With all of the excitement and anticipation that comes with planning your wedding, the day finally comes and passes more quickly than you'd even imagine. While you should absolutely savor every moment, one thing is certain: you'll want to relive it forever. The best way to draw value from all you put into your wedding day is to make these moments tangible. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right wedding photographer...

1. Book Your Venue First

Whether it's the Biltmore Estate in Asheville or the Olympic National Park in Washington State, make sure you secure your wedding location before hiring a photographer. It's essential to have the date and location locked in. Aim to book your photographer around nine to twelve months before the big day.

2. Find Your Style

Take some time to explore different photography styles and find what speaks to you. Maybe you love vibrant and colorful shots, or perhaps you're into that dreamy, vintage look with softer tones. Do a little research and find a few photographers whose style matches yours. Shoot them an email to check their availability and get an idea of their rates. If they fit your date and budget, move on to the next step.

3. Interview Potential Wedding Photographers

Now, it's time to have a chat with the photographers on your list. They'll usually send you a portfolio beforehand, but make sure it includes full wedding coverage (like this, this and this), not just a highlight reel. During the meeting, ask about who will actually be shooting on your wedding day. Some studios have a team, so make sure you see the work of the specific photographer(s) who will capture your wedding.

4. Discuss the Investment

Ask the photographer for their costs and what's included in their packages. Some photographers offer all-inclusive deals with albums, prints, and high-res images, while others have a flat or hourly rate where you can add on a la cart items. Ask about how long they'll be there on the day (around seven to nine hours is ideal) and whether they'll bring a second shooter for coverage. Don't forget to ask about timelines too. When can you expect sneak peeks (some photographers deliver a handful in just a few days), full gallery (usually within a few weeks), and your final album (which can take a few months)?

5. Make Sure You Mesh

Personality matters! Look for an honest, organized, and friendly photographer who will be by your side all day long. It's important to feel comfortable and have a good connection with them. You and your partner should genuinely like this person and feel like you're on the same wavelength.

6. Schedule a Test Run

Consider scheduling an engagement photoshoot with your photographer. It's a fantastic opportunity to get to know each other better and get comfortable in front of the camera, especially if you're a bit camera-shy. The engagement session lets you build trust and capture beautiful shots before the big day arrives.

By following these steps, you'll find the perfect wedding photographer who matches your style, budget, and vibe. It's all about preserving those precious memories in a way that feels just right for you.

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