A Principled Approach to Selecting a Wedding Photographer

When Kate and I were looking for photographers for our wedding in 2009, we were overwhelmed by the number of available photographers with different styles & pricing packages. And that was in 2009! Fast forward to today, with social media and the accessibility of the wedding photography industry, the options can seem even more daunting.

After photographing over 100 weddings in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, I’ve gained insights that I wish I had when we were searching for our own photographer.

Instead of a detailed step-by-step guide commonly found on wedding blogs, I want to offer a principled approach to help you make an informed decision.

Related Post: Before diving in, if you’re interested in learning about wedding photography pricing and packages, I’ve covered that in a separate article. Be sure to check it out!

For now, let’s focus on the principles of choosing a wedding photographer.

Bride and groom embracing in front of a classic car.

The Principles of Choosing a Wedding Photographer

The Value of Photography to You

This principle is about balancing what you value vs. cost.

Get clear about how much you care about photography. The value you place on wedding photos should be balanced with what you’re willing to pay and who you hire.

This decision can be emotional or a transactional one. Some people just want “good photos” while for others, it’s like finding a soulmate. A transactional decision is obviously much easier and cost effective. An emotional one is much more complicated so keep reading.

I was in the “just want good photos” camp for our wedding. Unfortunately, that lead to a decision I regret today.

The Photographic Style That Appeals to You

This principle is about ensuring that your vision aligns with the photographer’s creative abilities and confidence in their artistic skills.

Did you know there are different wedding photography styles and aesthetics? If you’re me in 2009, I didn’t either.  All styles & aesthetics looked the same to me but subconsciously some appealed to me more than others.

From traditional & posed, emotive & hipster, to documentary & candid, there are myriad styles. There are also different aesthetics such as light and airy, high or low contrast, warm or cool tones, dark & moody, film emulation, clean edit, etc. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them, but you probably will subconsciously be drawn to one. That’s a good thing! Because style and aesthetic are so subjective, let your inner (or outer) artist direct you.

When looking at these options, ask yourself:

  • Can you imagine yourself in these photos?
  • Can you imagine looking back 50 years from now and say, “this was us!”
  • Will these styles and aesthetics represent who you are?
  • Are these images just following current trends? Will they stand the test of time?
  • Does the wedding photographer’s style and aesthetic fit the vibe of your wedding?
  • Are the photographer’s full wedding galleries consistent?

The Chemistry Between You and the Photographer

This principle is about trust.

You might not realize its significance at first, but the impact of your photographer on your wedding day is huge. Your connection with them is crucial! Their personality, demeanor, and competence will greatly impact your wedding day experience. If you don’t click, it can lead to discomfort and frustration which will show in your photos.  Plus, they play a major role in keeping things on track and ensuring that a big part of the day runs smoothly.

You’re entrusting them with capturing the precious moments of one of the most significant days of your life. They’ll be stepping into your sacred space on a sacred day, playing a pivotal role in ensuring a stress-free timeline and interacting with your family and guests.

Just as in any job interview, don’t shy away from asking tough situational questions. For instance:

  • Ask them to give specific examples about how they handled difficult situations during weddings.
  • Seek examples of how they address client requests and complaints.
  • Ask them what excites them about photographing your wedding.

Through these questions, observe cues about their maturity, problem solving skills, inflated ego, timidness, professionalism, experience, and above all, their genuine care for you.    

Final Thoughts

Looking back, I wish I had known these principles when choosing our wedding photographer. Despite our instincts telling us otherwise, we hired a photographer who struggled to navigate the beautiful chaos of our wedding day. Our photos didn’t meet our expectations. While some beautiful moments were captured, many more were missed. On top of it all, I found myself worrying about it throughout the wedding day. That’s a rotten feeling to carry on the wedding day.

I hope these principles guide you in your wedding planning journey. Remember to trust your instincts and prioritize what matters most to you.

Best of luck in finding the perfect wedding photographer for your special day!

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I am a Seattle Wedding Photographer

Hello, Friend

I've been photographing weddings around Seattle and beyond since 2009. I do this because I truly love the art of photography and making people happy. Your reaction to seeing your photographs makes my day. My photography style is inspired by years of travel to faraway places with my camera in tow. I will bring the same curiosity and artistic approach to your wedding day.

If my work inspires you, I would love to have the opportunity to photograph your wedding. 

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Tony Asgari

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