December 8, 2014

From The Bride : How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

FILED IN: From The Bride

Meet Nicole. You may recognize her from a recent blog post of both her and her fiancé Ben and their engagement session in Cleveland, Oh.

After spending time with Nicole at a Brewery in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, our minds seemed to meld as we came up with the awesome idea to create a new feature on the blog. We are excited to announce this new feature, in addition to blogging recent engagement sessions, weddings, portrait sessions, and Foodie Friday, we are now adding “From The Bride.”

In this category, you will get to read Nicole’s viewpoint on choosing wedding vendors, planning an engagement session, planning a wedding out of town, choosing wedding colors and more!

how to choose a wedding photographer

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

by Nicole Grams-Herzog

In my opinion, choosing a photographer is one of the most daunting wedding planning tasks. If you’re like me – a girl who went to college to become an on-air TV personality, but couldn’t stand to watch replays of her own weather broadcasts – you might have fears about selecting a total-stranger to capture the love between you and your partner on camera.  If you don’t know where to start, it can be intimidating to begin wading through hundreds of professional wedding photographers’ websites or the Pinterest boards of other wedding dreamers. But, with a few simple tips, anyone can turn their wedding photography dreams into a proactive search and rewarding decision.

How did you find your photographer? What means did you use to find photographers?

First, you may want to try a simple Google search for “[your metro area] wedding photographers” or look on websites like TheKnot or WeddingWire to get a very general idea of what kind of photography is available in your region and how much it costs. At first, you will likely stumble upon the most popular and experienced (and therefore the most expensive) photographers – this is okay! I think I went through 6 pages of Google search results for “St Louis Wedding Photographer” before feeling like I had seen a representative subset of photographers. At this point you just need to understand the range of investment you could be making for your wedding photography, and set a realistic budget. If you have a smaller budget, you may want to consider an up-and-coming photographer who has only been building their portfolio for a few years; we were pleased to find several talented artists in our price range by doing so.

Most people choose their wedding venue(s) before selecting their photographers, which was very helpful for me. While searching for venues, I would try searches such as “9th Street Abbey wedding photography” to see what photographers had worked in that space and to get different perspectives of the venue. Most venues will also offer a list of preferred vendors. In turn, I was able to simultaneously select a venue while also compiling a list (okay, well a Pinterest board) of photographers and links to their work.

By this point, the type of photography that you’re drawn to may begin to reveal some patterns. Do you like clean, modern lines or rustic, vintage styles? Do you like fun, wacky poses or candid, photojournalistic images? Decide for yourself and then talk about it with your partner (if you haven’t already)!  Although my fiancé owns and operates a DSLR camera for storm chasing, I was pleasantly surprised to see his experience translate perfectly to selecting a professional wedding photographer.

Pink & Ivory Rose Bouquet | Chevron Wedding Inspiration | For The Moment Photography

What were you looking for?

By the time we had selected our venue, there were a few photographers that stood out to me because of their portfolios, packages and pricing. (Hint: sometimes pricing information will not be available online, but don’t hesitate to send an email inquiry. I found that most photographers responded to me the same day with plenty of information.)  My fiancé and I both preferred photographers that had a modern style with good use of light and a mixture of posed and photojournalistic images.

We knew we preferred to have a second shooter and an engagement session (which turned out to be a great way to practice being comfortable in front of the camera). With a few favorite photographers in mind, I began to “stalk” their Facebook pages, blogs, and websites for new photos and ultimately scheduled Skype interviews with 3 of them. If you live near your wedding location, being able to meet in-person will make this process even easier for you. Communication is key, especially if you are planning an out-of-town wedding. Choose someone you feel comfortable talking to, whether it’s by phone, email, or skype.

Moulin Events Wedding Venue Reception

Why did you choose For the Moment Photography

Although most people lump their photography expenses and photographers themselves into the “vendor” category, your photographers are likely going to become much more than people who provide you with a wedding-related service. Your photographer is the only person who will see the full gamut of your emotional spectrum on your wedding day; why not choose a person that you enjoy being around?  Connecting with the photographer’s work and personality was an important priority for us, and is ultimately why we chose Amanda and Dustin! My fiancé and I both wanted to feel like we were just hanging out with friends (who just happen to carry around camera equipment and occasionally pose you in public places) on our wedding day.

Being able to have Dustin capture manly moments with the groomsmen while Amanda photographs the bridesmaids getting ready – or just having two perspectives of an important moment, like the First Look – was another priority for us.  The added extras, like being able to do our engagement session in my hometown of Cleveland, having an online wedding gallery, and receiving a metal print of a wedding image really solidified our decision. And, having recently received our awesome PASS gallery of engagement photos, we couldn’t be happier!

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