Expert Advice: 4 Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Wedding Photographer


Bride to Be Facebook Group Leaderboard Ad

Hiring a Tampa Bay wedding photographer is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during planning.

Some couples experience sticker shock when initially searching photographer, but you’ll also quickly realize this is one area in your budget that you don’t want to skimp; it’s worth the investment.

When you hire a wedding photographer, you’re not just paying for the 8-10 hours on the day of your weddings. You’re paying for years of expertise they have, the hundreds of weddings they photographed and the hours and hours of editing they’ll do afterward.

Your wedding photographer has to be on alert your entire day, and you need someone who knows how to pose you so that your portraits look effortless, someone who can round up all of your groomsmen, and someone who knows when to anticipate that spur of the moment look that you give one another during the reception.


You hear it all the time, but it’s so true; after it’s all said and done, your photos (and hopefully video) are all you have to remember your big day. We recommend budgeting at least $3,000 for wedding photography (and don’t forget video!)

So how do you know who to hire? If you visit Wedding Wire or The Knot you’ll see hundreds of listings for wedding photographers, but don’t just go off of the reviews. Reviews are definitely a huge factor in choosing a photographer, but there’s so much more you need to consider, so we’ve asked Tampa Bay’s top wedding photographers to share their insight into “4 Mistakes Couples Make When Choosing a Wedding Photographer.”

The Experts:

Advice for Hiring a Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer

What mistakes do couples make when researching photographers online?

Carrie Wildes, owner of Carrie Wildes Photography, explains:
“If you are beginning your research on photographers it can be very difficult to start the process online. There are hundreds of “photographers” in the Tampa Bay Area on Wedding Wire, Facebook, and Google, but the best place to start your research is referrals from your wedding planner, venue, friends who have recently gotten married or other professionals you’ve already hired. Narrow your search down to 3-5 whose work you love, and if at all possible take the time to meet them in person or via FaceTime if you aren’t local. Make sure to ask for full wedding galleries to view so you can see an entire wedding start to finish. It’s pretty easy to have a few great photos from one wedding, but you definitely want to see what the full wedding story looks like. If a photographer doesn’t have a website that is a huge red flag because it also probably means they don’t have a legitimate business license or liability insurance.”

Kristen Jeffers, owner of Kristen Marie Photography, shares:
“Looking for someone in their budget rather than their style. You won’t ever be happy with the outcome if you settled for someone who didn’t fit your actual style. Budget is important but forever loving your images is equally important, at the end of the wedding it’s what you have left to remember.”

Andi Diamond, owner of Andi Diamond Photography, provides an interesting perspective:
One of the most important factors when hiring a photographer, besides truly liking their style, is making sure you love their personality. Throughout the wedding planning process, it will almost be like you are “dating” your photographer, so you want to make sure your personalities mesh well together and that you feel 100% comfortable with them. In order to do this, I highly suggest narrowing down to your top two or three photographers and then meeting them in person.”

What mistakes do couples make when narrowing down their photographer choices?

Kéra Holzinger, owner of Kéra Photography provides the following insight:

“It’s very important for a couple to understand what their style is and how their wedding photographer will complement that. There are so many gorgeous wedding photography styles out there, and it’s so important that you like what you are investing in. You don’t want to be a “light and airy” couple who invests in “moody” photography; the end result will be great photography, but a displeased couple. These images are going to be hanging on your walls and will be the topic of conversation for many years to come, so make sure you are absolutely in love with the look and feel!”

Andi Diamond Photography adds:
“Make sure you are comparing apples to apples; remember that photography is one of those heirloom things that you take away from your wedding, so your investment truly does last for generations.”

It is critical to look at an entire wedding from beginning to end, in a variety of lighting conditions, as light and weather elements can completely change the look (and quality outcome) of your wedding images. A highly trained professional will be completely skilled and ready for any type of lighting and weather that is thrown their way.”

Ashley Roper, owner of Grind & Press Photography, adds an interesting point:
“Can my friend shoot my wedding? The answer is yes, but only if they are a professional and make sure you still fill out a contract, make a deposit and treat them with the same expectations you do the rest of your vendors. I can’t tell you how many last-minute weddings I’ve been asked to shoot because a friend backed out and there wasn’t a contract or deposit to hold them to.”

What mistakes do couples make when meeting with photographers?

Grind & Press Photography shares their insight:

“They force a connection. Couples want to really make sure that they not only like their wedding photographer’s work but that they like their personality as well. Couples will spend a lot of time with their photographer on one of the most intimate days of their lives, make sure that the photographer is someone you mesh with and enjoy being around.”

What mistakes do couples make when choosing a photographer to fit their wedding day needs?

Carrie Wildes Photography explains:
“The biggest mistake I think couples make when choosing a photographer to meet their wedding day needs when couples choose the photographer primarily based on budget. A wedding is like a big machine with a lot of moving parts and there are many different areas that can be increased or reduced to compensate for each other. Don’t sacrifice your photography budget. If you love a photographer but they are somewhat out of your price range, try and see if you can re-arrange things to get the one you love. That is the biggest regret I hear from people who didn’t hire us is that they wish they would have not worried so much about budget, but about the quality and experience.”

Wedding Photographer Search:

  • Include budget, style, # of hours. (Average photography budget range for a Tampa Bay wedding: $2,000-$7,500+)


Marry Me Tampa Bay editor, Anna Coats, created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area's best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talkshow Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

NOVA 535

Avila Golf & Country Club

Florida Rustic Barn Weddings

The Vault

The Godfrey Hotel

Renaissance Tampa International Plaza

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

Red Mesa Events

Kera Photography

Lifelong Photography Studio

Creative Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait with Veil Blowing in Wind | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Lifelong Photography Studio

Carrie Wildes Photography

dewitt for love

Modern Dramatic Unique Asymmetrical Red Wedding Bridal Bouquet with Ranunculus Tulips Protea Roses Anemone and Amaryllis | Dewitt for Love Photography

Breezin’ Weddings

Florida Bride and Groom Romantic Portrait Under Whimsical and Lush Circular Floral Arch with Pampas Grass, White and Blush Pink Roses, Hydrangeas and Greenery, Bride in Full Length Veil | Tampa Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings | Wedding Dress Isabel O'Neil Bridal | Wedding Hair Femme Akoi | Waterfront Wedding Venue Tampa Yacht and Country Club

Coastal Coordinating

UNIQUE Weddings & Events

Parties a la Carte

Special Moments Event Planning

Modern, Garden Inspired Wedding Decor, Blush Pink Floral Wall and White Draping, Gazebo, Outdoor Dance Floor, Long Feasting Tables. Rose Gold Chiavari Chairs, Floral Curly Willow Arches | Tampa Bay Wedding Planner Special Moments Event Planning | Tampa Bay Wedding Florist Gabro Event Services | Tampa Bay Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair

Bruce Wayne Florals

Truly Forever Bridal

Michele Renee The Studio

Elite Events Catering

Tastes of Tampa Bay


Longboat Key Club

Beso Del Sol

Isla del Sol Yacht & Country Club

The Poynter Institute

The Don CeSar Hotel

Hotel Zamora

Postcard Inn

The Mahaffey Theater

Hotel Alba

Bayou Club

Kemari Lyn Films

amber mcwhorter photography

Spaghetti Strap Casablanca Ivory Simple Slip Wedding Dress Bridal Gown | Light Blue Grey Groom Suit | Outdoor Bride and Groom Beach Portrait at Tampa St Pete Florida COVID Destination Elopement Beach Wedding Ceremony | Neutral White Ivory and Greenery Bridal Bouquet | Amber McWhorter Photography

Luxe Light Images

Gulf Beach Weddings

Elope Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Wedding Elopement Planning | Elope Tampa Bay

eventfull weddings

Tampa Bay Wedding Planner EventFull Weddings

Monarch Events And Design

Cascade Bridal Bouquet with White and Blush Pink Roses and Ranunculus, White Astilbe, Ivory Stock, Greenery and Eucalyptus | Tampa Wedding Florist Monarch Events and Design

Lynn’s Catering

Amici’s Catered Cuisine

Sweetly Dipped Confections

Nikki’s Glitz and Glam Boutique

Tropical Boho Bride and Groom Excited After Exchanging Vows, Bride in Flowy Deep V Neck Wedding Dress, Colorful Floral Arrangements | Tampa Bay Wedding Venue The Godfrey | Wedding Planner Elope Tampa Bay | Wedding Florist Brides N Blooms | Wedding Dress Nikki's Glitz and Glam | Wedding Hair and Makeup Femme Akoi Beauty Studio | Amber McWhorter Photography

Bella Bridesmaid

A&P Designs

Bay Kings Band

Grant Hemond & Associates

breezin' entertainment

St. Petersburg Wedding DJ Breezin' Entertainment

A Chair Affair

outside the box

Tampa Bay Bride and Groom Cheers in front of Champagne Wall, Greenery Boxwood Bubbly Wall Rental, Bride Holding Vibrant Jewel Toned Floral Bouquet with Bright Pink Roses, Ivory, Purple, and Blue Flowers | Florida Wedding Planner Breezin' Weddings | South Tampa Outside The Box Event Rentals