Hooray! You’re looking for a wedding or ceremony photographer!
First thing you do? Head to the internet, of course! The internet is a wealth of information; this should be super easy.
You go to Google and type in “Chicago wedding photographer.” Approximately 40,100,000 results are returned.
So you scan the first page of photographers. Then the second. Then the third. You open up promising websites in a new tab. Your browser expands, filling up with options of potentials. Or, maybe not. What if after the third page you have no options??
Whether you have 17 options open or 2, this guide to choosing a wedding photographer (written by a wedding photographer) lays out step by step what you can do in your hunt to have your wedding day documented exactly the way you’re imagining.
Step 1 – Research
While Google is the first step that many think of, there are also some other avenues you can take first. And there are also ways to use Google to your full advantage.
Anyone you know who has gotten married recently can be a great source for vendors. Ask them what photographer they used and if they liked the service they received and why. The “why” is important.
For example, maybe they loved the way their photographer(s) told them exactly what to do and how to pose and where to stand for every picture. If that’s something you want as well, great! But if you’re wanting a photographer who stands back more and lets the scene unfold without much direction, you may want to continue your research.
There are also many specialized wedding blogs that cater to different personalities. Are you a quirky kind of person, planning to do things a little non-traditionally? Check out Offbeat Bride. Are you wanting to keep things simple and more toned down? Look into A Practical Wedding. Gay or lesbian? I recommend 4real equality weddings.
These blogs all have vendor lists, or you can use the search tool on the blog to see if weddings in your area have been featured. Finding a photographer through one of these resources means that you’ll find someone who fits into your definition of your day.
Defining who you are and what type of wedding/ceremony you’re having can go a long way in helping you narrow down the vast field of photographers (and other wedding services) out there. Plus, these types of blogs have tons of other great information to help you with your planning.
Once you decide what defines you in terms of your celebration, you can return to Google with your new knowledge. Instead of searching “Chicago wedding photographer,” you can search for “Fairy tale wedding photography Chicago,” or “Kick ass wedding photographers in Chicago,” or whatever else suits you.
Searching for “kick ass chicago wedding photographer,” by the way, turns up 2,680,000 results. When you narrow down your search terms, the first few pages will hold more relevant information for what you’re looking for. There’s no need to spend hours of time sifting through every, single, option.
Definitely experiment with different search terms, too. Certain searches may pull up many results, but none that are actually helpful. Keep thinking of different ways to define who you are, and go explore!
P.S. Keep in mind your choice of photographer (and other services as well) may be limited by your venue. While not every venue has limitations, certain venues only work from a set list of vendors. If you have a few ideal venues, it may be worth checking if they have a list of vendors they work with.
Part 2, How to Use a Photographer’s Website, will be up shortly! Check back for the link.
If you have any questions about research, or if you have your own tip about research, feel free to contact us and let us know!