How to pick your dream wedding photographer

Last week I shared five things to do after you get engaged, and now that you’ve gotten your budget figured out, found a venue and enjoyed some time being engaged… it’s time to find your photographer!

You’re going to spend days, weeks, months and even over a year planning your dream wedding. You’ve debated with your mother the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses, looked for the perfect flowers for your bouquet and cried with your best girlfriends when you found your dream dress. But when it’s all over, the food and cake eaten, the flowers dried out and the dress carefully put away, what’s left? Your husband and your photos.

The photos from your wedding day are the ones that will decorate the walls in your first home together, the heirloom album showcasing the best day ever will be handed down generations for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. You’ll see the gorgeous detail photos of everything you so carefully picked out and all the beautiful portraits of you with your brand new husband, both your families together and all the fun shots of the celebrations!

You want to find a photographer to capture all that and more but where do you even start? What do you look for? Here’s some questions to keep in mind when you’re looking for your wedding photographer!

1. What is their STYLE?

Like different styles of clothing, genres of music and movies, there’s different styles in photography! You need to find what style you find yourself drawn to and then narrow down the list of photographers to the style that you love! There’s styles from dark & moody to vibrant & colorful, light & airy! Each photographer has their own way of editing and lighting that they love and when you find what style speaks to you, it helps finding your dream photographer much easier!!

2. What’s included in your package?

Every photographer runs their business a little differently. Some have one packages with add ons, others have multiple packages. Some include engagements, some don’t. Hourly coverage varies from photographer to photographer. Be clear on what you’re looking for and wanting and see if your photographer has that included in the package or if it can be added on!

3. Do they include a second photographer for the wedding day?

On a wedding day, I know I can handle whatever’s thrown at me. I can take care of a ceremony on my own. But that doesn’t mean it’s what I prefer. I LOVE having a second photographer with me because you’re able to get so many more images with one than you would without! You get almost 30% MORE images with a second shooter! I always include a second photographer with my wedding packages because of all the perks of having one! There is almost no con to having a second. I love that we can work as a team to capture so many different angles for you. This is especially great for a First Look and for ceremonies! During the ceremony, when you walk down the aisle, one photographer will be capturing the sweet look on your face as you walk down to meet your soon-to-be husband. And the other photographer will be capturing your groom’s face as he takes in how gorgeous his future wife looks as she’s getting closer to him. For this reason alone, they are totally worth it. I love having them too because while I’m with the bride and the girls getting ready, my second is capturing the guys getting ready! We work as a team and get more done together than I would alone. They’re a huge help to me during family formals so they get the next people in the groups ready and it keeps things running smoothly AND quickly- which is exactly what we want during family portraits! So more portraits, more efficiency and more points of view? A second photographer is always a wonderful thing to have!

4. are they licensed and insured?

This is really important to ask. When your photographer is licensed and insured, they are a legitimate business. They have contracts to protect you and them, insurance to protect you and them as well. Some venues require that your vendors be licensed and insured to be permitted to work at their venue. It also shows that the photographer takes their business seriously and will treat your wedding day with the most respect and the proper quality it deserves!

5. Do you like them as a person? 

This, to me, is the deciding factor. On your wedding day, you photographer will be with you just as long, if not longer than your fiancé will be! She (or he!) is there from getting ready until the grand exit. Your photographer is there to help button buttons, grab tissues, fluff your dress, tell you how stunning you look and oh yeah, take all the gorgeous photos! You want to make sure this is someone you will enjoy being with all day! I’m a very cheerful and bubbly kind of person. So brides who book with me tend to be that way themselves! They enjoy laughing, making jokes on their wedding day, they are lighthearted and joyful! Some other brides prefer a very calm and formal photographer because that’s their personality too and that’s okay! It’s important to meet your potential photographer and see if you vibe with them, if you enjoy being in their company. If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, maybe that’s not the person you want with you all day on your wedding day. You will enjoy your day so much more when you get along with your photographer and ENJOY their company. And they will enjoys yours too. For me, there is no better feeling than when I feel like my bride is a long lost friend because we get along that well! So even if you have a list of photographers with similar styles, prices, packages, there could be one that you just click with and would love being around for you on your best day ever.

MJ Mendoza Photography | Richmond VA Wedding Photographer

Finding your wedding photographer is sometimes so overwhelming and confusing but if you get some of these questions answered and if when you meet your photographer you just love them right off the bat, you’ll enjoying working with them on your engagement session, on your wedding day! I’ve gained the most amazing friends that were brides first. You don’t have to hurry into booking the first photographer you look at, there are so many talented photographers and no matter what, you should find someone who’s style you love and who you love to be around!

Hey Bride to be! If you liked this, you may enjoy:

You’re Engaged! But Now What?!

First Look: Is It Worth It?

Why Engagement Sessions are SO Important!