-By Hunter Lewis

Here we go! This is my first blog post ever and hopefully the dawn of something I have wanted to get into for a really long time; even before I owned a business. That however, is a story for another time. Most likely you are here because you happened to find this article that one of my clients or friends shared. Or maybe my novice SEO skills have somehow helped me land this in front of you while searching for the answer to a question that so many brides before you have asked. How do I find the right photographer or videographer for me? Well Today I am hoping to shed some insight into this question; at least when it comes to a wedding photographer or videographer. Although I do believe this information to be applicable in many realms of photography.

So where do we start on the journey of finding the perfect wedding photographer or videographer? Personally I believe all newly engaged couples should start by really nailing down a budget for their entire wedding. There are a ton of articles online that discuss the average cost of a wedding; a lot of which will go as far as breaking it down by state. According to The Knot the lowest average wedding cost could be found in Utah at just under $20,000 and the highest average wedding cost was in New Jersey at just over $53,000. I think this information can be helpful for maybe figuring out some ballpark expectations, but by no means does your wedding have to sit anywhere within this price range. I have personally shot weddings that were well over $1,000,000 and I have shot weddings where just about all the couple paid for was photography and the clothing that they wore. So take this information and do with it what you will, but what is really important is finding out the budget that works for you and whoever may be helping with the cost of your wedding. Once you figure out this number then you can start really looking for the right vendors. There are also a ton of articles that will break down the average cost of particular vendors and the percentages of your budget that should go here and there, but I am going to skip this step. Figure out your budget for photography and videography and then begin looking for your vendors. Some of us photographers and videographers will share our pricing on our website and some of us won't. I personally jump back and forth between sharing it and not sharing it, but either way it should not be hard to find out what a particular photographer or videographers prices are. And now that you know what you are willing to pay for these services we jump to the next step.

Find a photographer or videographer that fits YOUR STYLE. In today's world of photography and videography us professionals are usually branding ourselves in 1 of 3 categories. "Light and Airy", "moody", or "true to life". Whether we directly tell you what our style is you will be able to find that out from our work. Hopefully! I am not going to go into all of the details of these categories so you will have to look those up yourself. Your goal is to figure out which of these styles is the most aesthetically pleasing to you and what you think might represent you the best. PRO TIP: Never ask a photographer or videographer to match your style. You are choosing us based off of the portfolio you have seen of our past work. We are artists and we are creating work that represents us in a way and brings our characteristic to art that we are creating for you. Find a photographer and videographer that already fits your style and your personality.

Once you have figured out how much you can spend and what style of photography and videography you are looking for you really gotten the two hardest steps out of the way. Now you can cross out 2/3 of the photographers and videographers out there because they don't match your style and what you are looking for. So now you go on your search. Google, instagram, referrals, Facebook, and now a days even Tik Tok can all be super helpful for finding creatives. Hop on these platforms and find one that fits your style and then ask for their availability and price. I am going to save a huge chunk of info here for another blog post; so let's skip and ahead and assume we found someone that fits our price and budget.

Now it is time to take the time to get to know your potential photographer or videographer. This is something that is often overlooked. I have experienced this many times myself as a professional. I get that sometimes you find someone whose work that you love, and they're in your budget, and they are available and then you are just ready to book and move on. However, I believe it is so important to at least have a few phone calls and get to know your photographer or videographer. Even in my busiest seasons I try to prioritize making questionnaires for clients or making time for consultations instead of email exchanges because I believe wholeheartedly that knowing more about a couple can make the day go so much smoother. Take the time to get to know them. Some of these conversations can make or break a wedding day. Some people's personalities just don't go well together. Some brides need the type A photographers and planners that are running the show all day long and keeping everyone on task. And then some brides would feel so uncomfortable with someone telling them what to do and how to do it all day long. The easy thing about this step is that none of us professionals should have any issue sharing a bit about our personalities and if you have a brief list of questions to ask ahead of time this could make it go even more smoothly.

Finally, you want to find the photographer or videographer that can deliver what you are wanting with your photos and videos. This definitely segways into a whole other blog post of expectations vs. reality, but it is important to figure out what you are wanting for your final products and make sure that your photographer or videographer has packages that can accommodate that. A lot of us or willing to do some sort of custom package that truly will cater to you as our client, but personally I believe you should be looking for photographers and videographers that offer packages that are spot on for you. You want to know ahead of time "Do I want an engagement session?" or "do I want a full ceremony cut?" Questions of this nature can really help you find the right photographer or videographer. And If you don't know what you want necessarily just ask!

I hope you found this information insightful and that it helps you find the right professionals for your big day.