Any professional photographer can do weddings, right? Hmm, not quite. There’s the obvious requirements: flexible schedule, excellent communicator, ready to improv (due to unexpected weather, wardrobe snafus, sick groomsman, etc.). But there’s plenty more to consider before hiring a photographer.
I’m certainly not knocking other photographers. Newborn photographers—whew! Mad props to those special people. Safely photographing impossibly tiny humans into whimsical scenes is no small feat! But that’s the beauty of the art. Everyone finds the thing they do exceptionally well. And mine happens to be weddings.
When you hire a wedding photographer, you want someone who is genuinely passionate about all things wedding: the design, the venue, the attire, your vows—each piece plays a role in your overall wedding experience. If you have a photographer who cares about those parts, too, their authentic passion and expertise will reflect in your photos. You’ll get more than just a few pretty pictures. You’ll get vivid photos that tell your story in detail. You should be able to feel the excitement and emotion of every moment all over again.
Enter: the wedding photographer.
Before hiring a wedding photographer, check their portfolio, blog, or social media for these things:
4 Things to Check Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer
I’m not gonna lie: as amazing as this venue is (I adore Thalia Hall and highly recommend seeking out unique Los Angeles wedding venues like this), it’s hard AF to photograph. However, I happen to love the challenge. It’s rather easy to get gorgeous photos outside during the golden hour. But a dark chapel, indoor reception venue, or historic concert hall (ahem, Thalia Hall) will put a photographer’s skills to the test!
Do you have a photographer who’s willing to experiment outside of their box to patiently nail the lighting situation for you? For this wedding, I asked the planner if we could try swabbing the purple ambient lighting for white (so as not to have a room full of purple people), and we both loved how it transformed the room (and the photos).
A good litmus test is to see if the photographer you’re interviewing has any evening reception or night photos featured on their website. If you don’t find any, that’s a pretty good sign that less-than-ideal lighting is not their forte.
Bad Weather Photos
On a similar note, what happens when Mother Nature has her way with your wedding day? I say bring out the clear umbrellas and carry on! Check out my previous post on how to embrace the weather on your wedding day. I assure you, if you can roll with it, I can, too! I’ve photographed in downpours, shadeless wind farms, cloudy beaches, and even Chicago blizzards! In fact, the weather can add some unique character to your wedding photos if you give it the chance (and the right photographer).
Alert! If you see the same ten images on a photographer’s website and social media page, let that be a warning to you. Either they haven’t been photographing weddings very long, or those are the select few photos they’re willing to show off. I’ve heard horror stories of couples finding a “good deal” online, only to get a handful of wedding photos to show for the day. Or they sent an apprentice-level photographer instead of an experienced lead photographer. You know it’s true: you get what you pay for.
All that to say, take time to browse through photographer portfolios and recent weddings to see if you not only love their style, but that they maintain a consistent style, too. Style is a personal preference, so you want to make sure you truly love theirs before hiring so you know what you’re getting. Keep in mind, a photographer who specializes in a soft, bright style may not be able to acquiesce to a bold, dramatic style.
As for me, my style is a blend of editorial and emotive imagery. You can forget the blown-out whites and ethereal look—I prefer bold, creative images that reflect the true you in your best form! I’m especially drawn to color, movement, sunny vibes, and raw emotion.
And finally, each of those requirements can be summed up in the quality of their work. Do you like what you see, and do they provide enough samples that you feel confident in the quality of their work? If you aren’t sure, either walk the other way or ask them to see more full weddings rather than several highlight reels. (Note: the blog is a good place to check for examples of full weddings.)
Meet Your LA Wedding Photographer
I promise to show up for you and deliver my best—every time. You can count on me to be there with camera in hand and metaphorical toolbox ready come rain, shine, or drunken uncle. This is YOUR day, and it’s my mission to make it better than you ever imagined!
Hair and Makeup: @blushandbraidsbeautybar
Ceremony & Reception Site: @thaliahallchicago
Brides Dress Designer + Shop: @watters & @aislechic
Grooms Suit Designer + Shop: @indochino
Grooms People Attire: @indochino
Chalkboard artist @butterfudge.co