5 Steps to Find the Wedding Photographer of Your Dreams | California Wedding Photographer

Hey there, friends! Coming at ya with another post with some helpful tips for anyone planning a wedding. 

I know when I planned my wedding, I felt kind of overwhelmed at times, so my goal as a part of this industry today is to help put any brides and grooms at ease when it comes to making decisions about your wedding day. Today’s topic is allll about finding the right wedding photographer for YOU. And…unfortunately…that might not be me. 

That’s right, I’m saying it: You need to stay true to YOUR desires here for your wedding day. Not every vendor will be the right fit for you as a couple. Here’s a few ways to narrow down the search so you find the best option for you two.

  1. DO YOU VIBE WITH ME? 

As a wedding photographer, I’ve gotten to the point where I can tell pretty quickly if I’m “vibing” with a couple. That millennial word basically just means “do we get along or nah?” Do your personalities match with any of the photographers you’ve met or researched on the internet? Do you have anything in common? Can you tell what they’re like from the way they talk to you?

Personally, I try to make sure all my online communication reflects my in-person communication. I use lots of exclamation points and emojis, and I stay faaaar away from a stiff-sounding tone that wouldn’t match the way I talk in real life. If you haven’t found a photographer that shows their personality or has one that matches yours…keep looking. This can REALLY impact engagement and wedding photos since you end up spending so much time with your photographer, so make sure you find someone who puts you two at ease.

2. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MONEY

Ok, ok…it wouldn’t be a talk about wedding decisions if we didn’t mention budget. This is definitely something important to consider when looking for your photographer, but the good news is that you’ve got a plethora of options. It’s safe to say that an average price in Southern California for a wedding photographer who will do your engagement photos and cover you for 8 hours on wedding day is about $3,500…but you can find many people who are well below and well above that price. 

Think about it this way: when all the decor has been packed away, guests have gone home, and gifts have been opened, the PRIMARY thing you have left from your wedding is the photos. Yeah, our job is pretty dang important! For some, paying a few hundred dollars for a photographer is all that’s in the budget, while others want to spend tens of thousands. 

Just keep in mind, you get what you pay for. A brand new photographer might NOT safely backup your photos, deliver things quickly, or respond to your emails in a timely fashion. Hopefully someone more seasoned can do all this and more. Think about your budget, but also think about the quality you’re getting for that price.

3. ALL ABOUT STYLE

Believe it or not, there are a multitude of styles (both in the way photographers pose and edit) that vary greatly from person to person. For example, I characterize my photography style as documentary, subtle, a little bit prompted, designed to fit the moment and make you feel comfortable. I use prompts and directions to elicit natural reactions that show off you two with real smiles, laughs, and some in-between moments. NO boring poses here. I explain my editing style as bright, cheery, colorful, and vibrant. I try to maintain the original colors we all saw on your wedding day…just jazzed up a bit! Aka, your pictures with a little makeup on ;)

You can find other photographers who will pose every shot and barely edit pictures, photographers who pretty much step out of the scene entirely and let you two hang together, and photographer who edit colors in a very dark and moody style. One of the reasons I love this industry is because photographers get so incredibly creative, and you have tooooons of people to choose from for your wedding day. Do some research and decide what you like! 

I’ve had one or two potential clients tell me what while they loved my personality and felt that we got along, they were looking for an editing style that was completely different. I encouraged them to go find what they were looking for. I can’t be everything for everyone, that’s why it’s important that you find the right fit for you.

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4. CAN YOU HANDLE IT?

Some photographers pride themselves on being “natural light” photographers…while this is great for cloudy days and sunsets, it’s not so great for the dance floor where everything’s dark besides the colorful lights your DJ is using. Make sure you take a look at your potential photographer’s FULL wedding galleries so you can see a mix of photos and figure out if they can handle all types of lighting situations. Figure out what their strengths are and make sure they come prepared with the right gear to fit your wedding day. Make sure they have a backup plan in case everything goes terribly wrong. Ask the right questions before you sign the contract so you can have complete confidence in your choice.

If you’re still wondering whyyy knowing your equipment matters…just take a look at the photo above! You don’t want your photographer to miss all the special moments, dance moves, and bloopers at reception.

5. WHAT DO OTHERS SAY?

Past clients always have things to say about their wedding photographer (good or bad). Ask to see reviews (if they aren’t already splashed across the photographer’s website). I know I personally have an option for clients to leave reviews right on my Google Business Listing. This is incredibly simple and also helps because great reviews pop up anytime someone searches for me. Facebook, Wedding Wire, and The Knot are also great places to check for reviews to make sure your photographer has someone else to backup their claims. 

I hope these tips are helpful as you’re searching for your wedding photographer!! I’m always here if you have any questions - it truly is such a joy to be a part of this industry and a part of wedding days for my couples. Happy planning!