Katie Jaynes Photography Blog





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For Brides

February 12, 2020

5 Steps to Picking the PERFECT Wedding Photographer

If you’re in the middle of wedding planning, CONGRATS!! It’s such a fun time, but it can also be a little hectic. I totally remember all of those feelings when I was planning our wedding back in 2015!

Between working a full-time job and living far away from my momma while planning a wedding, I thought I was going to go insane. With all of the big decisions you have to make, I thought I could help you out!

Here are a few things you need to consider when you’re picking a wedding photographer.

1. Set a Budget

A bride and groom standing in front of the biltmore house

If you’ve been around us long enough, you know how much we like talk about finances. When we were first married, it was our goal to get out of student loan debt as quickly as possible (Thanks, Dave Ramsey!)

Sadly, so many couples start their new lives together buried in debt, and we never want to encourage that if you can help it. Before you pick a wedding photographer (or even start planning your wedding), set a budget on how much you are hoping to spend. Do you research to know what a reasonable price is for a photographer.

Now, we know you want your wedding day to be PERFECT and it still can be without throwing your budget under the bus.

One way you can stay within budget and still get exactly what you want is to find vendors who allow you to make payments. We’ve seen a lot of vendors which require a 50% down payment when you sign the contract. For a lot of people, that 50% can be HARD.

Instead, pick a vendor that allows you to make several payments (like us!). If your wedding isn’t for another 9 – 12 months, you may be able to break your wedding expenses into payments. Sure, it’s the same amount of money, but it allows you to budget and spread out those payments.

2. Pick a Style

A bride and groom under the veil nose to nose in Greenville, SC

As you probably know, there are A LOT of photographers out there. Ask for recommendations on Facebook and you’ll be absolutely overwhelmed with all the recommendations.

But here is the thing. Not all photographers are the same. That is an understatement!

Just like a music artist, every photographer has a “style”. Take the time to go look at a few photographers and see what your eye is drawn to. You’ll see just how different everyone shoots.

For us, we have a bright, airy, and vibrantly colored style. We shoot in a more “true-to-life” style, with a variety of both editorial and candid shots. We want the photos to look elegant and natural, and we use as much natural light as possible to create beautifully lit photographs.

For other photographers, they might have a heavier or “dark and moody” style. There is nothing wrong with any certain style, but you need to find one you like and you’re going to appreciate for the rest of your life!

3. Read Reviews/Ask for Recommendations

Bride and Groom in a field kissing in Anderson, SC

Choosing a photographer is a BIG commitment, not only financially, but you’re trusting this person (or persons if you have a second shooter) with capturing one of the most magical days of your life!

Unless you know the photographer personally (and even if you do), make sure you read reviews from previous couples who have used that personal photographer. You can even ask the photographer to see a sample wedding gallery.

There are several players you can go for reviews. The obvious places are Google and Facebook. For most people, those are the go-to places to leave a review. If that photographer brings up any red flags, you’ll probably see it on a Google or Facebook review.

Another place to check is theKnot.com and Weddingwire.com. For wedding vendors, these two websites are HUGE. They also allow you to leave reviews on any vendor you’re worked with. For anyone planning a wedding, you should always check out the reviews on these sites before pulling the trigger.

4. Pick 3 Options

picture of a bride and groom getting married in Columbia, SC

This is something not a lot of future brides think about, but it can save a lot of trouble and frustration.

Let’s go through a scenario. You’re planning your wedding, YAY! You’ve decided on a date and picked your venue. Now you’re on the hunt for the PERFECT photographer to capture the day.

You’ve FINALLY found the photographer you LOVE. Their style perfectly matches what you want and how you want your day to be remembered. You also click with them personally, well. They have a payment plan and you can afford to have them! Yay.

You’ve talked to the photographer, they have great reviews, and they seem to be the sweetest person on top of that. Then they ask you about the date, and they are ALREADY BOOKED!! NOOOOO.

It’s one of the most frustrating things for a bride planning their wedding. That’s why we tell everyone to go ahead and pick 2-3 photographers (or any vendor for that matter) and reach out asap. Before you reach out to one, create your top 3, and then contact your first choice. If they are booked, that’s unfortunate but at least you know where to go from there.

Pro tip: Before nailing your wedding date down in stone, go ahead and contact your favorite photographer so they can let you know what dates they have available so you can be flexible on the date.

5. Talk with Each Photographer (Very Important)

bride and groom talking to wedding photographer after ceremony

Aside from reading the reviews, we think this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT steps in picking the perfect photographer.

There are several important factors. You want someone who’s professional, experienced, and takes amazing images. But you also need someone who you click with.

Our goal is to be more than just a random wedding photographer who shows up on the day of your wedding as a stranger. Being there on your wedding day with you is a close and intimate experience. That photographer is going to be there with the bride as much or MORE than the groom will! As you’re getting ready, as you’re getting into your dress, as you have your first look, before you walk down the aisle, and for that first kiss. Wedding photographers are heavily involved in the wedding day, and for us, well before the wedding day!

Do you want someone there who doesn’t share the same vision for your day? Probably not!

When we have anyone ask us about wedding photography, we always offer to treat them to a cup of coffee or at least have a phone call before signing a contract. We want to ensure that we are the right photographer for them. It’s our mission to ensure they are going to be happy with their photos and with us as people!

Choosing the Best Wedding Photographer for YOU!

Overall, the best advice we can give you when choosing your perfect wedding photographer is to make sure that they are willing to bend over backwards to serve you and your fiance well. That’s the main thing!

As much as we would love for every engaged couple to choose us for their wedding day, we know that our style and who we are doesn’t fit everyone. And that’s okay!

All we want is for any couple to sit down 20 years after their wedding, look back at their photos and still love them as much as the day the first saw them, no matter who takes their photos!

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