Weddings are awesome, but also wildly personal. No matter how you develop the day to celebrate with your favorite people, you want to have it documented in a way that matches your vision for the day. With so many photographers to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right one. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll share 10 tips for choosing the perfect Seattle wedding photographer.
I should be your wedding photographer
Before I dive into some stuff to think about, I’m just going to make my pitch. Right now, the term “storyteller” is thrown around everywhere. That’s great, but I believe wholeheartedly, I’m not the one to tell your story. I’m a moment collector. I’m here to learn who you are, know what matters what, and then make photos that you can use to tell your own story forever. We’ll make photos that feel true to your personality, and day and actively make the day more fun. I never enter a wedding day with an ego because it is yours.
OK, on to the things to consider when picking your photographer.
Start Your Search Early
The best wedding photographers in Seattle (and really everywhere) book up quickly, especially during peak wedding season. So, it’s essential to start your search early. Ideally, you should start looking for a photographer at least a year before your wedding day. This will give you enough time to research, shortlist, and book your favorite photographer.
So you know, the prime wedding season in the PNW is in the summer and late fall. In our local jokes, summer starts July 5. So from then until the end of September is the prime season. If you want to get married in that timeframe, you’ll want to plan further ahead.
Determine Your Budget
Before you start your search, it’s important to determine your budget. Wedding photography can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to get a good photographer. An established professional in the PNW will probably have a base price between $3500-8000. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on photography and look for photographers that fit within your budget.
Check Out the Photographer’s Portfolio
A photographer’s portfolio is an excellent way to gauge their style, creativity, and expertise. Look for a portfolio that matches your vision and style. Take the time to look at their past work and ask yourself if their photos are the kind you’d want to have in your wedding album.
In that portfolio, look beyond the epic photos as well. Those are the ones that draw you to someone at the start, but in 10 years, they aren’t always the images you cherish. Make sure that your photographer captures all the moments of a wedding in a way that matches your vision.
Look for Consistency
Consistency is crucial when it comes to wedding photography. Look for photographers who consistently produce high-quality work. Check if their photos are clear, sharp, and well-exposed, and if their editing style is consistent throughout their portfolio. Don’t hesitate to ask to see a full gallery. When I’m getting to know new clients, I try to send a couple of full galleries of similar style/location/season so that folks can have a full view of what the day could look like.
Check for Personality Fit
Your photographer will be with you throughout your wedding day, so it’s essential to find someone you feel comfortable around. I joke that you spend as much time with your photographer as your maid of honor. Look for a photographer whose personality matches yours. Someone who is easy to communicate with, friendly, and puts you at ease.
Find Out Their Style and Approach
Wedding photography styles can vary widely, from traditional to photojournalistic, to artistic. Some photographers specialize in candid shots, while others focus on posed portraits. It’s essential to find a photographer whose style and approach align with your vision and preferences.
Consider Their Experience
Wedding photography is a specialized field that requires experience and expertise. Look for a photographer who has experience shooting weddings, preferably in Seattle or a similar environment. An experienced photographer will know how to handle different lighting situations, unexpected events, and tricky scenarios.
Just in case you were wondering, I did my first wedding in 2011 and I’ve been a part of well over 200 of them.
Let’s talk about equipment.
Every blog post like this tells people to ask what camera the photographer uses. But, I can also tell when folks ask about my cameras and they know nothing about them. I could just make up brands and some letters and they’d never know. It’s totally OK if you’re not into photography yourself. You don’t need to know anything, but it’s also not exactly the most helpful question to just ask what they use.
Obviously, you should just quickly make sure that any photographer uses professional quality equipment and has backups. But just asking a simple question like that usually helps.
I’d rather have people ask me “What is your favorite camera and how does that help your wedding photography?”
Get References and Read Reviews
It’s always a good idea to ask for references from past clients and read online reviews. This will give you a good idea of the photographer’s reputation, professionalism, and quality of work. You can also ask for references from other wedding vendors, such as wedding planners, venues, or caterers.
Have a Face-to-Face to face (or zoom-to-zoom)
As mentioned before, getting to know the person behind the lens is really important. I usually have Zoom or FaceTime calls with clients to get to know them, answer questions and to just be myself. I want you to leave the call knowing more about me as a person and me the same for you. That is the basis for a good photographic relationship.