8 Things Couples Should Know Before Inquiring With a Wedding Photographer
Advice

Expert Advice: 8 Things Couples Should Know Before Inquiring With a Wedding Photographer

Wedding photography is such an important aspect because it's the one part of your wedding (along with your video) that will live on after the day is over.

“A lot of thought goes into the decorations for your ceremony and reception, your guest list, your attire, and the same should go for your vendors. Wedding vendors often play a large part in creating your dream wedding day, and thus they should also take careful consideration. Wedding photography, in particular, is very important, as these are the photos that you will be looking back on for the rest of your lives,” Tara Zimmerman, Lead Photographer & Social Media Engagement Specialist, Limelight Photography, explains. “But that isn’t to scare you! Because it is a big decision, it is to encourage you to decide what you want out of a wedding photographer and to find someone who fits those needs.”

To ensure that you find the right photographer for your style, budget, personality, and expectations, our preferred wedding photographers share their insight on “8 Things Couples Should Know Before Inquiring With a Wedding Photographer.”


1. Know That Your Photographer Does So Much More Than Just Take Pictures

“I think the most important thing a couple should know before meeting with wedding photographers is what we actually do as wedding photographers. Seasoned professional photographers do SO incredibly much more than just hitting a shutter on a camera. We are here to guide you from the very beginning of planning your wedding to sometimes decades to come photographing all the future stages of your life! We will help guide you on the best lighting, locations, and timing for everything you the day of the wedding. So much of what we do here on the west coast is based on sunset and having those beautiful golden hour photos! We are here along the way to help refer to you other wedding professionals that we know, trust, and love, especially when it comes to videographers, as we work so closely with them. On the day of the wedding, we are there with you from getting ready (probably going to see you partially naked lol) through the last important event. Throughout the day, we are going to help do anything and everything we can to make it exceed your expectations including: making sure everything is running on time, catching up on time when things are running late, pinning on all the boutonnieres, re-directing a mom, mother in law, aunt, sister, bridesmaid, dad, rogue guest, etc. who is trying to hijack something that they shouldn't be, managing all the family dynamics to make sure you get all the family photos you want without hurting anyone's feelings, and also being cognizant of any divorces, deaths, etc. that could be really hard or painful, making sure there aren't things in the backgrounds that we can control, especially others with phones, and working with the entire team of wedding pros on the day of. Not totally what you expected right? We do take photos, but in order to get those amazing photos, these are all the other moving parts that come into play that are so important and why we love what we do so much!” -Carrie Wildes, Owner, Carrie Wildes Photography


2. Know What You Want Your Day to Be Like

“Know yourselves/your day: Okay, this is a BIG ONE. A lot of times, photography is one of the first the vendors booked! We are often booked very early on in the planning process, which is great as we do tend to book up (reach capacity for how many weddings we can take in a month) anywhere from 6-12 months out. However, it means that most of our couples don’t actually know a lot about their own wedding yet when we hear from them, such as how they want their day to feel, whether they want to be super traditional or have a more modern day, if they want lots of ‘looking at the camera and smiling' photos (think traditional portraits) or if they prefer more candid and editorial captures (think the celebrity weddings you see/features in magazines), and the general vibe/aesthetic they’re going for on the day. When a couple doesn’t know any of these answers, it can be really challenging for us to know whether we’re the right fit for you! After six years in the industry, we can pretty much tell from the answers whether we might be a perfect match or if there might be a team out there that better suits your needs. But if we have nothing to go on, that can sometimes lead to a mismatch where our mutual styles don’t match up. So before you reach out, get a handle on the type of imagery you love and the editing styles you’re drawn to. Look at a lot of wedding photos, create a Pinterest board, and edit that board down as you go. This will make for a better match up, and as a result, an outcome where you love your photos and your photographer feels super inspired to create for you within their most enthusiastic artistic creativity!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

“Before meeting with your wedding photographer, make sure you gather all the information you have about your wedding day. Some things may not be figured out yet, like times and locations, which is fine, but giving us all the ideas you have will help us plan accordingly. First looks take additional time and planning, along with if you wanted to do photos before the ceremony. This means we may need to have hair and make-up finished earlier, so we have more time to photograph. Also, if you wanted different locations for photos, travel time may need to be addressed. It’s easy to forget that from place to place may be a 15-30 minute drive with traffic, time of year, and parking.” -Will DeCosta, Owner and Lead photographer, Iyrus Weddings Photo & Video

Florida Bride and Groom Sitting on Sail Boat Wedding Portrait | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Carrie Wildes Photography

Dusty Blue and Red St. Pete Beachfront Wedding | Isla Del Sol Yacht & Country Club | Carrie Wildes Photography


3. Know What Photography Style You Like

“Before meeting with a wedding photographer, couples should know a little bit about the photographer and the business by doing some surface-level research. They should make sure the photographer's editing style fits what they are looking for since that is one major thing that sets photographers apart. The couple should also know the price range of the photographer so that they know and understand if the photographer is within their price range. In many instances, couples can also come up with questions to ask the photographer when meeting with him or her: more about their business, what they look for when photographing a wedding, and how their process works (image delivery, timeframe, etc.).” -Amber McWhorter, Owner, Amber McWhorter Photography

“Before reaching out to a photographer, a couple should sit down and determine the style of photography they love. There are many different styles: dark and moody, light and airy, colorful, and timeless. The best way to do this is with research. Find a handful of photographers and scour their websites and socials. By looking at the collections of their work, you will begin to see a pattern of how they photograph and how they edit. The worst thing you could do is ask a photographer to change their style to fit another photographer's style. This will only set up false expectations on both sides.” -Amanda Zabrocki, Owner, Amanda Zabrocki Photography

“Prior to meeting and/or speaking with a wedding photographer, you should know your photo preferences, both perspective-wise and editing-wise. There are all sorts of wedding photographers who use different equipment, highlight specific moments throughout your wedding day, edit in various styles, etc., and it is important to find one that photographs in a way that you can see your own wedding photos coming to life. There are wedding photographers who shoot in film and some digitally. There are some who edit with deep moody tones, while others have light and airy styles. Your design preferences will determine what type of photographer you want to have to capture your big day.” -Tara Zimmerman, Lead Photographer & Social Media Engagement Specialist, Limelight Photography

“Do your research on THAT photographer: Did you know that we can tell who is just reaching out after doing little to zero research and who has really looked into us? We can! :) While we totally get that planning a wedding can be super time-consuming, it is really important that you take the time to look through any photographer you plan to reach out to’s Instagram and website. Sure, Instagram is super fun and quick, but a photographer’s website is going to give you so much more information on who they are as a company, what they’re like to work with, and what’s important that they want their couples to know! Don’t skip this part, really look through their website and see if you still feel like it’s a great fit! And bonus…our website has a b section, so you can peek through larger galleries of past work!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography


4. Know That Your Photographer Is Making Sure You're The Right Fit for Them

“Don’t be afraid to tell us how awesome you are! When inquiring, give as much info as you can! Photographers who book out quickly often have multiple inquiries for the same date, or same month, meaning that they may reach capacity sooner than you realize. When you have gotten to know yourselves, your wedding day, and what you want in a team and viewed their work, don’t just do the bare minimum when you reach out. Give as much detail as you can, tell us why you think we’d be a great match, and get us excited! When three couples reach out for the same date, two give us one-word answers, and one gives us insight into who they are as a couple and that they’ve done the work to already know we’re an awesome match, THAT is a couple we want to and are super excited to talk to! Remember that we’re people too, and we want to be mutually excited with you about the big day!”

“Also, communicate yourself. We highly recommend it’s actually you who communicates with us while we’re chatting and setting up a time to speak/meet. If you outsource this part of the process to your mom, maid of honor, or planner, a lot can get lost in translation. When it comes to the vendor that is by your side the most on the actual wedding day, it is critical that you two are the ones speaking to form a strong connection and trust with each other. Speaking with someone else means that this connection isn’t formed, and in situations like that, it can be hard for us to get a read on you as a couple and whether we’re a good match or not. The more you can communicate yourself with us, the more solid of a match-up it will be!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

Same Sex Lesbian Gay LGBQT+ Wedding, Brides Holding Hands Wedding Portrait | Tampa Industrial Modern Wedding Venue Hyde House | Wedding Hair and Makeup Imago Dei by Milan | Wedding Photographer Dewitt for Love Photography

Vibrant Pink and Dusty Blue South Tampa Wedding | Hyde House | Dewitt for Love Photography


5. Know How Much You Want to Invest

“Before you fall too far down a rabbit hole of loving a certain photographer’s work, you need to know your budget. Wedding photography is an investment but an investment worth making. You are paying for the photographer’s experience in the industry, the high-quality equipment that they use, the process that you go through with them to help prepare for your big day, and their time. Many couples often prioritize their photography budget over that of other vendors simply because it is not something that you will experience for only one day, you’ll be looking at these photos for years to come. Knowing your budget will help you remain true to your finances while looking for a wedding photographer.” -Tara Zimmerman, Lead Photographer & Social Media Engagement Specialist, Limelight Photography

“All photographers vary, and no two are the same: This is for my comparers and price shoppers! First, there is absolutely nothing wrong with comparing choices. However, just because one choice may seem like a “deal,” when it comes to wedding photography, this isn’t usually the best way to decide on someone who will capture the photos three plus generations down the road will be looking back on. When getting pricing, go into it with a respect for that artist and know that they have done the work to know their cost of doing business and are not here to price gouge you. They are simply pricing themselves based on the costs it takes to run a business, pay employees, purchase new, and have gear serviced (our gear alone cost us tens of thousands of dollars), time spent communicating and editing, skill level, and so many other factors. Trust in your photography team that they know what they’re doing and have priced themselves accordingly. This tends to help with sticker shock. Remember that Google and your friends or a family member in a different city/state may have had varying levels of experience with pricing and the photographers they’ve worked with. If what you want and are drawn to is a photographer that charges $5,000, or more, that is okay! Just make sure you have the budget for it and trust your gut!”

“Know your budget and if you have wiggle room. This may seem obvious, but many times couples will reach out listing a certain budget but, in reality, have one that’s much lower or actually have a little bit of wiggle room that maybe they’re holding the reigns too tight on. It’s important to know the range you are looking to be within and adjust accordingly if you find the type of work you love is a bit outside of that. Also, don’t be afraid to circle back with a vendor if, after researching, you realize that maybe a $2-3k budget isn’t getting you what you’re looking for, but you are finding what you love in the $4-5k range. If photography is important to you, know your numbers and whether or not you may need to adjust based on your research!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

“Knowing your budget range is a good idea before making contact with a photographer. Many photographers will have this information on their website, and in fact, the amount listed is often times the average or most popular investment. So don't worry if you're a touch under your favorite photographers' budget, chances are they will have another package option for you.” -Amanda Zabrocki, Owner, Amanda Zabrocki Photography



6. Know That It's Important that You Like Each on a Personal Level

“After searching and finding photographers that align aesthetically with your style and whose work appeals to you, setting up a meeting or phone call with them is a crucial step to ensuring that they’re a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for them! As your photographer will be in close communication with you leading up to your wedding day and on the day of, developing a relationship early on creates a solid foundation for the rest of the process. When meeting with a potential photographer, tell them about yourself, your fiancé, your story, and your wedding vision (kudos if they ask you first!), and ask them questions about their style, passions, workflow, and experience. Outside of developing a relationship, be prepared to go over package options/contents and present any questions you may have. Quality photographers want to go over these things with you — a couple that fits them well is inspiring and exciting!” -Jennifer Reed, Owner, J&S Media

“Know your photographer’s heart and passion for what they do. Their passion often affects what sort of photos they take. For instance, if they are a very sentimental person, they may favor capturing emotion-filled photos. If your photographer favors more of the technical side of photography, they may incorporate different effects and shooting styles, such as playing off of light, movement, and colors. Lastly, know that you can trust your wedding photographer. We are here to ensure that your day is not only captured beautifully but that it also runs smoothly and that you and your spouse have the time of your lives. We couldn’t be more excited and honored to help photograph your beautiful wedding day.” -Tara Zimmerman, Lead Photographer & Social Media Engagement Specialist, Limelight Photography

Luxurious Modern Chic Bride and Groom Wedding Portrait Inside Art Gallery | Tampa Bay Wedding Photographer Limelight Photography | Sarasota Wedding Venue Ringling Museum

Luxurious Destination Courtyard Sarasota Wedding | Limelight Photography


7. Know That If You Are in Love With Your Photographer, So Are Other Couples

“Be ready to move forward: Oof, this is a silent killer!! Sometimes a couple has a lot going on in their lives, or may even be avoiding making a decision because it can be overwhelming. Make sure that BEFORE you talk to/meet with a photographer, you’re ready to book who you choose within 1-3 weeks. If your photographer is waiting weeks or months for an answer from you, you may have already lost them. There are so many couples we end up having to turn down because they weren’t actually ready to book and took weeks to make a decision. Meanwhile, other couples are reaching out for the same date/month, and you may lose your date to someone else if you’re not at the stage where you’re ready to move forward when you find the right fit!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography


8. Know That You May Not Be the Right Fit for Your Photographer

“As much as you’re looking for the right fit, so are your photographers! Touching on this fact is super important, especially if you haven’t done a lot of research on what you like or understand the design of your own wedding just yet. While it may seem like anyone you reach out to automatically should work with you because they’re providing a service, sometimes a vendor can see that you may not be the right match before you can/ This could be based on your budget just not being doable for your vendor, the style of your wedding day not being something that the photographer feels inspired by/is a type of design that they feel they do their best work within, or that the type of photography/editing you’re looking for just isn’t something they do. Once you reach out to a photographer, don’t be offended if they respond that they don’t think they’re the best fit. They’re actually doing you a favor! And many photographers are more than willing to provide a referral or two of some other photo teams that might be! Photographers tend to know their own style well enough that we can also pick that out in others in the industry. If it doesn’t work out with that photographer, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!” -Shannon Dewitt, Owner, Dewitt for Love Photography

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.