3 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Photographer

There is a popular saying, “After the flowers have died and the cake has been eaten, your wedding photographs will be what remains from your wedding day.”

Every wedding couple wants to have photographs that they love to remember their wedding. Yet, I find many people know at least one person who was greatly disappointed with their wedding photographs. How does this happen? What can you do to avoid being disappointed with your wedding photographs? And most importantly, what steps should you be taking to find the perfect wedding photographer?

Wedding couple kissing in Colorado mountains

#1 Make Sure You View Several Full Weddings

Couples often overlook this important step when searching for a photographer.  As a wedding photographer with 10 years of experience, I understand the importance of viewing complete wedding galleries.  However, when I got married 12 years ago, I did not have this knowledge. Unfortunately, I booked my photographer based off of seeing their website and only one complete wedding album. When my husband and I received our wedding photographs, we realized that the photographer we hired did not meet our expectations. While some parts of the day were captured beautifully, other parts were lacking, including our couples photographs. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!

The Importance of Viewing Complete Galleries

Viewing printed albums from the whole day or requesting to see a few complete online galleries, tells you a few important items about the photographer.

First, it will tell you whether or not they can consistently reproduce quality work. Many photographers have a website full of photographs from various weddings. If a photographer takes 2,000 photos per wedding, they are bound to get at least one or two portfolio worthy photographs. But seeing only the best of the best photographs from a variety of weddings, will not tell you what the quality of the entire gallery will be. It will not tell you if they can consistently produce stunning photographs from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.  Whether they can handle every lighting situation like an expert or produce quality work no mater what occurrence may arise.

Furthermore, some photographer’s online portfolios consist of photographs that are from styled sessions and not real weddings. Being able to produce stunning photographs at a styled shoot is very different then being able to produce stunning photographs at a real wedding. Styled shoots often use models who you used to being in front of the camera.  Additionally during a styled shoot, the photographer has ample or unlimited amount of time to spend on the session. Whereas during real weddings, the photographer must produce a large variety of stunning photographs in a limited amount of time.

Remember, viewing several complete wedding galleries will tell you if the photographer can produce quality work consistently, no matter what the location or situation.

Bride and bridesmaids laughing at the Wild Basin Lodge and Event Center

#2 Take the Photographer’s Personality into Account

Many couples don’t realize the extent their wedding photographer will be with them the day of their wedding. Your photographer will be one of the people that you will be spending the most time with on your wedding day. From getting ready through the reception, they will be by your side. When interviewing a photographer, ask them what their approach is to photographing the day. Will they be acting as a director throughout the day and telling you where to go and what to do? Will they be staying in the background and capturing events as they naturally occur? Whatever the photographer’s approach, make sure that it fits with your personality and what you both want for your wedding day.

Bride and groom walking together during a stunning Colorado sunset

#3 Understand the Photographer’s Planning Process and Approach to the Wedding Day

Not only can photographers have very different approaches during the planning process, they can also take different approaches on photographing the wedding day. Some photographers will have limited or no contact with you during the planning process.  They may take a more spontaneous approach to photographing the wedding day. While other photographers will be very involved.  They will help you plan your timeline and speak with you extensively during the planning process.  Often, these photographers will take a more planned approach to the wedding day.  Still other photographers, will fall in the middle of these two approaches.

Different approach styles will fit different couples. Make sure that you understand what you can expect from the photographer.

My Approach to Planning and Wedding Day Photography

When photographing a wedding, I personally believe in lots of planning. Before the wedding day, I am available to assist in the planning process at any time.  A month prior to the wedding day, I meet my couples for a pre-wedding consultation. During this meeting we discuss family dynamics and the different family and wedding party groupings they would like photographed.  Additionally, we firm up the photography timeline for the day. My belief is that planning ahead will help the wedding day go as smooth as possible.  As well as, allow you to maximize your time with your guests.  Again, my approach is one way, the most important thing is for you to understand what you can expect from your photographer, in order to determine if their approach is the right fit for you.

Black and white photograph of couple kissing during first dance at Brookside Gardens

Every couple deserves to have wedding photographs that they love. By making sure you see many full wedding examples, take the photographer’s personality into account, and understand the photographer’s planning process and how they approach the wedding day, you will be able to choose the right photographer for your wedding. Happy wedding planning and cheers to finding the perfect wedding photographer!

Please reach out if I can be of any assistance in your search for the perfect Colorado Wedding Photographer.

– Shannon Scholtes (Adore Photography)