If you’ve followed me or my work for some time, you know how much I stress the importance of hiring a wedding photographer that is not only talented, but makes the two of you feel comfortable. Photographers are one of the few vendors that spend nearly your entire wedding day with you, so aside from ensuring you’ll love their photography, you should also consider whether or not you love their personality. Feeling comfortable while being photographed during some of your most vulnerable moments on a wedding day can really enhance the candid nature and honest feel of your final wedding gallery. Keep reading for my 5 tips on finding and booking your Vermont wedding photographer!
1. Do Your Research
Whether it’s locally or across the U.S. or world, there are many talented artists to choose from. How do you begin to choose which one is right for you? Simple: research! Start browsing through a variety of wedding photographers – whether that’s via a Google search, social media (try local hashtags like “#[yourweddinglocation/state]weddingphotographer” for example], in wedding publications, wedding websites, or in your friends’ and family’s own wedding albums. Note which images you’re drawn to. Photographers express themselves creatively, and their images are truly their art. What they choose to photograph, how they choose to pose (or not pose!) their subjects, and how they edit those photographs all help to shape their individual style. Once you’ve found the type of photography you prefer, you can begin to see which photographers near you offer that style.
Pro Tip: Your wedding venue and getting ready space will significantly shape the style of your photos! For instance, if you’re drawn to photographers who shoot very light and airy portraits, but you’re getting ready in a dark basement or old barn, those images will never look as light as someone prepping for their day in a space with multiple windows and light colored walls.
For more info on styles of photography & venue tips, see my Ultimate Guide to Your Vermont Wedding, here, which elaborates on these topics.
2. Identify How Much You’re Willing to Invest
Your wedding day only happens once, but the amazing thing about photography is that it’s one of the only pieces of your big day that lasts forever! Because of this, you should think of your wedding photos not as a one-day expense but as an investment into something that you’ll cherish for years to come.
In Vermont, couples can expect to spend anywhere from $3000-$10,000 on their wedding photographer. On average, couples spend somewhere from $4500-$7500.
Why the range in prices you may ask? Simply put, just like each photographer’s style is different, so are their offerings. Some photographers include a second photographer in their wedding day coverage. Some include a set number of professional prints or a photo album with the conclusion of their services. Some shoot a portion of the day on film vs. digitally – which is an added equipment cost. The point is, every Vermont wedding photographer’s package and wedding day looks a bit different and their prices will reflect that! Experience level, equipment needs, client experience, and time spent editing all contribute to pricing, too – so after doing your research on which style you prefer, start looking for photographers that fit into your budget.
3. Read Reviews
There’s no better way to know how well a photographer serves their clients than by hearing it from the clients themselves! Reading detailed reviews of other people’s experiences with a vendor you’re interested in is a great way to round out your research.
Pro Tip: Aside from hearing from past clients, asking Pro tip: Ask your potential photographer to share a full gallery from past clients’ weddings. This may give you a more complete idea of your photographer’s work, and a great peek into what you can expect in a wedding gallery from them. potential photographer to share a full gallery from past clients’ weddings. This may give you a complete idea of your photographer’s work and a peek into what you can expect in a wedding gallery.
4. Reach Out
Once you’ve identified a few photographers that you envision yourself working with, fill out the contact form on their website! Avoid reaching out via secondary sites like social media, as these messages can sometimes be hard to view or get “lost” in a requests folder within their messages if you aren’t friends yet. The photographer will often reply to you within 24-48 hours letting you know if they are available for your date. If they are, often they’ll suggest you hop on a discovery call to get to know them, answer any questions you may have, talk about their work, and see if they would be a good match for you. On your discovery call, think about whether they are easy to talk to, and if you can see yourself sharing your wedding day with them. Like I’ve said before, vibing with your vendors easily makes for an even better wedding day experience.
5. Time to Book!
Once you’ve chosen your photographer, it’s time to secure them for your big day. At this time, it’s important to know what your photographer requires in order to officially secure your date on their calendar, and consider you booked as their client. Many wedding vendors require a retainer payment and signed contract.
Lastly, it’s time to celebrate! Another step in the planning process is complete, and even better, you’re on track for a beautiful wedding gallery that will reflect the best versions of you both on your wedding day.
Bonus: Questions to ask your potential wedding photographer prior to, or during, your discovery call:
- How would you describe your editing style?
- How much, or how little, will you interact with us during our engagement session and on our wedding day?
- What does the process of working with you look like?
- Do you have business insurance?
- What is your turnaround time on our engagement and wedding photos?
- Will you provide sneak peek images before the final gallery is delivered?
- Can we provide you with a list of family photos?
- Have you photographed full weddings before?
- Can we see a few full wedding galleries that you’ve recently delivered?
- Have you photographed at a venue similar to ours?
- What do you need for us to be considered booked as a client?
For more wedding-specific advice from a photographer’s perspective, click this link to read my Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Vermont Wedding.
For more real wedding inspiration, head back over to the blog here.