As the old adage claims, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is doubly true when it comes to wedding photos. You know you want the day to be documented, but how do you go about finding the right photographer who not only knows how to capture your good side, but can also intuit what scenes will be the most important? You don’t need to be a creative director to ensure your wedding is properly captured. And luckily, you can do all of your research from the couch (or bed).
When Should You Actually Start Planning Your Wedding Photos?
A photographer is one of the first vendors you’ll want to book immediately after securing a venue and a date — at least a year in advance, says Philadelphia-based wedding photographer Kelly Giarrocco. Because there’s an increased demand for weddings post-2020, she says if you’re getting married during peak season, you’ll want to lock in a photographer pretty early on. Some of Giarrocco’s clients have even presented her with three potential dates their venue has open to see if she’s available for any of them.
But what if you don’t even have a potential photographer in mind? Social media is your friend. Giarrocco says she, like many other photographers, updates her Instagram far more frequently than her website, so searching though local wedding hashtags is where you’ll find the most up-to-date work. Then, check out their portfolio to make sure their style fits your growing vision. For example, do you want a less-posed look to your wedding photos? You wouldn’t want to book a photographer whose portfolio is full of super staged images.
Once you reach out to a few photographers for a consultation, make sure their personality matches yours, Giarrocco says. “It’s really important that, first of all, you connect with the photographer’s style of photographs, but almost more importantly, I think having a personality connection is really important because usually you spend more time with your photographer than you spend with your future partner [on your wedding day].”
How It Worked IRL
Planning a wedding during a global crisis was tough, but Facebook was a saving grace for 28-year-old Susana, who got married in Glen Burnie, Maryland this April. Her goal was to hire an all-Latina vendor team and through a local Puerto Ricans in Maryland Facebook group, she was referred to her photographer. Having testimonials from trustworthy sources within her community (and not a faceless online review) gave her confidence in the vendors she hired. Although she loves the images, Susana wishes she’d allowed the photographer to hire an assistant for the day. (In order to keep costs down, Susana opted for her photographer to fly solo.) “One person can't really handle it all,” she says. “I have a bunch of pictures of me getting ready, and my girls, just at the venue. There’s no pictures of my husband getting his tie put on.”
The Best Hacks To Cut The Hassle
Don’t worry about putting together a shot list, Giarrocco says. “I actually prefer when people don’t have a shot list because it allows me to enter into their wedding day with less expectations of what it will be,” she says. “It allows me to photograph it as it is.” When you avoid putting focus on specific moments, it gives the photographer freedom to make every moment the most important, from guest interactions to each kiss. But you do want to ensure you’re able to see a full gallery of a wedding your potential photographer has shot to get the scope of how they capture a day, Giarrocco says. “That way, you really get an idea of what the final product will be and what their style is in all different lighting.”
Kelly Giarrocco, Philadelphia-based wedding photographer