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How do you go about finding the best wedding photographer for your taste, budget, location, and style? Links | Tips | Advice
When it comes to finding not just any wedding photographer, but the best wedding photographer for you, it’s hard to know where to begin. Google? A friend? A random website with wedding photography listings?
Here’s What to Consider When Finding Your Wedding Photographer
To start off, here are the criteria that will best help you choose your wedding or elopement photographer:
- What style of photography you’re looking for (photojournalism, creative, editorial, fine art, etc.)
- What editing style of wedding photography you want (natural/true-to-color like me, or light and airy, or dark and moody)
- Experience. You pay for experience, which means no matter the weather, change of plans, or lighting, your photographer will have years of experience under her/his belt to make sure your photos are awesome. Personally, I’ve photographed couples in dozens of states and quite a few countries on 6 continents (all except Antarctica!), so I feel confident photographing celebrations anywhere. Make sure the person you hire has the experience for any situation.
- What your wedding photography budget is. I know I’m biased as a wedding photographer, but whomever you choose, don’t skimp out on it. Much worse than bad food or a lame DJ is having awful wedding photos. Instead, invest in a great wedding photographer you feel comfortable with, and you’ll have priceless moments captured that you’ll treasure, print, and frame for the rest of your lives. Most insured, professional, experienced wedding photographers in the USA charge between $2,500 and $6,000, though there are plenty on either end of that spectrum.
- Personality + what you want to feel like with your wedding photographer: Do you want someone who will take charge and tell you what to do? Be a fly on the wall and stay in the background? Be calm and help calm you down? Make sure you gel with your photographer
- Where your photographer is located: There are wedding photographers all over the world, so make sure you plan accordingly if yours is local, or you’ll need to pay for their travel, room + board, and time if hiring someone to be your destination wedding photographer
Websites that list the best wedding photographers in…[Location/Style/Genre/Budget]
Wedding websites often have free or paid vendor listings depending on what you’re looking for. They not only provide information, but also articles for inspiration, real wedding and elopements, and vendor listings. Wedding photographers are one of the biggest parts of any vendor listing, and I’m listed on several wedding websites I love. Of course, being listed as a wedding photographer in every wedding directory is not plausible, as some of these wedding directory listings come with a hefty price tag. $500/year for 5 of those, and you’ve already spent a pretty penny with no guarantees!
That said, there are some amazing wedding photographer directories out there, and I’ve listed a few of the best below.
As a creative wedding photographer with a candid, nontraditional, and colorful style, I’m listed on:
Of course, there are plenty of websites and free directories, such as Google Maps/Google My Business that will help you just search a map in an area, which is very helpful for crossed regions. Think about having your wedding in the Berkshires, Western Massachusetts. You could search Berkshires wedding photographer all day, but on a map you’ll see you could likely find more success searching in the region, which includes NW Connecticut, and the Hudson Valley and Albany regions of New York.
Wedding photographer directories.
How do you find the best wedding photography directories/websites? I’ve compiled several links depending on your style, taste, and budget. My favorite wedding photography websites are listed below in their own list, because finding the perfect wedding photographer is important!
Keep in mind that these are all USA wedding photographers, and that many more exist. Looking for a destination wedding photographer? Do your research well (resort photographers are hit or miss), or bring one from home that you really love and feel comfortable with.
The best wedding websites to find your wedding photographer or wedding vendor (most offer all, not just photography):
|Offbeat Bride: Great for nontraditional weddings and celebrations for all types of couples…or throuples
|Wandering Weddings: Perfect for adventurous elopements, helicopter weddings, and travel couples
|Fearless Photographers: Amazing for finding the world’s most creative, best photographers by location
|Love Inc: Inclusive wedding website and print magazine with vetted vendor listings
|Equally Wed: One of the largest LGBTQ-based wedding vendor websites out there
|A Practical Wedding: Fun, bold weddings with a wedding directory to match
|Junebug Weddings: Posh, upscale wedding vendors that are Victoria Beckham approved (J/K)
|Here Comes the Guide: Vetted, easy-to-use wedding photography directory based by location
|Wedding Photojournalist Association: Vetted candid photographers listed by specific locations
|Zola: A bit less popular than the big 2, but easier for searching for semi-vetted wedding vendors
|Wedding Wire: You already know this one
|The Knot: You already know this one too
Then, there are hundreds and thousands of location-specific photo listings, luxury photo listings, directories for black brides, festival-specific celebrations, beach brides, gay grooms, destination elopement directories, and so much more. This is a short list of larger directories that I trust, and with many choices.
Other Ways to Find Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
Of course, if you’re doing something completely different from everyone else, a wedding website may seem too impersonal. Here are more suggestions for how to find the best wedding photographers for your cup of tea.
- Google – your starting point for finding wedding photographers specific to places, keywords, venues, styles, and more (thought it’s basically everyone on the planet, so it can be overwhelming). Try looking up your venue and seeing who has photographed there, or using unique words to find vendors. One quirky couple just found me by googling, “Wedding photography for weirdos.” There are no rules!
- Referrals from your other wedding vendors can be perfect if they have a network of folks who understand what you’re looking for
- Instagram allows you to search hashtags (go local instead of broad. #weddingphotographer will have millions of choices, whereas #adirondacksweddingphotographer will be more specific), locations, links, and much more–though more followers doesn’t mean they’re better. Use a discerning eye!
- Facebook has endless groups for each region, interest, and hobby. You can post for recommendations, direct calls for wedding photographers available on your date, ideas, and so much more
- Getting your venue to share referrals (but remember that these people may photograph at your venue SO much, they do the same thing again and again. Don’t just use a vendor because your venue recommends them
- Asking your friends who they used. Make sure you liked the final images, of course!
- Random strokes of fate. It sounds unlikely, but people have found amazing wedding photographers in coffee shops, on the train, but stopping by someone in the middle of a photoshoot, by stumbling upon a post on their favorite recipe, etc.
- A relative or friend. Hmmm this one can be tricky. Though a likely discount is tempting, lots of assumptions can be made, and strings pulled, and people don’t end up getting the images they want or expect when Uncle Bob goes off to party. Like a therapist, it might be better to leave this to the professionals.
- Pinterest is great for image searching, though I find that the same images come up again and again. If you want something super unique, Google Images or specific research might be more handy, while Pinterest is great for trendy research
- Google Images can be great for researching anything under the sun, whether it’s “wheelchair wedding on the beach” or “striped bowtie for wedding dog.”
- Wedding shows offer good discounts, raffles, and freebies. Plus, you get to meet the person who would be photographing you right there in person. Keep in mind, however, that many photographers opt not to do wedding shows since the price is high and it’s hard to know if your target client will be there (Example: Since I’m a more nontraditional wedding photographer here at Kathryn Cooper Weddings, my clients tend to be quirky, travel-loving adventure couples who get married in helicopters, host full-wedding weekends at summer camps in the Catskills, or elope in Yosemite. They’re not necessarily the types of couples who will attend a traditional wedding fair, from my experience. But for many of my colleagues, these fairs are great!)
Looking for the best wedding photographers? Research!
So there you go! I hope these ideas for ways to find the best wedding photographer, along with this elopement+wedding photographer directory, can help can lead you to finding the most amazing match for your celebration, personality, needs, wants, budget, style, and more. Looking for a bold, creative, candid, and darn fun destination wedding photographer? Inquire with me here soon, since many popular 2023 dates are already taken.
So how to find the best wedding photographer? It’s all about researching, making sure your values connect, speaking to them to get a sense of their personality, and having confidence that they’ll deliver the best memories of your wedding day. Look online, post in groups, speak to people, search randomly, and hopefully you’ll fall in love. With a photographer, because you’ll have already found the one you’re going to marry.
After all, when you know, you know~
Kathryn Cooper Weddings: How to Find a Wedding Photographer | LGBTQ Wedding Photographer | Find the Best Wedding Photographers