1. Do you have my date available?
2. How far in advance do I need to book with you?
Keep in mind: If you really love a photographer see when they are open before settling on a date. Think about the month you want to have your wedding in, don’t focus on the actual date. A lot of photographers can be booked 6 months-1 year out.
Make sure to look through plenty of wedding photographers websites and find the style that fits you as a couple. As you look through their photos, notice if the photographers were able to capture the emotion of the day, the details, and stylistically, if their look matches your style. Photographers can be traditional, photojournalistic, creative, shoot with film, etc. so it is important to understand the differences between wedding photography styles so that you can discuss your preferences with your photographer.
To break down the styles a little bit:
Traditional, classic wedding photography generally includes posed photos that would look great in a photo album. Typically traditional photographers work from a “shot list” and are more focused on formality than creativity. I myself lean towards the non-traditional photography and have included some examples of non-traditional wedding photography below.
Photojournalistic wedding photography is a “reality based” approach to capturing a wedding. Rather than posing for pictures, the photographer captures candid moments as they unfold. It is incredibly popular and for good reason! Photojournalistic wedding photography tells a unique story about your wedding, from the nervous anticipation before the start of the ceremony to the reception’s last toast. Photojournalism captures moments rather than poses, documenting the emotions and energy around the entire occasion.
There are also photographers who specialize in editorial or fashion photography who are able to create striking dramatic photos and photographers who are able to use natural light, which takes a great amount of skill.
Since I have worked in Nashville for the last couple years, here are some examples of different styles of photography specifically in the Nashville area.
This is a great example of photojournalistic style of wedding photography. The Ulmers are an incredibly creative indie couple who are photojournalistic wedding photographers. They capture light and emotion in an incredible way and who also use vintage film cameras.
The incredible duo at Q Avenue Photo are also a great example of photographers who are typically photojournalistic photographers that use illustrative style in this engagement shoot.
Style Me Pretty’s Vendor Guide is a great resource for photographers and other vendors in your area.
Now that you understand a little bit about the styles of photography, get to know the photographer; ask questions about how they work, if they blend into the crowd, want to build a relationship with you to fully understand you as a couple, if they create a more visible day of preference and take charge to choreograph the shot.
Also note that many wedding photographers are willing to travel so don’t feel confined to your city!
Then, once you feel like you have found the perfect match, work out the nitty gritty:
1. Ask if they are going to be present on your wedding day or if they will have assistants or “second shooters” on the day of.
2. If the photographer is traveling to the location, talk about travel fees.
3. Ask the photographer if they have ever shot at the site you are planning on getting married at. If not, ask if you can do a site visit with your photographer before the big day.
4. Talk about timing for the day of and ask the photographer how much time they need to get the photos they need. Also ask what time they will arrive on site and how long they will stay.
5. Ask about additional charges including “if my wedding lasts longer than expected, will you stay? And are there additional charges?”
6. Talk about pricing and packages and if their pricing includes engagement photos.
7. Talk about the ordering process, if they offer album designs, retouching, color adjustments, and proofs.
8. Ask about written contracts, deposits, payment, and cancellation policies.
Ultimately, the goal should be to find a photographer who wants to get to know you and capture the unique details of your day. Many photographers truly value getting to know you as a couple.