Wedding party cheering while bride and groom kiss on the beach

Hiring Your Wedding Photographer | Cape Cod Wedding Photographer

Groom picking up bride

Let me tell you a little secret about hiring your wedding photographer: their work isn’t the most important thing.

You might be saying to yourself, “Seriously? What do you mean?! I’m buying their work!”

Well, you aren’t wrong. I’m not trying to say that technical ability, style, and the emotional reactions inspired by the art aren’t important. It’s just that those things aren’t the most important factor when it comes to hiring your wedding photographer.

The actual most important thing? How much you love your photographer’s personality. That, my new internet friend, is truly what you need to figure out before hiring your wedding photographer.

Why your photographer’s personality matters so much

Bride fluffing her veil and bride putting on her earrings

Now, back to a previous point I briefly mentioned about a photographer’s ability, style, emotional elicitation super skills. I pinky promise that you really don’t have to know anything about photography to make a great decision in this area. 

Essentially, you want to find a photographer whose work just has that “it” factor for you. It speaks to you. You’ll like the colors, how you feel when you look at it. You can start imagining yourself looking as stunning or sexy or romantic or carefree or what have you in their work. Sure, there are fancy photography terms to talk about all of these things, but as a bride, you really don’t need to know them. All you need to know is that you like what you see, and that you see that consistent look and feel over and over again. If it’s on that photographer’s social media, their website, and their galleries, and it’s all consistent, that’s great!

But here lies the problem. Once you know what you like, there are still SO. MANY. OPTIONS. There are probably minute differences that you can start to discern, but it becomes obvious that there is just a lot of talent out there.

So then how do you really narrow down the right choice, the perfect choice, for hiring your wedding photographer?

You get to know that person. Because if we’re being perfectly honest, not everyone is going to make you feel the warm fuzzies after you chat with them. You may love a photographer’s work, but they might have as much personality as a potato chip when you strike up a conversation. 

Bridesmaids fluffing a bride's dress and bride and groom holding hands and walking

Or maybe they’re super quiet (nothing wrong with that. Introverts can be fun! And quirky?! Definitely fun still! I’m also a bit introverted myself. Maybe a bit of an ambivert, though, too) but you’re super loud. You want someone that’s going to hype you up on your wedding day, so that quiet thing just isn’t your vibe.

Or you can say episodes of Parks and Rec by heart, but your photographer is a stoic. So he really, really won’t like your Andy impressions.

Look–to be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with all the different personalities out there. But that doesn’t mean you jive with everyone equally. And that’s okay!! Your wedding photographer watches you get into your wedding dress. The bride spends more time with her photographer than her soon to be husband on the wedding day. So you have to really enjoy the person you choose. Because she will be right up in your business all day long.

This is why I have a consultation call as part of my inquiry process. I have to get to know you, and you have to get to know me.

If I can make you laugh, that’s a good sign! If you like the Jonas Brothers, I want to work with you immediately. I promise, really!

But personality really does weed out the talented-yet-not-for-you photographers out there; personality is key when hiring your wedding photographer.

What to consider when hiring a wedding photographer

Bride and groom walking away from the camera together and bride and groom about to kiss under a wedding veil

Even though I already told you the most important thing when hiring a wedding photographer, I won’t leave you high and dry without everything else to consider.

  1. You have to love your photographer’s style. It’s unfair to ask that photographer to shoot and edit in a style that they don’t display. There are a lot of factors that go into perfecting a signature style, so if you’re looking for a different look, it’s better to find a different photographer. I specialize in bright and colorful wedding photography that has an intimate, elegant, and joyful feel. You’ll look back at my images with your grandkids and still smile. 
  2. You must, must, must, must see full galleries. Double check that there are real human beings in these galleries. I’m sure you’re like, “Real human beings? As opposed to what, Christine? Horses? Aliens? Ghosts?” I mean people that are guests, not people that are hired to be models. In the photography world, there are these things called styled shoots. At said styled shoots, a faux wedding is hosted by different wedding vendors so that beautiful images can be created for marketing purposes. This is a neutral thing–I’m not trying to call anyone out for doing styled shoots. I’ve done them before, and I probably will again. I’ve also created my own shoots just for myself so that I can test out new concepts I’m playing with. But there is a major difference between taking a beautiful image on a styled shoot where there is no real client that you’re responsible to, no real creepy uncles that want to tell me about the state of the art camera they lugged around in the ‘80s, no snooty Aunt Imelda shrieking that back in her day they didn’t do first looks, no ceremony that ran late so now all of your beautiful golden hour light is very rapidly diminishing…you get it. The pressure just isn’t there. Sometimes newer photographers pad their portfolios with beautiful images created under ideal circumstances. You want your photographer to be able to create beautiful images no matter what. Period. So be sure to see a wedding day gallery from start to finish.
  3. The photographer’s team. Do they work alone? Do they use a second photographer, or maybe even more? My personal preference is always having a second photographer. It just builds in a little extra insurance on a wedding day in case any emergencies happen. There are some amazing photographers at the top of the field shooting weddings all alone, so it’s not like not having a team is a red flag. But for you, are you comfortable with a single photographer, or you do want a team for your big day?
  4. Get specific on what’s included in the pricing. There’s not a “right way” to run a photography business, so each photographer will include different things in their pricing. As long as it’s clear and upfront and what you need, great!

How long before a wedding should you get a photographer?

Bride and groom hugging while looking at the camera and bride and groom kissing under a wedding veil

One last thing to keep in mind for hiring your wedding photographer is the booking timeline.

Again, there’s no real one right way to do things. Some photographers book out way in advance, and others might book something super last minute.

In my opinion, trying to hire in the 12-18 month range before your wedding date really is the sweet spot. 

The closer you wait until your wedding date, the more likely it is that your dream photographer already has other plans. Because you are going to get to know your photographer and make sure that you love their personality (pretty please! It’s in your best interest!), it can be quite disappointing to fall in love with someone’s Instagram and then find out they can’t make your date.

So do yourself a favor and once you have your venue and date, start researching photographers!

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, and if I’ve made you smile, I’d love to hear from you. Maybe I’m your last stop for hiring your wedding photographer. You can fill out my inquiry form by clicking here. I’ll be in touch with you soon!

But no matter what, I hope this helps you. Just remember–you can trust yourself in this process. If you know that you like a look, and you can see that the photographer does that look over and over again, and then you click with that person, it’s a match made in wedding photography heaven.

Best of luck when hiring your wedding photographer!

-Christine

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