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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer {Updated 2024}

How To Choose A Wedding Photographer

Figuring out how to choosing a wedding photographer can be challenging and a bit overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been a part of a wedding, or have close friends who can advice you. There may be SO many photographers in your area or so many to choose from.

Hey, I’m Emmy, guide and one of the photographers here at Searching for the Light Photography! I wanted to create a really good resource for couples trying to find the best wedding photographer for them. I know there are so many out there and everyone is so different. So, I created this step by step guide for how to choose a wedding photographer and find the best wedding photographer for you!

While I wish we could connect with everyone we know we aren’t meant to and we’re so thankful there are so many amazing photographers out there. So know we created this guide to be as unbiased as we could. We hope this is a helpful resource you’ll save to that pinterest board or bookmark in your browser!

ONE: Find a style you like.

TWO: What services do you need?

THREE: What products do you want?

FOUR: Set your budget

FIVE: Research photographers

SIX: Schedule Interviews with your favorites

SEVEN: Prep questions for your interview

EIGHT: Discuss with your partner

NINE: Book your favorite

A step by step guide to choosing your wedding photographer

A step by step guide to choosing your wedding photographer

STEP ONE: Find A Wedding Photographer With A Style You Like:

The best way to start sorting through photographers is starting with finding a photographer with styles you like and want. A photographer’s style comes out in three different ways:

  • Approach:

    • Does your photographer specialize in anything like church weddings, outdoor weddings, or adventure weddings?

      • We are Colorado Elopement and small wedding photographers we specialize in helping couples have an epic wedding day without the limits of a big guest list at the destination of their choice. Want to find out more about what we do. Click here.

  • Editing:

    • True to life

      • We shoot in this style but we love to make sure colors pop a little extra. We’re also OBSSED with making sure if the sky was blue it is radiating its colors. Not to mention we love a good sun flare creating warm tones.

    • Warm tones: constant feeling of sunlight can also result in loss of blue skies or greens.

    • Moody and dark: very dramatic editing style

    • Light and airy similar to how traditional film is shot: some photographers do dual digital and film photography to get this look.

  • Shooting:

    • Photojournalistic: These photographers generally document a wedding as a journalist would document a story. They stay behind the scenes and capture the moments, they typically do not do not interrupt the flow of an event. They may also not offer direction when taking photos of you as couples.

    • Traditional: These photographers approach wedding photography as capturing the moment at all costs. They will walk down the center of the aisle to get the right shot, stand in the middle of the dance floor, they are there to capture all the typical moments tradition call them to captured. They will do posed photos that look similar to most studio photos (think JcPennies and Lifetouch photos from your childhood).

    • Mixture: These photographers shoot in a style of photojournalistic capturing natural moments while making sure to capture the important moments. These photographers also do posed photos but may approach them from more of an organic fashion. Posed photos probably won’t seem so stiff and fake, but more natural and candid while still looking elegant.

      • We love this mixture. We love documenting a wedding day as if its being told like a movie, no detail is unimportant but also want to make sure we are well prepared for the big moments like your first kiss as husband and wife! We offer gentle direction and suggestions in working with couples to create interaction instead of putting you in a certain position asking you to awkwardly stay. We create an experience for you to connect while capturing beautiful moments.


STEP TWO: What Services Do You Need From Your Wedding Photographer?

You’ll want to think about the services you need from your wedding photographer. Below are some common services you’ll want to ask about or look for from your photographer:

  • Offering location scouting:

    • This is super important if you aren’t getting marred at a traditional venue but are getting married off the beaten path outdoors. We absolutely adore helping couples understand all the logistics and find the unique places. Click here to learn more about how we help in this area!

  • Timeline curation:

    • If you’re having a smaller wedding or not wanting to hire a wedding planner or coordinator its left up to you and your partner to figure out your wedding day timeline, which can be super stressful since you’ve never planned a wedding before!

      • We love to help couples understand all the logistics of a wedding day. With our 10+ years of experience as wedding photographers we know how much time you’ll need for every part of your day and how to account for extra time to relieve stress if your timeline gets bumped around due to unforeseen events happening. We also love to help couples understand the best time of day for the best photos, knowing the movement of the sun and when the light will be ideal at all of their locations. Wanna find out more about how we help couples with their timeline? Click here.

  • Coverage: Different photographers offer different amount of photography. Some will offer as little as two hours while others will offer multi day coverage for couples wanting to document their full wedding weekend.

    • We have a minimum of 4 hour coverage because we believe that even if your having a small wedding your day deserves just as much documentation as a larger traditional wedding. We love to help couples dream about how their wedding day could look, from waking up to baking together, to hiking to catch the alpine glow or doing whatever feels just right, we want to make sure your wedding day is full epitomized with photography. Let’s chat about the coverage you need!


STEP THREE: What Products Would You Like From Your Wedding Photographer?

Think about the products you will want from your photographer. Keep in mind you don’t have to purchase all of these up front, but may want to order from them down the road. Make sure to ask about ordering later, every photographer has different policies:

  • Digital files: Here are some good questions to ask your photographer

    • How many digital photos do you get after your wedding day?

      • We provided at least 30 photos per hour of coverage which is reasonable consider thats a photo every 2 minutes of your wedding day!

    • Do you have your own printing rights to the photos?

      • We give you the printing rights to your photos but clarify that once the photos leave our hands we’re not responsible for the color output since many printers are low quality and it will adversely affect the quality of the photos.

    • Do they deliver high resolution photos and web sized photos?

      • We offer both the original resolution which we took them and option to download smaller sized photos to store on your computer or share online.

    • Can you give your digital photos to your family too?

      • We suggest sending family and friends prints instead! Everyone loves photos of their family and friends to hang around the house or their fridge.

  • Albums: Look at album samples, their are so many different styles and qualities out there. Know what you are paying for:

    • We work with the top printer in the united states to deliver high quality albums that last over time. While their are cheap printing options out there you get what you pay for just like shoes. Big box store shoes probably last a year. Designer hand made shoes last for decades. I don’t know about you but I want a wedding album that will last generations.

    • We offer customers designed albums that look more like more like modern magazines to fit the style of your wedding and your personalities.

  • Prints: While it may seem like heading to a big box store or a popular cheap print shop after your wedding day is a good idea, I’d encourage you to look at the quality you paid for the photographer and the product quality you’re getting. Many times prints printed at a more affordable printer are a poor quality and will fade over time or the colors will look funky compared to a professional photographer printer.

    • Ask your photographer if you can print photos through them to have access to professional photography printing.

      • In case you’re wondering when working with us you’ll receive all your photos in an online gallery to share with family and friends as well as print your photos with our professional printer!

  • Slideshows: Do you see photos first in a slideshow or online gallery?

    • We deliver our photos first to you in a slideshow. While we’re not videographers we absolutely love helping you create a time of connection with you and your partner to view your photos and what better way than a curated slideshow! Check some of our slideshows out here on youtube.

STEP FOUR: Set Your Budget

  • If you’re planning a traditional wedding you can expect your photographer to cost about 12% of your wedding budget. Keep in mind most photographers spend 60+ hours on one wedding and they have costs to running a business.

  • If you’re planning a small wedding and elopement and your photographer is also your wedding planning guide they are putting more time and using their experitise for you so you may find their costs are hirer than traditional photographers but if you’re skipping tradition hiring someone with the proper experience is going to be vital for having an epic experience. Learn more about how we help you with this!

STEP FIVE: Research Different Wedding Photographers

Research photographers: spend time on their websites, look at the blog posts, check out their instagram or social media accounts to get to know them more, read reviews, ask friends and your other wedding vendors for referrals.

  • Make a list of your favorites.

  • Contact your favorites. The easiest way, of course is emails, but some photographers have contact forms on their websites you can fill out too. Ask about their style, the products and services you want, and prices for their packages.

  • Filter through photographers who:

    • Don’t match the style you want,

    • Don’t offer the products or services you need

    • Don’t respond with in a few days. (PLEASE check your spam folder, many times our emails get lost here.)

STEP SIX: Schedule Interviews

Schedule Interviews with your top favorite photographers: Many will do this over the phone, video chat or if you are in the same town an in person meeting.


STEP SEVEN: Prep Questions For Your Interviews

Bring questions to ask to the interview:

  • Ask about experience with your particular venue and time of day especially if evening wedding or inside a church.

  • If you plan to hire a videographer ask if the photographer has experience working with one.

  • Ask about how much they edit photos. Some photographers will only do minimal editing (adjust exposures and colors), others will remove every last stray hair, and others will have something in between.

  • Ask about their digital files:

    • Do they provide photos ready for the web?

    • Can you have input on the photos you want?

  • Make sure to ask who will be there to shoot your wedding?

    • We shoot as a team! I Emmy am your guide and helping you with logistics ahead of time but due to physical limitaitons don’t photograph events longer than 4 hours so Brittany my amazing associate photographs longer events. We love working as a team and know you’ll love it too!


STEP EIGHT: Discuss Your Wedding Photographer Investment

After interviews discuss with your partner and/or people investing in your wedding:

  • Did you feel comfortable with the photographer? During most weddings your photographer will be with you most of the day, having a photographer who helps you relax is so important. While helping you stay relaxed it isn’t completely their job, it is helpful to feel comfortable with them.

  • Do you like their style?

  • Do they provide all the services you need?

  • Are they a legitimate professional photographer, and if they aren’t are you ok with that?

  • Do they have the experience to photograph your particular wedding well? (Keep in mind photographers who have no experience shooting an indoor evening wedding may not do a great job shooting your wedding if they’ve only photographed outdoor sunny weddings.)


STEP NINE: Finalize Your Wedding Photogrpaher

  • Decide on your favorite photographer!

  • Finally, finalize your wedding date with your photographer and sign a photography contract.



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  1. Pingback: Wedding Day Timeline Template {Why You only Need a Photograph for 6 Hours | Advice from a professional wedding photographer} - Celebrate Again

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Lumalia with her hand in her hair leans to the side smiling
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Hey, we’re Lumalia (Emmy) and Sam, the leading voices behind Celebrate Again (Lumalia) and our sister elopement company The Dropped Pin (Sam and her husband Kyle). Here you’ll find ways to live the Celebrate Again lifestyle.

We want to help you embody life’s joy by learning to Celebrate Again in everything from practicing intentional breathing to taking on major life events. I believe your life should be full and be what you make it.

Whether you’re joining me to plan your wedding, dive deeper into your couples connection, celebrate an anniversary, adventure around the USA, stay connected to your beloved, practice yoga or whip up a plant-based recipe, I’ve got you covered, friend.


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