How to Pick a Wedding Photographer


Being someone that works in a photo studio if there is one thing I am getting to know it is photographers. I am very lucky to be surrounded by amazing photographers on a daily basis, but realized that not all of us have this luxury! I get advice on how to pick photographers, how to style shoots, what kind of questions to ask…etc. I figured I would share with you my process and what I have learned when picking the Photographer for our wedding. Step One: Set Budget

Like when planning a wedding the first thing you need to do is set a budget! So when doing that you need to split up where those funds will be allocated, ie: Photographer, DJ, Venue, and Decorator, Invites/Save the Dates.  Once you know what you are able to spend on a photographer than you can start looking for that person!

Step Two: Film or Digital


I am a sucker for film. I love the look of it. I do think it’s somewhat of a novelty these days, and hipsters are eating it up, but so many apps and programs are trying to emulate the look of film! Film has a very clear advantage over digital in natural light. Film THRIVES in that natural light. There is just such character in film. I simply love this overall “filmy” look – the bright, clean colors, the pastels, the soft muted tones, the subdued highlights, and the grain – all of it. So, what’s the downside to hiring a film photographer? It costs more.  If you are hiring a fine film photographer they can costs thousands more than hiring a digital photographer.

The photographers we chose to go with were The McCartneys. Their approach to photography is 'fine art film.' I had seen so much of their amazing work, they are pretty well known in this area, but I never really thought we would actually book them! I knew they would be more expensive then a digital photographer, being that they are film and incredible! After talking to so many people that agreed that the photographs are the only thing from your wedding (besides your marriage hopefully haha) that last a life time. It is also like an 'experience' with them, they sent a package (you can see it on my  instagram) with an incredible wedding inspiration book, fine chocolate, and a list of vendors the recommend. It made the fact that I am getting married, seem all the more real, and I super appreciated it. They also just have such contagiously happy personalities; they are so fun to be around! We love to just get together with them and have puppy dates with their amazing dog Parker and our amazing dog Harper!

Here is some of their work:

The McCartneys

The McCartneys

The McCartneys


Most people are used to digital and feel more comfortable with digital. That is what most of our cameras are and what our phones shoot. I work with photographers that shoot digitally and there shots are just incredible as well. If you want saturated colors, bright hues, and no grain digital is the way to go. If you are concerned about budget you may want to go the digital route

Most the photos you will see on this blog are by Andi Stempniak. She is a great photographer that I work with and she also shoots weddings. She shoots digital and even though she isn't shooting our wedding (I wanted her to be a guest) I do work with her on the blog and she is great at helping style and give advice along the way! She gave super helpful styling advice for our egagement session, which will be another blog post :-)

Here is some of her incredible work:


Step Three: Decide if you Prefer a Second Shooter

One thing that was a priority for me, and I would urge you to consider, is hiring a photographer with a second shooter. Andi Stempniak shoots with a second shooter and the McCartney's are a husband and wife duo! Being someone that works on a lot of photo-shoots having a second shooter makes things go much smoother. They can help with set up and take down and any assistance the photographer may need. I am also a HUGE fan of candid and having a second shooter ensures you will get more of those candid shots! Some photographers charge more, of course, if they offer a second shooter, but I think its completely worth it!

Step Four: Engagement Session?

Again, if you are concerned about budget, some photographers include an engagement session if you hire them. At first Mike and I were not going to do the engagement session thing. It was just a hassle to us, and another expense, but after talking to The McCartneys we decided to do it. We had our engagement session this week actually and it was so much fun! When deciding to do an engagement session, I asked what their thoughts were, and the one thing that sold me on it was the fact that you get to know the photographers and you get used to interacting with one another in front of the camera. I want the wedding day to be perfect, so it's like a great practice session!

Step Five: Check their Availability and Hire Them!

Once you have all these questions answered and know who you'd like to go with check their availability ASAP. Some photographers have their years booked solid. You want to make sure you get your preferred photographer. We booked The McCartneys right after we got engaged basically a year and a half before the wedding. So many people think I am crazy for all my advanced planning but if you are going to use your engagement session for save the dates you want to make sure to get those enough in advance so you can get those saved the dates out 8 months before your wedding!

Stay tuned for our engagment pictures! I can't wait to share them with you all! You can find a behind the scenes teaser on my intagram! Also, make sure you sign up to receive my email to get updates on the wedding planning process as I share everything I learn along the way.