Choosing a wedding photographer for your big day is not an easy task! With so many incredibly talented Vancouver Island wedding photographers, your options are pretty much endless. This is one of the most important vendors you will hire simply based on how much time you’ll be spending together, along with the fact that we are responsible for authentically documenting your love story. As someone who is a photographer and a recent bride, I can offer some valuable insight on how to choose the perfect wedding photographer for your day!
Will you get along with their personality?
I personally chose my wedding photographer simply because I loved her personality. She made dirty jokes, dad jokes, and every other joke in between. She wasn’t stuffy or overly professional, instead, she was the definition of sassy and silly. That was something important to me because I wanted to be as comfortable as possible while taking my wedding photos, and I knew that with my own personality, I needed someone who I could vibe with! I knew that I could be completely myself and she wouldn’t judge me, which led to being able to authentically and genuinely showcase myself in front of her camera. I’m telling you, we were practically made for each other (don’t tell my husband!).
Think about this: when choosing a wedding photographer, would you rather hire someone who elevates the vibe of your day or someone who is just… there? Remember, this isn’t a vendor who’s just in and out to set up and then head to the next event. Your photographer is with you all day… So that can be a good thing or a bad thing! My husband and I chose someone who would not only make taking our wedding photos easier, but enjoyable, too! Yes, being in front of the camera can be so much fun when you hire the right person. That is what I want for you.
All of this goes to say, choose someone who has a similar sense of humour so you can laugh together during the in-between moments. Choose someone who is going to go that extra mile to make sure you and your partner have everything you need to have a seamless experience. Choose someone who is going to laugh with not only you, but with your friends and family as well. Hire a photographer that makes you think “Damn, I want to hang out with them after my wedding!”
This is the type of person you want as your shadow all day long on your wedding day. You will forever remember the feeling of your wedding and this person can truly make or break that experience. That might sound dramatic, but it’s true! Whatever emotional attachment you have with your photographer will translate into the photos they create for you. Every time you look at your wedding photos, you’ll think about your experience with the person who took them… and again, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. Let’s make sure it’s a good thing, okay?
Do your values align with theirs?
This one is equally important as the last; does their set of values align with your own? Choose a wedding photographer that you feel comfortable, even excited to support. If they don’t have the same core values as you do, then there’s going to be a disconnect with the experience you have with them. For example, that might look like someone who equally values blood family and chosen family, prioritizes vulnerability and connection, or is actively inclusive. At Robyn Paige Photography, we are an ally to all forms of love and believe everyone deserves support on their wedding day, regardless of gender, orientation, race, ability, etc. If that aligns with your values (which, it should!), then it sounds like we’d be a great fit.
But, how do you determine someone’s values before booking with them? Their ethos should be loud and clear on their website and social media. When you scroll through their posts, you’ll be able to get an idea of who they are as a person by the way they talk about themselves and others. Stalk their Instagram stories (where people tend to get a little more personal) and pay attention to the type of content they post. Going further, read through their website, where their values should be clearly communicated.
How do they conduct their business?
As much emphasis as I put on personality and values, being confident in the way your wedding photographer runs their business is crucial. After all, you are paying them for a service and should expect a professional experience! Choose someone who keeps the lines of communication open and ongoing. Do they encourage you to reach out for any and all questions you might have before and after booking with them? Have they communicated (via email or on their website) their office hours and typical response times? Do they respond thoroughly and thoughtfully? You can usually determine this based on the first few email exchanges with them. You’ll want to hire someone who will let you know simple things like when they’ll be out of town, if they’re sick and response times will be slower, and overall be open and honest throughout the entire process, therefore encouraging you to do the same.
Additionally, do they run their business like a professional? Do they have the proper licensing and insurance as a wedding photographer? What kind of systems, if any, do they use for client management and photo storage and delivery? How do they back up their images after your wedding to ensure they’re safe no matter what? Do they have reliable gear? Do they have a legally binding contract in place? These aren’t necessarily fun questions, but important ones nonetheless. A professional wedding photographer should be able to answer these questions confidently and without hesitation.
Are you in love with their artistic vision?
Another thing to consider is the way they document wedding days. When browsing their portfolio, ask yourself if they document love in a way that inspires you and makes you feel something. Chances are, if you feel something based on looking at their work photographing complete strangers (to you), then seeing your own wedding photos will stir up even more emotion. Do you feel moved by the way they capture connection, movement, and light? If they’ve never shot a wedding at your venue before, do you feel confident that they will walk into the situation feeling inspired to create? On the other hand, if they have shot at your venue before, do you trust them to be inspired to create something different and unique than they previously have? Your photos should not look like anyone else’s because your wedding and your love are completely unique, one-of-a-kind. If you find yourself feeling like you’re just looking at the same handful of photos over and over again when browsing their portfolio, that might not be a good sign!
Do you love their editing style?
Along the lines of loving their artistic vision, being a fan of their editing style is equally important! The way they edit their photos in the post-production process will ultimately play a part in how you remember your wedding day. Some photographers edit true to color, some edit on the warmer side, and some edit on the cooler side. There are countless styles of editing, and none of them is better than the other. It truly all comes down to your personal preference.
Choose someone who makes you think “Damn, I want to print every photo and have an album made so that any and all humans who walk into my house look at it and rave about how amazing we look!” It might sound funny… but it’s true! At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to look at your wedding photos forever. That being said, your own taste will change over time and that is totally natural. But what will remain is the memory you have of how you felt on that day and in those moments. And that feeling will never go out of style.
What experience will you have?
Here’s my take on this: make a decision based on the overall experience you will have instead of their overall experience. What I mean by that is yes, there are photographers who have had years of prior experience shooting weddings and portraits, and that is a testament to their professional journey! For some folks, that’s a very important factor in the decision-making process. That is completely understandable and worth looking into if that’s the case for you!
However, I have seen some pretty kickass wedding photographers who have only been in the industry for a couple of years that I have referred couples to. Some have a knack for learning quickly, others are just complete naturals behind the camera. Overall, there is no cut-and-dry rule for deciding how experience equates to value. My recommendation would be to look at their portfolio, website, and social media and then decide how you feel! The more important factors to look into would be: confidence in their ability to be fully present on your wedding day, delivering your photos in a timely manner (as stated by their contract), having a backup plan in case things go wrong, and remaining cool, calm, and collected throughout your experience with them.
What do their wedding packages include?
Each photographer’s wedding packages can be structured in completely different ways. Choose one that offers a package that is in alignment with how you envision your wedding day. Do you want someone there from “getting ready” to “sparkler exit”? Do you want the option to add an engagement session? Are you looking for rehearsal dinner coverage? Most photographers offer 6, 8, and 10-hour photography packages, while some have custom options based on individual requirements.
If you feel you have a complex wedding timeline or multiple locations involved, my advice would be to consult with your photographer before you decide on the number of hours to book. They know how to allocate time for various parts of the day, times of day, and will most likely factor in things that you haven’t even thought of. While you may have thought 6 hours would be satisfactory, you may find that you actually need 8 hours to have a stress-free experience!
And isn’t that a true gift on a wedding day? Other folks with simpler, more condensed timelines may totally be okay with a 6-hour package! My advice is to prioritize how much time it will take to document your wedding story completely, thoroughly, and beautifully. And your photographer is the perfect resource for this! You should be confident in the direction given by your wedding photographer when it comes to this aspect.
Now, let’s address the number of images expected to be received in any given package. Most photographers state they offer “a minimum of 50 images per hour of shooting time”, and this is customary language in the photography community. The fact is that every wedding is so unique and different, so you may get more and you may get less! What truly matters the most is quality over quantity. Would you want your photographer to deliver 20 images of the exact same pose simply to hit that “50 images per hour” minimum? Most likely not! I assure you that your photographer will capture your day as it happens and that you will have a variety of memories from all the parts of your day!
Last, but not least, is whether or not you need a second shooter included in your photography package. Some photographers are comfortable shooting weddings by themselves, and some others feel more confident working with a second shooter. You may see this come up in their various wedding packages. If you don’t see it, and that’s something you’re interested in, simply ask them! I personally wouldn’t let this be a deal breaker, especially if your photographer feels confident in their abilities. However, if you feel strongly about adding a second shooter to your package, most photographers have connections within their community and can source one for you so you don’t have to worry about that!
What is their pricing?
When choosing a wedding photographer, their pricing should be the least important factor in the grand scheme of things. Remember, this is coming from me, a past bride who had to prioritize things in my budget, too! Of course, I recognize that weddings can be very costly and you likely have an allocated budget, which is totally normal and recommended. If you find that your dream photographer is anywhere from $500 to $1000 over your initial budget, inquire about payment plans! It never hurts to ask, and most photographers will be more than happy to accommodate to make the investment more comfortable. If not, then it might be worth re-budgeting another aspect of your day. I know this may be easier said than done, but I promise, it will be worth it!
Don’t be afraid to choose your date based on your dream photographer!
To conclude this blog post, I want to leave you with one more tip: don’t be afraid to choose your wedding date based on your dream photographer’s availability. To be honest, I was 100% set on booking my photographer before I even knew her prices. I had two potential wedding dates in mind, and I waited until after I inquired with her to make any final decisions. That is how passionate I am about having the perfect person document my love day!
Ready to book your Vancouver Island wedding photographer?
If that’s me, then I can’t wait to connect with you! To inquire with me about photographing your wedding and ask allllll the fun questions, you can reach out via my contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out a recent elopement-inspired blog post to view more of my work!