Katie Jaynes Photography Blog





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May 1, 2021

5 Tips for Choosing A Wedding Photographer in Columbia, SC

Groom and bride holding hands across door before ceremony

Look girl, we know planning your wedding can be stressful. It’s a fun time and so magical, but boy can it be a handful. It’s been about 6 years since I planned our wedding, but I’ll never forget all the spreadsheets, phone calls, and emails back and forth.

 By the time our wedding day got here, I was so ready to be done. Luckily for us, we already knew some amazing vendors (one of the perks of being a wedding photographer), and that was a huge relief.

As wedding photographers, we understand the complexity of choosing vendors. We’ve seen the good and the bad (thankfully WAY more good than bad).

I’m from the Columbia, SC area. It’s my first love (go Gamecocks), and we’ve been blessed to photograph several weddings in the city. Through the years, we’ve learned a couple things about planning weddings in Columbia and we want to share our tips for choosing a wedding photographer in Columbia, SC. 

Always Think Photography Style First

One amazing thing about getting married in Columbia is the variety of locations, venues, and vibes. Honestly, you can get widely different wedding styles without driving 10 miles down the road.

There are at least a dozen rustic barn venues within a 10-mile radius from downtown Columbia. You have a handful of industrial venues if you’re looking for something modern, or you can pick from one of the more historic options in the city.

Whatever your preferred style or look is, we promise you’ll find something in Columbia to meet your needs.

Well, the same is true is of wedding photographers. Not everyone’s style matches what you’re looking for or even where you’re getting married. Maybe you like the early 2000’s saloon-style family pictures (joking), or maybe more natural lighting, or you prefer a darker moody style. Whatever you lie, make sure you pick a photographer (preferably pick a few) that matches your style.

These will hopefully be the photos that fill your home, your photo albums, cover your walls, and sit on your desk. Make sure you’re going to love them forever.

Photography Budget

This one might seem obvious, but we have a few key thoughts on picking a photographer in Columbia within your budget. Before you skip this part, hold on a second. What we’re going to say might surprise you.

Yes, we are wedding photographers and we tell people that you shouldn’t ever try and “go cheap” when it comes to photographers BUT you shouldn’t break your budget for a photographer.

Your wedding photographer is one of the few vendors where the product is with you for the rest of your life. The cake is amazing, but it’s gone at the end of the night. DJs are the most fun, but you’ll only remember your first dance song. A photographer will provide you with images that will help you relive all of those moments.

 BUTTTTT you should never stretch your finances. Make smart money choices when it comes to your wedding. We’ve seen couples take on a lot of debt to have a magical wedding. Of course, we want the day to be amazing, but that doesn’t mean breaking your bank or using your savings account.

There could be several photographers that you LOVE, but they might be thousands of dollars out of your price range. PLEASE don’t max out a credit card to book a photographer.

Instead, ask about payment plans or discounts based on coverage. If you’re having a micro-wedding, most photographers have built smaller packages with smaller price tags. While payment plans can help you break up the total cost and make payments every month, and can help you fit it into your budget without being required to make any lump sum payments.


Distance seems like an odd factor to consider, but when you’re doing your initial search, distance will play a huge role, not only in budgeting and pricing but also scheduling and for the wedding day.

If your photographer is several hours away (or even from a different state), planning an engagement session or bridal session, you may find that you’re limited on the availability. For us, if the couple is local to us, it’s much easier

When you’re trying to decide which photographer is going to be PERFECT for you, don’t forget to consider their location, but never let that stop you. If your dream photographer lives 13 states away (and you can budget for travel expenses), go for it! But just think about scheduling before you do.

Photographer’s Personality

The end result (aka your amazing wedding pictures) SHOULD be the main goal of any photographer. For us, when we show up on a wedding day, we try and capture everything exactly as it is, so you can always remember every detail. BUT we also want to make the day fun, serve our couples, and love them however we can.

We want to smile with them, laugh, and hopefully be a blessing during the day.

You can probably guess, but not every photographer has the same approach to the wedding day. Some photographers like to be more hands-on, in the thick of things, while others blend into the background and you won’t even notice they are there. Either way is great, but you need a personality and approach that you like and suits your dream.

Customer Reviews

Isn’t the internet great! (Just a little sarcasm there) and it has been wonderful for people planning weddings. Once upon a time, you would just have to pick some random vendors or go with people you knew personally or were referred from a friend. Thanks to Google, WeddingWire, and The Knot, you can instantly find dozens of vendors AND see trusted reviews from previous couples.

We always tell our friends to read as many reviews as possible before picking a vendor you don’t know.

Look, it’s not fun to talk about, but there are plenty of scammers out there or simply vendors who don’t provide great customer service or products. Just like with any other industry, there are real duds out there.

Columbia, SC Wedding Photographers

We know it’s not an easy decision. These are only a few of the things to think about. You’ll also need to consider packages, additional products, editing, turn-around, and so much more.

Hopefully, these 5 things can get you started looking for the perfect photographer to capture your wedding day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the options or want to discuss how Katie Jaynes Photography can serve you, feel free to contact us at any time. We would love to grab a cup of coffee and talk about wedding dresses!

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