Wedding planning can be such an exciting time!! One of my favorite parts while I was planning my own wedding was going through all the pretty photos on Pinterest and imagining myself in those images. I remember combing through countless photos of decorations, cakes, dresses, and having my brain flooded with ideas of how to bring elements of these images into my venue. Like many other couples, my husband and I poured countless hours into not only planning our wedding but also making things for our wedding – he built the arbor we were married under and also carved candle sticks out of wood from our yard for our centerpieces while I made all of the bouquets and florals. When it came time to choose our wedding photographer, we wanted to make sure that we chose someone that would capture not only us on our wedding day but all of the love and labor we put into making the day our own.
You may have already read my blog post in 2020 about the one crucial step I believe couples should take BEFORE booking their wedding photographer (click here to take a look but spoiler alert… IT IS TALK TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER!)… but I want to take it a step further because talking to a potential wedding photographer is great but making sure you’re ready for the conversation is a whole other thing!
I’ve put together three important things you’ll want to know and have ready before you talk to potential wedding photographers (and other wedding vendors as well!) because not only will these points lead to a more productive conversation but they will also help you get valuable information from the photographer you’re speaking to so that you can make an educated choice and ensure that you find someone who will work amazingly well with you and your partner for your day!
3. Know How Long Your Wedding Day Will Be… Roughly
Knowing how long you expect your wedding day to be will help you determine upfront how much coverage you will need. This varies a lot from wedding to wedding but as a full time wedding photographer myself with over 50 weddings under my belt in the last four years, I can say that my most common collection by far is an eight hour collection with two photographers. I’ve done a few ten hour wedding days but these are usually the days where there is a large gap between the wedding and reception and the couple has elected for getting ready photos as well as full reception coverage.
If you find yourself questioning how much wedding coverage you’ll need, a good place to start is thinking about how long your ceremony will be and then determining how much time will be between your ceremony and reception. After that, you can decide whether or not you’d like to have getting ready photos at a different location before the ceremony and finally decide between full reception coverage vs. just the main events. Once you have these things figured out, you’ll have a good idea of how long you’ll be needing coverage. This will help immensely when getting a quote for your wedding day photography coverage.
2. Know Your Budget
Knowing your budget for your wedding photography services before your first consultation is must. It saves you (and your photographer!) time and frustration when you know your budget because the last thing either of you wants to do is bond over the excitement of working together only to find out that you’ll have to find someone else to work with after the quote is delivered.
Luckily, there are photographers of all price ranges and skill levels in abundance these days so there is absolutely someone out there waiting to shoot your dream wedding collection! Knowing your budget sets you up to finding them as soon as possible (and before someone else with your wedding date!
If you’re unsure how to determine the average cost of wedding photography in your area, a good place to start is one of the many free, online wedding planning tools available (popular ones include The Knot, Zola, and Wedding Wire). On these types of sites, you can find a variety of local vendors listed with their price points, websites, and even client reviews – all in one spot! This can help you determine not only how much you should be budgeting for photography, but for your other wedding vendors as well! Oftentimes, you can connect with the vendors right there on the site which makes things even easier!
1. Have an Idea of Which Wedding Photos are Most Important to You
Of course ALL OF THEM, right!?
But in all seriousness, just as every wedding day is different, every couple’s idea of the perfect wedding collection is different as well. Not every couple wants photos of their guests at the tables during the reception (really, it seems like no one wants that anymore!). Some couples want a variety of photos of just the two of them together and plan for a few hours of portraits while others set aside thirty minutes so they can have more photos together with their friends in the wedding party. Everyone’s vision for their wedding day is different and knowing what your priorities are can help you know what to look for in a potential wedding photographer’s portfolio.
It also helps to have an idea of the style you’re going for in your photos. For example, if you’re hoping for some traditional, posed portraits in your collection, then Brittany Lynn Imagery may not be the best photographer for you (sad face!!!) because my work tends to be more photojournalistic with flowy poses that showcase my couples engaging and laughing together rather than rigidly smiling at the camera. If you want a more candid feeling to your wedding collection, however, I would love to chat! 😉
BONUS. Know Your Wedding Date!
You need to know your wedding date before booking your photographer! Afterall, it’s impossible for your photographer to know if they’re available to shoot your wedding if you don’t know your wedding date yet!
If you’re still narrowing down your wedding date or waiting on your venue for confirmation, now is a good time to do the homework listed above! By searching through local wedding photographers and narrowing your list down to 3-5 of your favorites you can then start to look in to each one of them and learn about their photography style, their pricing model, and read some reviews.
Now it’s time for the fun part – setting up your first call with a potential photographer!
You’ve got your wedding date set, you know roughly how long your wedding day will be, you know your budget, and you’ve decided on what parts of the wedding day mean the most to you – YOU’RE READY!!
The first meeting, whether it’s in-person, on a video call, or on a phone call, is a great opportunity for you to determine whether or not you “vibe” with your potential wedding photographer! Trust me – you want to make sure you find someone you get along with and feel comfortable around because your photographer will be there with you for the whole day - and for some pretty intimate moments - so make sure you find someone you can trust to capture your wedding day well and also to be a great support if/when you need it!
Lastly, I’d love to know if you think I missed anything! What is something you think is super important to know before your pre-booking consultation with a potential wedding photographer? Even better, what is something you thought was important but turned out to be a bit less important than you expected and could have waited? (Let’s save some wedding-planning couples a bit of anxiety, shall we!?)