Skip to main content

Hiring vendors for your wedding can be tricky business. There is a lot of misinformation out there about all kinds of wedding vendors which is why one of the biggest ways vendors are known to get work is through references from prior customers. While this is a great way to get good advice on a particular vendor you may not know anyone who has had a professional wedding photographer at their wedding, or you may simply just be confused about all the different options that are out there.

With my wealth of information on photography and wedding photography in particular, I decided to write up this helpful post on things to think about and look for when hiring a wedding photographer.

#10 Hire a photographer with good people skills.

It may seem obvious, it may not, but as talented as some photographers are many of them lack the people skills necessary for wedding photography. Wedding photography is 99% about photographing people, so people skills are important.

#9 Hire a photographer with solid work examples.

When you meet with a photographer don’t be afraid to ask them one simple question: “Do you have any other work examples?” Seeing how they react to this question can be a good indicator of how confident they are (or aren’t) about their work.

#8 Look for photographers who shoot their own weddings.

It may seem crazy to think but when you hire some photographer’s they don’t actually shoot your wedding. So that big fancy portfolio they have on their website or Knot profile is basically total bunk. Dozens of photographers have contributed to those portfolios, many of whom don’t even work for the company anymore and probably don’t even do photography anymore.

#7 More is not necessarily better.

You may be thinking that what you want is more, more, more, in every respect. The reality is that when shooting weddings photographers will take thousands of images, maybe as many as 10,000 in some rare cases. It’s just not possible to give every photo the attention it deserves. I don’t like to give my customers un-loved images!

#6 Be wary of photographers offering everything for an extremely low price.

You’re probably thinking, well, of course he would say that he’s a photographer! It’s true, I WOULD say that, but the fact is it’s also the truth. I’m not saying you can’t give someone a shot, but it’s good to be wary when the price seems too good to be true. Usually, the photographer is new to photography or they’re biting off more than they can chew. Photographers who do that are usually in over their heads and you are kind of taking advantage of the fact that they don’t know how much work full wedding coverage really entails. It’s either that or they’re planning on cutting corners somehow. Take your pick!

#5 Not all photographers are created equal.

Some people think “anyone” can do wedding photography, but wedding photography is hard. Understanding the gear, the lenses, the lighting, and how to work with people at a wedding are all learned skills. There are many ways to take pictures and some photographers take the easy route while others work hard to get creative results.

#4 It’s not just the photographer who makes photos great.

When you’re looking at amazing photos in amazing venues with amazing decorations just remember, the photographer didn’t choose the venue, or the decorations, or the colors, etc. Somebody else chose all that and paid for it. By the same token, when you pay all that money for the fancy venue and decorations you should probably hire a photographer who can give you some awesome photos of said venue.

#3 There are different styles of photography.

Some photographers like to do documentary style, others like to do everything posed, and some like to do a mix of both. If you hire a photographer who likes to do poses, then you’ll be spending a lot of time with portrait sessions, where as a photographer who has a more documentary/candid style may get everything they need in a few short minutes. You can always ask the photographer if they can do a certain style for your wedding.

An example of a candid photo I have taken during the bouquet toss at The Pearl Barn near Kansas City, MO.

#2 Lighting matters.

Does the photographer you’re hiring know how to use off camera lighting? It’s not always necessary but the most spectacular photos usually involve multiple lights. It’s partially down to your style, if you’re looking for “cinematic” then you’ll want a photographer who understands lighting very well.

An example of how I used 3 strobes during a first dance at Windows on Washington in St. Louis, MO.

#1 Do you get along with your photographer?

It goes without saying, but did you meet and talk with your photographer before hiring them? It’s not like you need to be best friends but hiring someone who seems to have a basic grasp of customer service and has good answers to your questions is going to be a top indicator of what they really know and how committed they are to the job.

Shawn Kenessey

Author Shawn Kenessey

More posts by Shawn Kenessey

Leave a Reply