des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Sweet Beginnings: Selecting Your Photographer

For Brides

While I certainly have my own tips for what to ask and consider when choosing particular vendors, I though it would be more beneficial for you to hear from the experts. So, over the next few months, you will be hearing from some of my sweet friends about their craft. Yay!

This week we are tackling photography. There are so many amazingly talented photographers out there. So how do you choose who you bring on board? Hint: It’s not all about price! Photography is not just about pointing and clicking. There is a lot of education, practice and artistry that goes into beautiful images and professionals are constantly honing their craft.

Today, Alex from Everlasting Love Photography is going to share some tips and steps for how to choose the right photographer for you.


Unlike many wedding vendors you choose, your photographer needs to fit just right for you and your wedding. The photographs at your wedding are the one thing that lasts through generations after your special day has come and gone. Also, unlike other vendors, you and your groom actually spend your entire day with your photographer, from start to finish. Here are few steps you can take to ensure you find the perfect photographer for your wedding day!

First Step: What’s your style?

The first step to finding the right photographer for your wedding is to think about what style of photographs you are drawn to. There are many types of wedding photographers: photojournalist, portraiture, fine art, edgy, etc. In order to choose which style you prefer, do some research using some of these keywords listed. To give you a brief idea of a handful of different types of photographers, here are a few explained:

Photojournalist: This photographer is like a fly on the wall, in the sense that they will be there to capture candid moments throughout your wedding day.

Portraiture: This kind of photographer will be the exact opposite. Usually their images are very posed similar to pictures like your parents’ wedding day. They usually (but not always!) prefer giving prints and albums over a provided disc of images.

Fine art: This type of photographer is a little mixture of both. These photographers will often use a beautiful format of film, and focus on details. However, you will still see romantic moment photographs.

You can find many more explanations of the different types of wedding photographers just by doing a quick search on Google for “Types of Wedding Photographers”

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Second step: Do your research!

Now that you know what style of photography you like, research, research, research! Read reviews, look through blogs or websites, social media, ask around, you name it.

If you find a photographer that you like, go ahead and send your initial inquiry out. In my first email I send to brides and grooms, I always include two links to two different real weddings for the bride (or groom) to-be to view. This gives them a chance to look at the work I have done in the past, and get a feel of the final product they will be recieving. However, if the photographer you’re sending your inquiry to doesn’t do this right away, just ask them to! Portfolios are curated to show the best work from several weddings, but when you look at a full wedding gallery, you get to see exactly what you will be getting from their services.

Compare collections. It’s important to find out what is included in your photographer’s collections. Do you get a complimentary engagement session? Album? How many hours are included in the day? Do they shoot with a second photographer as to not miss any important moments?

Never underestimate the amount of coverage you need! Ideally your photographer will be there to capture all of the moments that tell the story of your wedding day. Unless you’re having an intimate ceremony with only a handful of guests, booking a package with less than 6 hours may mean you miss out on some photos (i.e getting ready) that you may want to have to relive the story of your day.

Ask about printing and sharing rights, if it is not specified. Almost all photographers’ contracts will specify that the photographer will own the copyrights to the photos. This means that the photographer owns the images they capture, and that they are allowed to blog, post on social media, use in their portfolio, and even submit for publication. However, some photographers will give you printing and sharing rights of your wedding day photos. This means that you will have a release that says you’re allowed to post on social media, personal websites, etc. AND you have the ability to print out the photos where ever you would like. If this is something that is important to you, then make sure this is included in your wedding day package.

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Third Step: Meet with your photographer in person.

Once you’ve found what style you like and have narrowed down to one photographer you might like, it is crucial to meet with your photographer in person.

Why? The main reason is that personality matters. Remember, this is the person you are going to spend most of your wedding day with. When meeting with them, ask yourself: Is this person comfortable to be around? Does this person seem excited for me and my wedding day?

Next, don’t forget to bring questions with you. Here are a list of good questions to ask your potential photographer:

  • If you’re looking at a package that includes some type of product (i.e. a canvas or album) ask to see samples! You want to know exactly what you’re getting.
  • Ask how long it takes to receive your photos after the wedding. Will the photographer post any sneak peeks along the way?
  • How many images should you expect after all is said and done?
  • How will images be delivered?
  • Do they have any tips to calm you and your fiancé’s nerves about getting pictures taken? (if needed!)
  •  You may already know by this point, but ask about what medium they choose to shoot with. Are they shooting with film exclusively? Digital? Hybrid? This also determines the photographers turnaround times.
  • What is required to reserve your date?
  • If needed, what fees will be needed for travel or lodging?
  • **Many times these questions may already be answered in the photographers’ pricing/welcome guide. Take the time to read any FAQ that the photographer offers before meeting so you are really able to connect with the photographer during the meeting!

As a wedding photographer in a broad business, I believe that it is important to find the right person to photograph one of the most important days of your life. I hope these tips help you find the perfect fit!!


Ah photography. I just love it, don’t you? One final thought I want you to consider. You are selecting the person who will capture your memories that will be passed down to your children, grandchildren and future generations to come. That kind of legacy deserves investment and consideration. I know that sounds heavy, but that is how I view images for any day of your life. If photos are not your budget priority, there are still absolutely fabulous artists that can capture your day within your parameters, so be sure to go through these steps Alex outlined, regardless.

If you have specific questions about any area of planning, send in your questions and I’ll be sure to pass them to the experts!

xoxo, Jenn

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