Steps to Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS

Photo Courtesy via Brianna Broyles
Photo Courtesy Shoot Out Society
Moonlight Tango T885, Moonlight Collection J6781

Steps to Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

There’s no doubt that when it comes to your wedding day that you’ll want to remember it for forever. From the post “I do” kiss to the first dance and more, capturing these moments will give you memories of a lifetime. Unlike other aspects of your wedding day, the wedding photos give you a chance to have these special memories forever. That means it’s important for you to know the ins and outs when it comes to planning for your wedding photos. Aside from picking just a photographer, it’s important to note that there are multiple steps that you need to take in order to capture these special moments perfectly. 

Things To Know Before Hiring A Wedding Photographer 

It’s one thing to know what type of wedding photos you want, but when finding the right person, here are some important things to consider. 

When Should You Hire Your Photographer? 

Sooner is always better than later. If you’ve been eyeing a certain wedding photographer, we suggest asking if they’re available for the date of your wedding as soon as you contact them. According to Kansas wedding photographer, Shelby Laine “Once you have a venue, book your photographer ASAP! Especially nowadays, photographers book up to two years in advance and those dates go so fast. Lock them in while you can and save yourself the stress later!”

How To Find The Right Photographer

Not just anyone can take your wedding photos. Hiring the right wedding photographer is an investment that you will cherish for a long time. It’s important to thoroughly do your research when finding the right wedding photographer. They won’t only be there to snap photos, but they’ll also be there with you on your special day so it’s important to hire someone you can trust. Your photographer should understand you and your partners personalities, preferences and relationship in order to shoot real, candid images from your big day. We suggest setting up interviews either by FaceTime or by Zoom to see if your personalities mesh well and review past work to ensure they can match what you’re looking for in terms of lighting, location, mood, and more. 

Decide on Locations

After securing your wedding venue, make an appointment with your wedding photographer to meet them there to scout out some locations around the venue. This will make the process of taking photos on your big day run smoothly and will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of time, leaving you stress free on the big day. 

Wedding Photography Budgeting and Pricing 

We know that wedding budgets don’t come easy, but to get the most reliable and talented photographer it will come at a price. Think about your wedding photos as an investment. These are memories that will last for a lifetime so it will be well worth it to set aside a budget just for your wedding photos. 

Pricing Depends On Location

Depending on where you live the price of a wedding photographer can cost more. According to Brides, on average in the U.S. it costs between about $1000- $10,000, but depending on certain states, it can vary. In the Midwest, the price can range from $1000- $4000, California and New York are estimated between $2500- $5000, and $3000- $4700 for San Francisco. If you’re also flying in your photographer from another area, you’ll need to calculate the fees for their airfare and other travel necessities into your budget. Or perhaps you’re planning a city hall wedding, ask your photographer if they are familiar with certain locations and have specific fees. 

Wedding Photography Contracts 

Payment can vary for each photographer, but they usually require you to give a deposit as soon as you book them which usually comes with a signed contract. The deposit will secure your wedding date as well as your time slot of the day. Be sure to read your contract thoroughly, especially when it comes to refunds, delivery gallery dates, and if there is a cancellation policy. 

Wedding Photo Packages & More 

Oftentimes, wedding photographers offer wedding photography packages that include a time frame or the amount of hours that they’ll be at your wedding. It can range from 2 hours, 4-6 hours or if you’re looking for photos to be taken all day, 10-12 hours is perfect for you. An online gallery with digital downloads and even an engagement session can be included in these packages, making it easy to access and view your images. 

Depending on the time frame your photographer takes to edit and upload all your photos, you may want to take into consideration the duration your photographer takes to deliver your album gallery to you. According to Laine, “I personally make it a priority to get photos back to my brides within two weeks of the wedding. I also get sneak peeks back the night of or the morning after. I like to put myself in my couples' shoes, and I'd want to see photos asap!  While I know this is not ideal for most photographers, you should expect your photos within 8 weeks on average.” We recommend contacting your photographer to confirm a gallery delivery date ahead of time and is an important question to ask before confirming.

Must Have Photos To Take On Your Wedding Day 

Your wedding day is a day you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life. The details, the first look, your glamorous wedding dress and more. While you’re trying to make sure your photographer captures all these important moments, be sure to organize and mark your must have wedding photos

Getting Ready

  • Depending on how many photographers you’re going to have, have your photographer switch back and forth between the groomsmen and bridesmaids getting ready. Coordinate with your photographer to mark when is the best time to arrive that way everyone is ready.

Stationary and Details 

First Look

  • If you decide on doing a first look before your ceremony, then you’ll want to capture this special moment the first time you saw one another as a bride and groom and the last time before becoming newlyweds. 

Bride and Groom Portraits 

  • Though this is your special day together, it’s important to take some single portraits as well. This is where the bride can show off her beautiful wedding dress and the groom can flash their tuxedo. 

The Wedding Dress

The “I do” and The First Kiss

  • Marking the moment you officially tied the knot and became newlyweds is so important. Make sure to coordinate with your photographer to let them know if you’d like a specific shot taken of this special moment. 

The First Dance

  • Capture the moment you two celebrate becoming newlyweds with a first dance while dancing to a song that has meaning to both of you. 

Guests Dancing

  • Remember to capture the moments of your guests breaking it down on the dance floor and having a good time. These will be fun to share post wedding and will be great memorabilia of how fun your wedding day was. 

The Send Off 

  • An action shot moment that you’ll want documented. Use sparklers, rice, or flowers to have your guests celebrate with you as you end the night and embark on a new journey. 

Next Steps

Now that you’ve learned how to plan and budget for your wedding day photographer and photos, check out our Moonlight Bridal’s Real Brides Gallery for more inspiration on capturing your dream wedding. 

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