I've been a wedding photographer since 2012, so I'm a little biased when I say that photography is one of THE most important wedding investments you can make. The photos are, after all, the only tangible reminders you'll have of all those once-in-a-lifetime moments. That is, unless you hire a videographer as well. But that's another blog post!
It's so, so important to hire an experienced, professional photographer whose style you LOVE for your wedding day. You will spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than pretty much anyone else. He or she will be with you as you get ready, with you before and after you say I do, and with you on the dance floor! You want to be sure to choose a photographer you like AND trust to capture your day in the best light . . . literally.
So, what are some best practices for finding just the right photographer? I have some tips for you!
Use Who You Know
Using references from people you and trust already is a great start! Maybe a co-worker of yours just showed you her gorgeous wedding photos, or maybe you were the bridesmaid in a wedding and LOVED the photographer. It never hurts to ask those close to you for suggestions, especially if they have recently planned a wedding themselves.
But where do you go from there? Make a list of same names you may already have in mind and start checking out those websites, blogs, and Instagram feeds!!
If you're set on someone whose style you love already, go ahead and reach out sooner rather than later. Dates can book up fast, so be sure to act fast to get the photographer you want!
If you're not even sure where to start looking for a photographer, start by asking your venue or wedding planner! Generally, couples choose their venue first, then a wedding planner, then the photographer. Your venue is a PERFECT resource for photographer referrals because they know who is familiar with the space and who has delivered great images!
Here at the Mill, for instance, we've worked with some great photographers that we recommend to our couples. But there is no fee for using someone NOT on our list, so feel free to bring whoever you love!
Instagram is a magical treasure trove of information and images. As a photographer, I use my Instagram account as a portfolio of my favorite images. Plus, photographers share a lot of their personalities and style through Instagram and Instagram stories. Following some 'togs you love is a great way to get to know them more before you reach out!
Another tip: don't underestimate the power of hashtags! Searching #MadisonattheMill, for instance, will show you all kinds of photos of our space with the photographer tagged! That way, you'll have some ideas of professionals who have worked here and know the space.
For weddings at the Mill, I believe the most important question to ask your photographer is this: Do you feel comfortable with off-camera lighting? Now, you as a bride or groom may have no idea what that means, but a professional photographer will. I believe it's important to let your potential photographer know that the Mill is a VAST space, and while we have a ton of natural light during the day, we also have dark, high ceilings that can make reception lighting a challenge. This is, however, not a problem if your photographer is well-versed in off-camera lighting! You 100% want someone who isn't intimidated by tougher lighting situations, so be clear about what you need!
**If your photographer wants to come check out the Mill before you're wedding day so that they are 100% prepared, have them reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!
I believe that when you've found the right photographer, you'll feel it! Do your research and trust your instincts!!