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How to choose a wedding photographer + book giveaway!

February 22, 2013
how to choose a wedding photographer

It’s always such a please to announce when something so great as releasing a first book, has happened to a dear friend. Alison Hotchkiss, Creative Director behind the design-savvy gang that makes up Alison Events just released a new book, All the Essentials Wedding Planner: The Ultimate Tool for Organizing Your Big Day. Since it’s packed with a ton of helpful info (that you totally need to get your hands on), we thought it’d be fun for Alison to share some helpful tips on how to choose a wedding photographer – something all you newly engaged folks can definitely benefit from. Alison planned Jillian’s wedding five years ago and did an amazing job, so trust us, she’s an expert at every to-do list there is when it comes to wedding planning!

All the Essentials Wedding Planner by Alison Hotchkiss

From Alison:

Picking a photographer can be a tricky task. Unlike most things on your list of to-do’s, selecting a photographer requires much faith. It’s not like selecting a menu or a cake designer where you can rely on your senses to carry you through. Picking the right person requires a lot of research because let’s face it, you won’t know what you’re going to get until you see the final product.

First start by asking yourself a couple questions. What do you want out of the day? Do you want someone who will shoot more in a documentary style, capturing moments as they happen? Is it going to be more important to you that photographer gets a shot of your family in a portrait setting or that he/she snaps that magical moment when the two of you first lock eyes in a particular light?  Depending on how you answer these questions, you’ll probably come up with a style of photography you want for your special day.

Next, budget. Now that you have a style in mind, you can do your research and see who fits the bill. Compare packages and see what’s included. Does the photographer come with a second shooter? How many hours does it include and what are the fees for any extras? We always suggest doing an engagement shoot especially if one or both of you isn’t particularly comfortable in front of the camera. This is always a great opportunity to test-drive your purchase and make sure you vibe with your photographer. Also consider how long it takes for you to get your prints or digital copies back; if this is a hassle for the engagement shoot, they might not be the right choice. You always want to know the post production details. Can you get prints or albums made on your own or will you need to buy the rights? Pay very close attention to the contract terms relating to post productions and retaining of rights.

how-to choose a wedding photographer

Lastly, make sure you pick someone you want to spend the day with! They will be recording your every move on one of the most important days of your life. Ask your planner for recommendations and/or feedback on photographers they’ve used in the past. Personally I find myself attracted to naturally free flowing, documentary style photography. You want to capture the day as uninterrupted as possible.Elizabeth MessinaJose VillaThayer Allyson GowdyMel Barlow all do such a beautiful job of capturing those beautiful moments as they happen. They are also predominantly shoot in film which makes for that dreamy finish but is best for outdoor venues with lots of natural light.

how-to choose a wedding photographer

Digital has a great deal of versatility and allows for a wider range of shots, they also tend to be friendlier on the budget stand point. If your wedding is taking place primarily indoors, you’ll probably want someone who shoots mostly digital. Cooper CarrasLovebird photographyJesse Leake, and Leo Patrone are some of the best that we work with that can really connect with couples and pull off amazing shots.

xo, Alison

*Now for the book giveaway! To enter, sign up with the form below. Entries must be posted by Monday, February 25th at 6 p.m. PST, and one winner will be chosen at random.*

Best of luck, and a huge thank you to Alison for sharing these tips. We love her to pieces, and to add to the congratulatory news, she also got engaged over Valentine’s Day!