bride and groom portraits at the mansion at natirar

1. Create a Budget

Wedding photographers can range from $500 to $15,000 so creating a budget for yourself is a good start for narrowing down your search. A lot of things factor into these price differences but the most common will be the photographer's experience and the demand they have in a particular market. Another key factor in price will be what your package inclusions are. A lot of photographers offer different price packages based on the hours of photo coverage you'll get, usually ranging from 6 to 12 hours.

groom spinning bride under flower arch

2. Pick Your Style

Sometimes (if you've chosen it already) your venue can be a good indicator of what type of style you want your photographer to have. If your venue is more outdoorsy or rustic, you’ll probably want a photographer who’s style matches that aesthetic. Styles can range from being light and airy, to dark and more dramatic, and everything in between. Narrowing down your desired style is a really important step in ensuring you get the type of photography you want.

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3. Take a Look on Instagram

Once you've decided the style you're looking for, take a look on Instagram for photographers that fit your style that are in your area. Try searching by hashtags that correspond to your style like #outdoorweddingphotographer or by location like #hudsonvalleyweddingphotographer. Though you'll still have a lot to look through with these searches, they'll at least be narrowed down to what you're looking for.

closeup of flower bouquet and bride

4. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask potential photographers a lot of questions. You’ve never gone through this process before and they should be more than happy to clear anything up for you. Ask to see a full client gallery they’ve delivered to get a sense of what you’ll be receiving for the full wedding day. This will also help to get a complete sense of their style, not only the best shots featured on their website.

wedding dress hanging at the mansion at natirar

5. Look for Guidance but Don’t be Dictated by the Photos

It’s easy to get caught up in the planning of the day but don’t forget the reason for doing all this. Your photographer will always suggest certain things to get the best shots possible, but always make sure those suggestions align with how you want your wedding to go. For example, having a first look or not. Sometimes having a first look allows for other sorts of photography before the ceremony starts and creates a less stressful environment later in the day. However, you may want to keep that first look moment for the real thing as you see each other down the aisle. Keep these things in the back of your mind when you’re going over your shot list and timeline with your photographer.

couple underneath flower arch

6. Get Comfortable with your Photographer

Your photographer is going to be with you all day during the most important day of your life, so you want that person to be someone you’re really comfortable with. This is where the engagement session can be really valuable. It offers a low pressure environment where you can start to get comfortable not only be photographed, but also getting a sense of how your photographer will work on your wedding day. Having a really solid relationship with your photographer is part of the secret sauce that creates amazing images.