Sean Thurston Photography




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© Sean Thurston Photography

A woman in a red dress smiling for the camera during a headshot session in Staunton.
29 August 2023

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Choosing a photographer for your wedding can be an overwhelming process. From so many amazing photographers, it can be difficult to know where to start. And once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential photographers, finding the right vendor for your wedding can become even more challenging. Not only do you want to find a photographer who will capture all the magical moments of your special day, but you also want someone who will work with you as well as provide excellent service at a reasonable price. Sounds like a lot of conflicting factors, right? Luckily, with a little research and some patience, choosing the perfect wedding photographer shouldn’t be too daunting an experience for any bride-to-be!


Know how you’ll use a wedding photographer

Before you start your search for a wedding photographer, you’ll want to think about how you’re going to use their services. For example: Do you want a full-service wedding photographer who will take care of everything from the engagement shoot all the way through to the reception? Do you only need someone to take your engagement photos and then leave you alone after that point? Are you on a “I’ll do it myself because I think weddings are expensive, and I don’t want anyone else taking up my time!” mission?


Make sure the photographer is insured

Finding a photographer that is licensed and insured is the first step to finding a good vendor. You need to make sure that you are hiring someone who is qualified and serious about his or her work. Search on Google to find the best photographers in your area, then check their license and insurance. Familiarize yourself with the types of services provided by each photographer After you’ve narrowed down your list of potential photographers, it’s time to learn more about what they do! What types of events do they specialize in? What kind of equipment do they use? What styles will they use to capture your day? How much editing will they provide after-the-fact? These are all questions that you should ask when figuring out which photographer is perfect for you. Choose a wedding photographer based on personality, not just quality. It may seem like a no-brainer, but hiring based on quality alone can be detrimental. It’s important to choose a photographer who has dimensions beyond just capturing beautiful images. You want someone who will be able to get along with you on your special day as well as work well with your family and friends. Personality is something that cannot be measured by quality alone. So consider choosing a photographer who enjoys what he or she does and incorporates it into their personality as well as their portfolio!


Ask for references or trust real reviews

The best way to find the right wedding photographer is by asking for references. Many photographers offer free consultations, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their work and how they would capture your day. The more details you can get from a photographer, the easier it will be to make an informed decision about which vendor to choose!


Don’t forget to ask about services and pricing before meeting with a photographer

The most important step in choosing a wedding photographer is to ask about their services and pricing. This will give you an idea of what you can expect from your photographer, which will help you decide whether they are the right fit for your wedding day. It’s important to find a photographer who offers packages that provide more than just photography. Some photographers offer videography, album design, and even catering with their package, while others charge extra for certain services. Your choice of photographer should not just be based on how much they cost, but also what additional services they provide.


Interview your favorite photographers

First, try out some of your favorite photographers. And, who better to help you make the decision than your wedding photographer herself? Interview them over email, and get a feel for how easy it will be to work with them. Find out how much time they’re willing to put into your shoot, if they’re available on short notice, what their turnaround time is for you planning a wedding and much more. Once you have narrowed down your list of potential photographers, interview them again. Ask about the price packages they have and what specific services they offer. See if their pricing is within your budget and if there are any additional costs involved in the process that could add up quickly. If you do decide to hire one of these photographers, which is highly recommended, find someone who is passionate about what they do and has a range of styles and services that fit with your needs.


Ask questions during the interview process

The first step in finding the perfect wedding photographer is interviewing a few vendors. This is important because you want to find someone who will be able to fulfill your vision while working within your budget. During your interview process, asking questions about how many hours the photography will take and how much it will cost are crucial. Not only do these questions give you insight into what type of service you’ll be getting, but they also serve as a negotiation tool during the contract process. Another way to narrow down your list of potential vendors is by asking them which other services they offer. Wedding photographers often offer additional services like videography or photo booth rentals, so this can give you an idea of what to expect from the vendor before committing to hiring them for your wedding.


Final tips
Before choosing a wedding photographer

1. Know your budget

2. Match personalities and expectations

3. Determine how much time you want to spend meeting vendors

4. Be clear on the type of photography you want for your wedding

5. Find out how many photographers are in the vendor’s portfolio

6. Ask for references from other couples who have used their services.

A note from Sean: Don't trust one of the most important days in your life to "Uncle Bob" because he has a "nice camera". Hire a pro.