Planning a wedding is no easy feat, and choosing the right vendors can be an overwhelming task – especially trying to find your dream Wedding Photographer. The Photographer you choose will undoubtedly play an important role in your wedding day, and depending on whether you also choose to invest in a Videographer, the images they create may be the only tangible item you have from the day. These images will be something that you look at over the course of your life, reliving the emotions over and over again – as well as something special to share with your children and grandchildren.
Considering this, there’s no surprise many couples feel lost when it comes to choosing a Wedding Photographer. This is why I’ve taken the time to put together a guide that will help you feel confident and empowered when picking the right one for your big day.
You may think, at this point, I’m going to say, “It’s easy. Pick me!” But no, this isn’t a hard sell to get you to choose me, as it’s important that you find the Photographer that is perfect for you!
Index of Content
- Styles of Photography
- How to Research & Find Wedding Photographers
- How to (actually) search for Photographers on Google
- Exploring Websites
- In-Person Meetings
- Understanding Pricing and Packages
- What are Photographers worth?
- Ask to See Full Galleries
1. Styles of Photography
When you start to look for your Dream Wedding Photographer, the first thing you will want to consider is the style of imagery you are drawn to and feel a connection with. Photography styles vary a great deal, and each wedding photographer will have crafted their own individual style over time.
How to determine the style of Photography you like
It’s helpful to consider who you are outside of the wedding planning process when trying to find work that you are more likely to connect with.
- Are you fun, flirty and energetic?
- Are you calm and relaxed and go with the flow?
- Do you like to create a statement and be dramatic?
- Or, are you a hopeless romantic who connects with old-time traditions?
Considering who you are as a couple, what’s important to you, and your values will help guide you towards the style of wedding photography you will likely connect with the most. And which you will ultimately be happy that you picked when you receive your completed wedding album.
Jump onto Pinterest or Instagram and browse images. (If you are on Pinterest, create a pin board of the images that appeal to you the most). As you pick out images, take note of what it is about the image that speaks to you. The more you can quantify this, the easier your search for a local Photographer will become later down the track.
- Is it something about the colours that appeals to you?
- Is it the mood conveyed?
- Do the images appear very posed and directed, or, are they natural, relaxed and in-the-moment?
- Are you drawn to bold/punchy colours or do you prefer a more subtle/muted colour palette?
How to use this?
Once you have narrowed down the style you like, the next thing you need to consider is how to actually find them. The great news is that depending on the style of photography you like, e.g. classical, whimsical, relaxed, fun or edgy – your photographer will likely use these words heavily on their website and social media pages to help you find them when searching. Keep reading to find out how this works…
2. How to Research & Find Wedding Photographers
Now comes the time to actually find and shortlist a selection of photographers who match the style you are after and service the location of your wedding.
Why Google isn’t always best:
My advice here is to try a mixture of research methods. There are many talented people out there who will fit with your vision. However, it can be hard to find them by just sifting through Google. The first photographers that will appear in search results will always be the ones who have paid to be there.
Following these adverts, you will find photographers who have spent a lot of time optimising their websites to be favoured by search engines. This doesn’t mean they are not great photographers; it just means that your ideal match could be hiding away down on page 6 or 7 of Google, and when was the last time you went there??
Other places you can look for Wedding Photographers include:
- Localised Facebook Groups – Great for recommendations from real-life couples.
- Wedding Expos and Events – Wedding Expos can be a great place to start because they allow you to have a conversation with a the photographer and get a sense of who they are, how they work and decide from there if you want to enquire.
- Word of Mouth – Friends or family who’ve had their own experience with a wedding photographer will provide you with an honest review and opinion.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is great for browsing styles of imagery and narrowing down the look you like. You might even find your photographer just by browsing images in general.
- Speak to your other Vendors – If you have already booked your venue and some other vendors, ask them for recommendations. Working with a photographer who knows your venue and has worked with your other vendors before can create a truly seamless wedding day experience.
- Magazines – Yes, magazines still exist! Despite everything now being online – Wedding Magazines are still available for purchase. You can look at the photo credits of the images that you love and add the Vendors to your hit list. If you are local to the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley – the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner is a great place to start and if you are looking for something on a national scale, Hello May is loaded with ideas.
3. How to (actually) search for Photographers on Google
I said previously that Google does not necessarily throw out the best results for something like ‘Photographers’, and this is because it is something that is so subjective. What you like, another person may not. However, it is the place most people will start their search, so we need to get smart about how we go about it.
- When looking for a Wedding Photographer, think about the words associated with how you want to feel and the vibe or mood of the day you want to create, e.g. Romantic, Wild, Adventurous, Intimate, Fun, Relaxed, etc.
- From there, think about the style of imagery you resonate with, e.g. Bold, Colourful, Whimsical, Documentary/Reportage (think black and white street photography), Editorial (think fashion magazines), Dramatic, Dark & Moody, or Light and Bright.
- The final piece of the puzzle is to add in the general location of your wedding (but don’t get too specific here as most Photographers travel for work).
So your Google Search might look something like this:
“Adventurous Fun Documentary Wedding Photographer Central Coast”
“Romantic Editorial Wedding Photographer Hunter Valley”
As I mentioned before, Photographers are really good at including these keywords or search terms in their website and social media hashtags, so the more information you give your search engine, the more accurate your results will be.
4. Exploring Websites
When you start to look at individual Photographers, the obvious places to first view their work include their Website, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest page. When doing so, I want you to consider if their work sparks emotions within you. Do you revisit their website or Instagram profile time and time again? Or have you saved a bunch of their posts for when your time comes? There’s a reason why you connect with certain wedding photographers, and it’s because their work speaks to you.
5. In-Person Meetings
There’s a lot to be said for meeting in person, and it’s one of my favourite things to do!
Your wedding photographer is going to spend a lot of time with you on your wedding day, so you damn well better gel with them!
I truly believe that you can only get so much from an online presence, and meeting in person allows the opportunity for you to see if you connect with them, feel comfortable around them and are inspired by the work they do.
In my opinion, meeting in person or scheduling a zoom-call (if it’s logistically easier for you) is pretty much a necessity!
What to ask
Prior to your meeting, it’s a good idea to write down any questions you have for your wedding photographer. Some ideas for what to ask are:
- What is your approach on the day?
- How long is the turnaround for the photos?
- How does the payment process work?
- What happens if you are sick on our Wedding Day?
- Are there any other costs we might in?
Some companies use associate shooters or are run by the sales team, so you won’t actually know who is going to arrive at your wedding until the day. This is fine so long as you are aware and comfortable with it.
The company will generally hire people who have a similar work ethic and style, but you are well within your rights to ask to see thorough examples of the work of the individual person who will be there on your day and not just a highlight reel of the overall company.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the more relaxed and comfortable you are around your wedding photographer, the more natural and at ease your photos will look.
6. Understanding Pricing and Packages
Weddings and budgets can be totally overwhelming, and it doesn’t help that Wedding Photographer Packages can also be confusing to compare. Let me help break it down for you!
Most photographers will create packages that are time-based. For example, 5-hours, 8-hours or 10-hours. They may also have optional add-ons like Albums, Prints, USB’s, Online Galleries, Additional Photographers, Engagement Shoots, etc, which can be a lot to digest!
When comparing the pricing of photographers, the first thing to be clear on is how much coverage you will need on the day and what are the key things you want to ensure get covered.
Many people initially say they don’t want getting-ready photos. However, it’s a time when couples are usually away from each other. As such, these images are invaluable after the day for seeing your partner’s emotions in the build-up. It also gives us an opportunity to document some of the styling choices you have made for the day, and most importantly, it allows us time to break the ice so you can get comfortable in front of the lens before your Ceremony.
At the other end of the day, would you like your photographer to stay right until the end of the night and capture your exit, or, are you happy for them to head off after the formalities whilst you are partying the night away? There really is no right or wrong answer; it’s completely up to you! (Having said that, I’ve never had a couple wish they had captured less on the day!)
Start to narrow down the packages
Once you have decided roughly how long you want your Photographer for, remove any packages that aren’t relevant to make things easier to compare. Now you can look at the other inclusions.
Almost all Wedding Photographers these days are going to supply the images via an online gallery. Make sure that you are able to download Full/High-Resolution images and not just Web Resolution images; (Otherwise, be clear on any hidden charges if you have to pay for High-Resolution images later).
If you find inclusions in the package that you know you don’t want, you can ask if you can remove them or swap them with something meaningful to you. I should note, though, many Photographers build their packages this way to deliver a more value-packed end product and only sell them as such.
Be clear when comparing
Clarity when comparing packages is key! As with any business, you will know that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to physical products.
If a package includes an ‘Album’, for example, be clear on what type of album it is. There are many different albums available at very different price points and qualities. Is it a cheaper flip-page photo book or a higher-quality leather-bound solid-page heirloom type album? This is not to say one is bad, but make sure you know if you are comparing like-for-like 😉
7. What are Photographers worth?
The idea that the more expensive something is, the better it is, isn’t really the case with Wedding Photographers. Package prices can vary wildly based on a number of factors. It is certainly important that you are aware of how much you can afford to spend. However, your key aim is to find a Wedding Photographer who suits the mood of your day and who you connect with.
You may find that you need to reassess where you want to spend your money because the photographer you love is more money than you initially expected. Or, you might find a photographer who is in the early part of their career and is a more affordable option, but you love their work, and that’s ok too!
The key thing is that you trust the person you are employing to tell the story of the day in a way that you will want to look back on for years to come.
8. Ask to see full galleries
This is something that everyone should do, but not many people think of. Once you have enquired with your chosen Wedding Photographer and you are keen to progress with them, it’s fair to ask to see at least 3 full galleries, not just the highlights they share with you on their website and social media pages.
One of the best things about viewing a full gallery is that you are able to see how the day progressed from beginning to end and how the photographer captured it in its entirety. There are lots of different lighting scenarios and there are also lots of intimate and emotional moments throughout the day. It’s important to see how your photographer approaches these and that they aren’t going to miss a beat.
Bonus: You may even be inspired by some shots, locations or poses in the galleries to use on your own day.
Pro Tip: Check if the photographer has worked at your venue before and request to see that album. This allows you to get a really good idea of how your wedding photography is going to play out on the day.
Lastly, but very importantly, go with your gut. I can’t recommend this enough! Our gut feelings and instincts are almost always right – so if you have narrowed it down to two or three photographers and you have a gut feeling that one of them is the right one for you – go for it!
It’s true what they say, getting married is one of the biggest and best things you will ever do, which is why it pays to do your research to find the wedding photographer who is right for you.
While researching a wedding photographer, you will naturally connect with some more than others. Pay attention to who your personality connects with and who you trust. I guarantee that this will result in an incredible wedding day experience and photographs that you will love to look back on for years to come!
Underatreehouse Photography shoots weddings all over Australia but is mostly based in the NSW Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Sydney. With a love for travel and discovering the great outdoors, Chris is always up for an adventure to a new destination.
To learn more about me, my photography style and examples of my work, and to enquire about availability and packages, visit my website here: