where you don’t actually live, as most want to meet face- to -face with you before your wedding day. The first step in tackling this necessary chore is to determine whether you are more interested in hiring an independent photographer or a photography studio.

An independent wedding videographer will likely have more freedom to meet your needs than one who has to answer to someone else. They usually work closely with their colleagues and can often give you more personalized services than you would get from a large photography studio. You will also generally be able to work out an agreement with an independent photographer that you may not be able to get otherwise, especially when it comes to shots and poses that are not standard in wedding photography.


In any case an independent photographer will likely ask you to pay their travel expenses in order to get to and from your wedding destination. If you really want to make sure you click with the photographer you are hiring (and this is always important) it may be worth it for you to travel to them or them to travel to you for a face-to-face meeting. Just be aware of the fact that independent photographers often charge a higher rate for their services than a large photography studio would. This is because they can set their own rate and that usually means they are in demand so you might have no luck negotiating for the lowest deal possible.

We all know that a destination wedding is expensive, so if you are trying to cut costs in other aspects of your planning you will likely be better off hiring a photography studio. Most offer a few choices of basic photography packages but do allow you to come up with a customized package that meets both your needs and your budget. However, most photography studios have a list of the poses they will photograph and you may be forced to stick with that list.

The larger the studio you work with is the less likely you will get any real one on one time with your photographer before your wedding day. This can cause problems if you end up with a photographer that makes you uncomfortable, produces poor results or annoys your guests.

If you have no choice but to hire a photography studio it is important to see examples of their work from each photographer on staff if possible. The last thing you want to do is end up with wedding pictures that don’t properly capture the beauty of your big day.

For more tips on finding the right photographer for a destination wedding or any other type of wedding check out The smartest brides believe in Best for Bride.

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Hiring the Right Wedding Photographer

The first thing most newly engaged brides do (other than tell everyone they’re going to get married) is go to pick out their dress and decide what their bridesmaids are going to wear. However, as important as the dresses and the location of the ceremony are, there’s one thing that’s often overlooked as a very important aspect of the wedding day: the photographer.

Having a photographer at your wedding isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity and it’s just as important as the rings and the dress. It can also be just as hard to choose a wedding photographer as it is the aforementioned items.

Photography by Marc Daniel Photography; used with permission.

The best practice is to first use Google. While friends recommendations are nice, they can also be bias, so you need to make sure that you are doing plenty of research. Reading about your photographer is great, but meeting them in person over coffee is even better. You might not think that a photographer’s personality has anything to do with the way that they take photos, but that’s not true. You and your photographer should have the same idea of what kind of photos you want, and some examples from wedding magazines or blogs can help show what you are looking for to your potential photographer.

Don’t forget to take a good long look at their portfolios. You don’t want to have your photos not taken well or over-edited in post processing. Many photographers, if they haven’t gone to school to hone their craft (and they don’t need to in order to produce brilliant results), have trained with other photographers or have years of experience. A wedding is not the ideal time to hire an amateur photographer just to save some money.

Never be afraid to ask questions. By asking questions, this ensures that there won’t be any surprises on your wedding day. Types of questions can include whether or not they bring an assistant, their photography style and equipment they use. While the last one is not particularly important, if you want to know, don’t hesitate to ask. More ideas for questions you can ask them can be found here.

Most importantly of all, if you are booking a photographer and they have a contract (most professionals do) make sure you read it thoroughly and ask any questions in case you don’t understand. Signing the contract and paying a deposit will reserve your photographer for your date: don’t be stuck looking for one last minute.

For more tips and tricks for the bride to be, don’t forget to check out Best for Bride’s blog for everything you are looking for.