(Closed) Overwhelmed – how do you find a photographer?

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
195 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I called everyone I was interested in and requested a call back. That’s really all you can do other than word of mouth. Ask around, see what other people are spending and who they are going with.

Post # 4
394 posts
Helper bee

Ask married friends and family in your area who they used and do a google search for photographers in your area and make a list of the ones whos work WOW’s you. From there cross any off your list that are way out of your budget, for now leave ones that are reletively close to your budget as you may be able to negotiate a custom package in your price range still. Then choose your top 3 on your list to call or email for availablitly and additional information. Cross off any who are not available or that you don’t “click” with when you talk with them or give you a bad vibe… personality is very important when choosing a photographer, you want to make sure  they are someone that you can get along with. Continue this process until you have 3-5 photographers that WOW you, are available and are roughly in your price range, and set up a face to face meeting with them 🙂 

Feel free to message me if you need any assistance vetting any photographers that you look at. ciao! 

Post # 5
8695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

@lazy:  Honestly, aside from finding a venue and dress, the process of finding a photographer was the most annoying.

Here’s what I did:

spent hours (unfortunately) looking online at reviews, blogs, websites, forums, etc

sent emails to everyone I was interested in that either was in my price range or didnt have a price on their website

when I got emails back of their availability/pricing I contacted those I felt were the best options for me

I chose who I felt I “clicked” with and who I would want there ALL day with me…keep that in mind…photographers will be with you ALL day and work the closest with you. DJs/Bands don’t neither do videographers or florists. A photographer is important.

Post # 6
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

IMO bridal shows are invaluable for this.

You can actually meet the photog. I chose mine based on who I felt we “clicked” best with.Anyone can put a few good pics on a website, but if they are at a bridal show, chances are they’re legit first of all, secondly they will have a LOT more of their work, and you can also meet them in person.

And sometimes they will even give you a bridal show discount–mine was 20%!

Post # 8
1880 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I looked at a ton and most of them were stereotypical pinterest type pictures and I bookmarked a few favorites that had good pictures and reasonable prices. I was planning to ask to see an entire collection or two from weddings so that I can judge how their pictures OVERALL are, not just the twenty they pop on their blog. But then I was at a friend’s house (well, my fiance’s best friend’s house) and I looked at their wedding photos on the wall and the bridal portrait and was just blown away by how stunning they were, and so they pulled out their whole albums and boxes of pictures and showed me and honest to god every single one was amazing. Except the ones with my fiance (who was the best man) in them because he had a goatee at that time and it was NOT a good look for him. My fiance said he had liked the photographer personally so we called him up the next day and booked him. He’s not even in our city but we are HAPPY to pay the travel fee to have such spectacular photos (hopefully!).

Post # 9
9668 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2019

I agree with PPs about word of mouth, recommendations from friends and family. Fiance and I will be getting my aunt and uncle to do photography, neither are professional photographers, but they like taking lots of photos on their many travels, they did the photos for my parents’ wedding and Fiance and my engagement photos 🙂

Post # 10
394 posts
Helper bee

@lazy:  If you don’t mind me asking, where is your wedding? I might be able to refer you to someone, or perhaps someone else on the Bee can 🙂

Post # 11
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Pretty much the same way the other posters did and it was probably my least favorite booking process. My first choice that had been recommended by a friend had been booked and several others recommended by the wedding planner. I basically just trolled reviews and blogs, made a list of the ones I liked, emailed for availability and price, then sorted through to the one I liked the most and that I felt I clicked with. I also did this at a distance too so I know it is hard when you can’t meet in person. 

Post # 12
3141 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We went to local wedding shows as package prices are usually displayed there you also get to see thier work and chat with then a bit to see who you like. Find out who is reputable in your area by word of mouth too

Post # 13
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I put an ad on craigslist, and let them come to me. I explained the date I was getting married, how much I could spend, that I wanted to see a portfolio, and I received like 15 responses in one day. I chose the one that delivered what I wanted, and I ended up loving it. I googled him, saw his work online, and it was great. His reviews were good too, so I booked him right away. Not everyone in craigslist is a newbie, there are some professionals that advertise there because it’s free, and it reaches a lot of people.

I hope that helps!

Post # 14
3230 posts
Sugar bee

@lazy:  I sent tons of e-mails. Many were very quick to get back to me, others didn’t at all. I basically said:

Hello! I am getting married on April 27, 2013, at (location) at (time). I am currently looking for a wedding photographer. If you have that date available and are interested, please send me more information.

I also sent them some information about the wedding.

I didn’t respond immediately (until I found the photographer) to the ones over my budget or even bother to look at their work (why be tempted?). After I found my photographer, I sent them all e-mails that said, “Thank you for getting me that information. We have found a photographer.”

As for choosing the photographer, we went through their work online (we are three hours away), and decided that she wasn’t “bad” since we don’t know what exceptional photography is anyway. We kind of went with “good enough.” I also spoke to her on the phone first to get a feel of her. If I didn’t get a good feeling, I wouldn’t have picked her.

Post # 15
9675 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I sent emails to any that I liked and they didn’t list their price online. 

I sent quite a few emails.  It’s really easy just to send a quick “I’m getting married on X date, at X location, are you available and can you send me info on your pricing/packages”  That’s all you really need to say. Then I threw out any that weren’t in my price range or didn’t have the package options I wanted.  I think I had it narrowed down to a handful, then I met with 2 people.  Honestly I loved both, but I went with the one that was a little cheaper and had more experience. 

Trying to decide which ones I liked, I just went through all (or a lot) of their photo galleries to see if I liked their style.

It took me about as much time to find a photographer as it did a venue.  So I did those two searches at the same time (very early on).  Since I did it so early, about 13 months out, I don’t think I came across any that had been booked.  I also read a lot of reviews.  Good luck!

Post # 16
739 posts
Busy bee

Make a list of all the photogs you love in a spread sheet. Google Docs is good for this so you can access it from different computers.

Then create a generic email on the lines of this:

Hi, I’m interested in learning more about your photography services. My wedding day is: xx/xx/xxxx at VENUE NAME can you please send me your availability and pricing?

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,


As the emails come in fill in your spreadsheet. Once you have ruled out anyone out of budget or not available start comparing the artistic quality of each photog.

Pick the top 5-10 and compare what you are getting for your budget. ALWAYS choose quality of photos over stuff. You are not going to want the stuff if you don’t love the photos.

Do the homework of researching reviews, bbb, google their name to see what pops up, etc. Someone on another post had a great idea of picking one image from their portfolio and asking to see a whole wedding from it. Most photogs do online proofing so if the wedding was fairly recent this shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you get it down to the top 3 or 4 then contact them again to set up a skype meeting. Book the one you feel you connect the most and you can visualize your wedding in their work.

DON’T book a photog with one style and expect them to change their work to suit you. Pick someone who you can totally see your wedding within their body of work. Their portfolio is a collection of their best work and you should be happy with the types of images they are representing. Spend some time on pinterest to get an idea of the types of wedding photos you like. Do you like more posed stuff or photojournalistic? Do you like sharp, crisp life-like images or soft vintage look.

Look for weddings LIKE YOURS in their portfolio. If you are getting married in NOV in a dark church and night reception then look for someone who is good at lighting. If they only show outdoor, natural light weddings then they probably not going to be a good match.

There are lots of pros on this board who love to help so feel free to post questions or PM me if you want me to help you to compare.

There is also a good thread here: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/advice-for-photographer-shopping

Good Luck!

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