How to Choose a Wedding Photographer – 5 Tips to Make the Perfect Choice

We live in a time in which photography is the most important and least important thing in our lives. We take more photos than ever, yet very few have meaning to us. We fill our phones and our minds with images that often don’t live up to moments they contain. Your wedding day should not be one of these moments.

  Weddings represent a commitment and a promise. It’s a unique moment in life in which two people look at each other truthfully, acknowledge each other’s flaws, and pledge their lives to each other in spite of them. It’s us at our best. It’s a worthy story to tell.
- Patrick Clark, Shelby Street Studios

Your wedding represents something that is, well — important. We have been in the wedding business for nearly a decade and that’s the concept that we keep connecting with. A wedding arguably represents the most important relationship one human can have with another.

So how do you choose someone to help you tell this story? How do you choose a wedding photographer?

1.) It all starts with WHY

You should know why your photographer chooses to photograph weddings. You should ask. They should have an answer. It probably shouldn’t be because they love photography. In this business, that will only get you so far.

A wedding photographer needs to understand and appreciate the gravity of the day. This isn’t really a question you can ask directly. If you ask, “Are you passionate about wedding photography?”, everyone will say yes. This is something you can hear in their voice, and recognize in their lives. Ask questions about their life. How important are relationships to them? That’s a good indicator.

2.) Organization

Nobody ever enters “Most Organized Photographer” in a google search when they planning their wedding. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind, however, it is VITAL. All of the good ones have this trait. This is a one-time event that never happens again. The day must be planned and executed with precision.

Here is a simple concept: If there is no time, there are no photos.

This is a common pitfall with less experienced photographers. They fall in love with image-making but aren’t prepared for the magnitude of the day.

Disappointment ensues for all.

Your photographer should be the one to bring this up. If they aren’t helping you develop your timeline for the day. That is a RED FLAG.

*As a side note, most of your photography “horror stories” are all based on deficiencies in this area. They aren’t bad people, they just aren’t prepared for the task. Preparation requires understanding and experience.

3.) Communication

This is simple. Your photographer should respond quickly. They should be willing to answer all of your questions. You should know what to expect during the entire process. You can figure this out quickly during the interview/inquiry process. What did the photographer say to you about this without you asking? — That should be your thought process.

4.) Image Quality/Style

When you look at the images on a photographers site, what do you see?

Do the images tell a story?

Do they look sharp and focused?

Are they edited in a way that looks natural?

Are there photos in many different conditions? (daytime, nighttime, indoor, outdoor)

Do the images represent the relationships of those in the image?

Lastly, do you want your wedding photos to look that the images on their site?

It’s very important not to expect a product that’s different than what is being shown. A photographer shows what he or she does because that is what they are passionate about. You will get a better product if you let them do what they are passionate about. If you don’t like their style, keep searching.

5.) Reviews & Referrals

If all the above qualifications are met and you are looking for that extra bit of confidence, online reviews are a great way to hear about the experiences of others.

In the wedding business there are several sites where you can seek out these reviews. The big ones are The Knot & Wedding Wire. You should also check their Facebook and Instagram pages on for activity and reactions to the work.

Ultimately, your photographer should be a source of calm and stability. The wedding and wedding planning process is stressful and time consuming. Your photographer should be someone who makes the process easier and makes your day better. At the end of the day this is a formula for natural, beautiful, story-telling images worthy of the commitment they represent.