How to choose a wedding photographer
who’s right for you.
How to choose a wedding photographer was one of the most difficult things to work out when we were planning our wedding, and we’re wedding photographers ourselves!
After all they are capturing the story of a very significant moment in your life. A moment when your life takes a beautiful new direction, where not only your two hearts meet but also your families come together as one big happy unit.
Unlike other wedding vendors, your photographer spends all day with celebrating with you, not to mention all the planning sessions beforehand. Because you will spend so much time with them you want you photographer/s to be your kind of people. Not only will this make the day go smoothly, it will mean you won’t run into difficulties communicating and life will be so much more relaxed and fun on your day knowing you can trust them to be there for you and create that art you’ve come to love. With that said, trust is a big part of the relationship with your photographers. As artists, they will be more creative, and as documentary makers, they will be more on to it if they know you love their style and you’re happy with the results even before you see them. It sounds funny, but we asked around our peers and everyone agreed that a photographer who is not worrying about shooting in a style other than their own will produce a much better product and capture all those moments you will cherish forever.
Hello, we are Sirjana and Ben from Tinted Photography and we photograph weddings, elopements and adventure sessions. We travel almost continuously – you name the place and we have probably shot there, or will be shooting there pretty soon. We bring this up because over the course of our careers as photographers we have met incredible people in love from just about all walks of life and the thing is, we never fail to learn something new about love and life from every single one of them! which we think puts us in a unique place to talk about how to choose a wedding photographer. This was an unexpected side effect of our vocation and we believe it has made us better more humble people and better lovers too and we want to foster this effect and give it back to those who cross our paths. That’s why we believe it is so important that when choosing your photographer you’re also choosing a friend. Someone who gets you supports you and will be there for you and your partner. Sharing their experience and know how leading up to your wedding day or photo shoot and giving you their all when the day finally arrives. This relationship can be so much more than a ‘vendor – client’ thing and a good thing too as creating incredible images is a team effort and can be heaps of fun!
The following tips are just a few things we suggest you look out for when booking a photographer. You’ll notice we don’t immediately suggest we are your best fit, that’s not what this blog is about. We just want to share some things we wish we had known when we were looking for our photographer and wish you all the best in finding your dream team!
5 tips on
How to choose a wedding photographer
1. Go check out their blog
So you have found a couple of photographers whose work is making you all the more excited about your beautiful day?! Take it from us, nay note it down: It is not enough to see some curated photos on their main page. To know their style better you need to go digging for their blog link. It’s where their stories live, their style comes to life and their personalities talk. In the blog section, you can see how often they blog a session (wedding or couple’s photo shoot) and read what they write about their couples. You will get an insight into how they treat their role as photogs and how they narrate a story from the start to finish, plus also how they deal with various lighting situations. What’s more, you will get to see work from other talented vendors and if they have been tagged in the post then this may speed you your planning a little if you see someone you like. We make sure we blog all of our photoshoots as it means we can’t get away with doing average work and hiding it out of site plus it keeps us creatively charged and always striving for our best!
2. How social are they
Are they on Facebook and Instagram? Because chances are you can not only see their very latest work there and how they engage with their tribe but also have an insight into how they run their business through Instagram stories, videos, and live events. Remember a photographer is the person you will see and spend the most time with on your wedding day – you gotta love them and not just their photos. It’s not to say that photographers who are not active on Social Media are no good. It’s just an avenue that a lot of brides still don’t really check and has a wealth of information which can help make your decision easy.
In our case, even though we are a classic mix of introvert and extrovert and some of us (Ben) find it hard to maintain their personal Facebook, we are very active on Tinted Photography’s social media. And the reason is simple – we have captured some incredible love stories and we want to share that love with the world.
3. Style over stories
When you go through their work, see if you can notice unique differences between different love stories. For example, we believe that every love story is different and deserves to be told in its unique way, therefore you will not see any two weddings on our blog that look or feel exactly alike. We create the look and style of each one of our sessions by getting to know our peeps and reflecting the vibe of the day through our work. Trust your love story and find a photographer who will showcase it just the way it should be. This way, when you look back at your day it will be uniquely yours and will give you double the joy. Plus you will be working with a photographer who understands your story and the unique things that make you, you.
4. Meet ’em
So you’ve heard good things but wait, don’t book ’em before you meet ’em. A meeting can be over Facetime, Skype or the old-fashioned face to face. When you meet any artist, they will tell you about their process and learn about your vision and in the end what you get is a complete picture and hopeful trust in your chosen human. Both you and your photographers are looking for the best fit and it’s that magical combination that will lead to more than just amazing photos on the day. If you are not sure of what to or ask your potential photographer here are some pointers.
Most photographers are small businesses, people just like you who are out to invest their time and passion into your wedding and they really appreciate it if you can just talk candidly about what your plans are, how you fell in love and how they can help you and your partner. When money comes up just be straight up and if you decide not to go with them please let them know asap as for most of us it’s a little heartbreaking being ghosted.
Have a list.
We would start by writing down all the things we are curious about, be it timeline, vendor, location, traditions, trends etc. It helps if your photographer has been in the game for at least a few seasons as they will be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to wedding days and you can get some advice straight from the horse’s mouth. We would recommend saving your list till last and asking them to run you through how they would approach a wedding similar to yours. Then if they miss anything out you can start on the list as it just saves a little time. Make sure you write things down and if they don’t offer too ask them nicely to send you the cliff notes of the meeting including any numbers discussed so you both have a record of it.
Make it like a date.
Because you will spend so much time with your photographer/s on your wedding day, we can’t reiterate it enough… you really should get along well with them. Ask them what they do in their spare time (if they have any), how have they dealt with wedding day emergencies in the past (personally, we have driven into town and hired a generator for one bride whos power went down and the venue had no backup plan and we’ve helped a groom break into his soon to be mother in laws house to get his keys and his speech that had been locked in during a mad rush to get everyone to the church). Questions like that will help you figure out if they see their role as just a photographer of your event or as a team player who is there to make your wedding day all it can be!
5. Book your dream wedding photographer
You have met them, you love them and you have found your match. Huzzah! Now don’t spend forever actually booking them. Just last season we had to sadly say no to 12 couples because we were already booked for their date. Some dates are golden and those dates vary each year – so don’t delay in booking the photographer you love for your wedding day. Who wants to start this whole process again when there is so much more to be planned for your wedding!?
Bonus Tip: How much should I invest
That’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? The crusher of our dreams and the reason so many of us settle for the second best. We get you, weddings are expensive, we’ve been there but you don’t have to miss out! Budgeting is very important. Start by drawing a line in the financial sand and then picking your top three things that you just can’t compromise on. In our case, it was photography, food, and venue. Once we had our favorite of each booked and paid for we were super happy with how the rest fell into place and then we could start cost-cutting elsewhere (we used Ali Express and a forest on a friends farm to decorate for instance).
We know a good photographer costs anywhere between $5000 and $8000. It may sound crazy for 10 – 12 hours of coverage and a pre or post-wedding shoot but here is where that money goes. You get what you pay for: You get a creative, very passionate soul who will spend hours upon hours answering emails, phone calls, fielding questions and educating you so you have a stress-free and relaxed wedding day. Your dream photographer is not there just for the photos but participates in the celebration of love and feels it’s an honour to capture your wonderful day. In effect, they will not just be giving you your photos but building you a time-machine to visit your day whenever – because they would be capturing your day with all its details and quirks and tinted with your colours. Take it from us, it helps that you had nothing but fond memories of them as it makes your photos all the better when they remind you of your seamless and fun wedding day and not corny poses and a bossy nature.
Personally we spend many hours in prep work before the wedding and pre-wedding shoot day, communicating with our couples, bettering our art and spending on our education, getting equipment serviced and ready, making sure you never lose a single image from the day by not sleeping until the early hours of the morning to double backup your precious photos. 20+ hours are later spent on individually editing and sorting through 4000+ images and curating them for you. Then there is designing of photo books, ordering prints and creating your online gallery. All this while we are available to answer questions ranging from your wedding timeline, connecting you with other vendors, location scouting and so much more 🙂
We are all about people over prices and as such we only work with 35 couples per season to make sure we can give you our all! We are all about elements and celebrating like crazy lovers (cause after all love isn’t ordinary so why celebrate it like it is). If you are wondering about our prices – you can check out our pricing page or contact us to discuss your plans with us at a time that suits you. We don’t like turning down people we gell with so if your planning something small, far away, on top of a mountain etc, etc, just lay your budget on us and we can discuss what we can do to celebrate there with you!
We hope you can tell but, our goal with this article is simply to reach out to as many couples who are wedding planning as possible and to speak from the heart. We are witnessing a changing of the guard in our industry and we want to let the whole world know that being a wedding photographer is no longer just about taking photos, but it’s about being there with the bride and groom experiencing, supporting, empathising, cementing friendships and celebrating love for all it’s worth <3