It’s intimidating, to start the process of finding a wedding photographer. There’s a lot of businesses and artists to sort through and at first you may not even be sure of what you’re looking for.
This post will outline how to find the perfect wedding photographer for you: we’ll assess the different styles of wedding photography, questions to ask yourself to help narrow down your goals, and a few key indicators you’ve found the right one.
Different Styles of Wedding Photography:
A posed style of wedding photography (often referred to as “fine art”) involves curated poses and a strong awareness of line and form. Fine art photography is often less about what is happening or what the camera sees, but rather what the artist behind the camera is aiming to create. The scenes are often extremely detailed and meticulously crafted together, to create images that are often magazine or editorial worthy.
A semi-posed style of photography that has been most up-and-coming lately is that of lifestyle images, or prompted photography. Rather than well curated or perfectly align poses, they often involve movement or requests (such as whisper your grocery list in their ear in a sexy voice, or hold hands and walk towards me while bumping hips) and aim to create a more relaxed, personal feel to the images. It’s a blend between candid and posed that still provides direction with a goal image in mind, but also infuses more personality.
Our last style of photography is candid, or documentary style images (also referred to as wedding photojournalism). It’s a style that believes in a fly-on-the-wall approach to creating images, and gives no direction or requests to create images. Documentary photographers focus on emotion and interactions, and photographing things exactly as they went down, with no interference from the photographer.
How to determine what style you need in a photographer:
How do you want to spend your time on your wedding day?
These three styles of images all require different levels of attention from you as a couple to the photographer. Images in the fine art style may require more setup and detailed direction as opposed to images in the documentary style that require nothing from you.
Ask yourself this: what do I want to spend my time doing? What level of interest you have in interacting with your photographer helps dictate what style will suit you best.
What are you wanting to do on camera?
The different styles of photography often have different portions of the day photographed. A fine art photographer may not show up until hair/makeup is complete, where a documentary photographer may be there first thing in the morning. Having an idea of what you want photographed will help you determine the best fit for you.
What types of images are you hoping to walk away with?
Ultimately, finding the best wedding photographer for you comes down to this: what type of images are you hoping to walk away with? While a photographer may do a blend of any of these styles, most often you’ll find photographers excel at just one. Decide if curates images, casual images, or completely candid images will suit your goals best.
So you’ve determined the style you want, and you’ve looked through what feels like hundreds of photographer’s websites. What are some clues that you’ve found the best fit for you?
Here’s how you know when you’ve found the one:
1. You read almost every word on their website.
You read their entire bio. Maybe you read every information page. You even got lost in blog post after blog post. You spent some hella good time on their site and you didn’t click away immediately or skim or jump to find the pricing first – this is a pretty good sign that the photographer as an individual, not just in their work, drew your attention in a way that you totally vibed with. It’s fate, really.
2. Your consult/conversation flowed ridiculously easy.
It’s normal for slightly awkward interactions and standard pauses in chat, but if your photographer stumbles and doesn’t really know what to talk about, this isn’t the best sign. Every experienced photographer is going to require a consultation to make sure you’re a good fit, and if the conversation flows SUPER well, and your humor lines up, and it feels like talking to an old friend, you’ve hit the jackpot my dear. If you’re skyping and your photographer stares for a few seconds and says, “I’m not sure what to talk about, do you have any questions?”, run the other direction. Fast.
3. They talk more about you than themselves.
The right photographer is going to be very invested in you as a person and as a couple. If they’re always asking you questions and trying to learn more about you, it’s evident that you are a priority to them – which is crucial in finding the perfect person to photograph your wedding day.
4. Their values align with yours.
If you’re incredibly invested in detail oriented images of your wedding, make sure your photographer is too. Or if you believe your people are what matter most, make sure your photographer feels the same way. A true vendor match-made-in-heaven starts and ends with sharing the same values of what matters most at your event.
How did you know when you found the right wedding photographer? Drop your own tips below in the comments!
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.
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