How to Hire the Best Wedding Photographer (for You)

Here is an honest thought from your seasoned wedding photographer – it is honestly mind-boggling how many of us exist in the market!!!! There are so many photographers to choose from, and when you are trying to pick from 1,000 options on Google, how do you know who's the right one for you? Do you pick the closest? The cheapest? The one with the most reviews? Here are just a few tips I provide my clients during consultations, so read on!

The questions you should start with:

Do I love their work?

Do they have great reviews?

Are they willing to show me an entire wedding gallery as an example?

Are they willing to let me talk to a previous client?

If the answers are "YES" then you're off to a great start!


When pricing a photographer's work, you are paying for expertise in the industry. Your photographer should be able to navigate wedding day snafus with ease.

Ask them "What would you do if {insert scenario here}?" See how they respond. Have they encountered something unexpected and how did they handle it? Think of it no different than a job interview "Tell me about a time when...."

Weddings are a beast of their own. A photographer can take photos of almost anything when given the opportunity (seniors, families, maternity), but weddings aren't just a matter of showing up with a camera. We become part of your entire wedding team from the DJ to the florist to your hair and makeup entourage. We have to work together on a timeline that results in you hitting that ceremony aisle at a specific time. Think of your wedding day as a machine with tons of moving parts. I have mentored aspiring photographers who thought they wanted to do weddings.... until they spent the day with me. They went into the day with high hopes that it was sunshine and rainbows and making a lot of money for 8 hours of work. We go non-stop from arrival to departure, on high alert for someone running late, forgetting rings or ties, diffusing family drama, fluffing veils, drying tears, bustling gowns, making people laugh, and being in the right spot for that beautiful first kiss. It's not only physically demanding, it's demanding emotionally, and I go home WIPED every single wedding day, AND I LOVE IT, but it's not for everyone.

Are they organized? Their responsiveness to email/phone calls will give you a great indication of how well they communicate during your wedding journey from the first phone call until the gallery or wedding album is in your hands. Do they know every moment of a wedding day and are they prepared for the inevitable "Oh no, how do we handle this?" I've photographed enough weddings that almost no so-called "fire" phases me. I've probably seen it, done it, been through it, or photographed it before! If you become a client, remind me to tell you about time the fire department was called to the venue 10 minutes before the ceremony was to start and it was my job to keep the bride occupied so she didn't even know what was going on outside of her little bubble, and yes, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.


I tell each of my clients during consultations, regardless of who you select as your wedding photographer, SCHEDULE AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION WITH THEM. You are with this person 8+ hours on your wedding day, you need to make sure you like them in person and work well with them because if you are uncomfortable, it will show in your wedding photos. I have even flipped the tables and canceled on a client after meeting them in person. They were hiring me for my expertise and my work, and proceeded to tell me they didn't want to stand where I asked, or turn the way I needed them to for the best light. The bride argued with me over every pose, and by the end, all I could think of was, "If it's this hard for 90 minutes, what's it going to be like working with them for 8 hours?!" I politely refunded their money and wished them well – it simply was not a good fit.


I mentioned this above, but it's worth a paragraph all by itself. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT hire a photographer because your best friend from college used them, then ask him/her to completely change the way they shoot or edit because you like dark and moody and their work is light and airy. You are hiring someone because you trust them completely and love the work they have on their website or social platforms. It would be like hiring a photographer but expecting them to deliver an oil painting – a totally different medium!


My honest answer is "NO." Any photographer who has extensive knowledge of photographing weddings can photograph in ANY location. WITH THAT SAID, there ARE caveats.

Is your venue really dark (churches, barns, indoors at night), and their entire portfolio is light and airy? Ask them to share locations that are similar to your venue. If your wedding is at night, and all of their portfolio work is in the bright sun, middle of the day – ask to see some examples of nighttime work (primarily using flash). Some photographers simply avoid flash altogether, and it can result in grainy, underexposed images, so ask the questions.

Just because they have photographed your venue, doesn't mean they are ready to photograph it again under different lighting (and weather!) conditions. They might have photographed a beautiful outdoor wedding at your location, but "What would you do if it rained, and we had to move it inside?" The look and feel of all of your photos will vastly differ from those that the same photographer took on a sunny day outside.

Some couples flat out refuse to hire a photographer if they have never photographed their venue. To that, I say, "No I haven't been there, but I also bring a fresh perspective to the location." I may not photograph the dress in the bridal suite like the venue shows on their Instagram page, but I may find a cute door in the hallway that has better light. With that said, I am always happy to look at your vision board and if you show me a specific photo from your venue you want in your shot list, I can do my best to make it happen. I can replicate someone else's photo. I try not to do it because it's stealing someone else's idea, but if it means that much to you, then I'll do it.


If you've booked your venue, caterer, DJ, florist, or anyone else for your big day, ask them if they know someone, or if they have heard of someone you are considering. Believe it or not, we LOVE giving referrals because if we've done a wedding with your florist and she had all the bouquets and boutonnieres at the location early for us to photograph, WE'RE GOING TO REFER THEM. If the DJ makes our lives easier by giving us a heads up on speeches coming up, WE'RE GOING TO REFER THEM. We want to work with vendors we've worked with before because it makes our day even easier, and they do the same. If the photographer at another wedding was demanding, rude, and not helpful, you can bet the other vendors will be GLAD to share that they didn't like that person. We're all there to make YOUR day easy, and working with a difficult vendor is like pouring salt in a wound – it rubs us all the wrong way.


Did you get a vibe during your consultation that they have an "it's my way or the highway" demeanor? Did you get a bad feeling you just can't put your finger on? Did they really *listen* to what you wanted on your wedding day or did they get offended when you showed examples of poses you thought would be fun? If there are any red flags, GO WITH YOUR GUT. You will always have a nagging feeling leading up to your wedding day, and it will show in your photos, not to mention, you will spend your day anticipating something to happen, which will turn into you not really enjoying your wedding day to the fullest.