How to Pick Your Wedding Photographer | 6 Steps to Find Your Match

February 16, 2022

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For most couples, choosing a wedding photographer is up there on the priority list. So, you type in “wedding photographers near me” and away you go, right? Knock one thing off you’re your wedding planning list. Before you do that, remember that photography is the best way to preserve, cherish, and relive your special day again and again. Photos bring your story to life as you reminisce with friends and family. They’re a sweet reminder of your vows and commitment to one another. You might use a wedding photo as a romantic addition to your bedroom or statement piece over your mantel.

If you have the right photos. 

When we tied the knot, my husband and I invested quite a bit in a trendy wedding photographer, only to be left with a handful of almost-good ones. The rest were tilted and cropped to fit whatever the trend was at the time—not something we wanted to display above our bed or mantel. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you. So, before you Google “wedding photographers near me,” here are my top recommendations for picking a wedding photographer you’ll love.

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A Better Way to Find ‘Wedding Photographers Near Me’ | 6 Steps to Finding Your Match

Have a budget in mind.

Then there’s the mid-level $4,000-$6,000 wedding photography. These photographers have established businesses (which means taxes will probably be included as well). But you typically know what you’re getting. They’re experienced with lighting and a variety of wedding day situations.  

Finally, you have the luxury or premier wedding photographers. Not only are you paying for photo quality, you’re paying for their artistic eye, professionalism, and industry-savvy expertise. They’re confident in taking the reins, collaborating with planners, connecting you with other industry professionals, knowing your venue, fulfilling your vision, working with people, and guiding your poses. You can trust a luxury-level photographer with your wedding day as opposed to a lower- to mid-level photographer who may take great photos but will need more direction from you. 

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Find a style you like.

Wedding photography typically falls somewhere between two ends: 

Light and airy—photos are bright with lower contrast and softer lines and colors; whites can sometimes be a bit blown out, which is a trend that phasing out a bit.

Dark and moody—on the other end of the spectrum, this style has lots of contrast, shadows, and lines to evoke more emotion (hence the moody). It often works well with standalone portraits, and it sometimes portrays a bit of a vintage feel.

Classic and True-to-Color–our wedding photography style is classic with some color pops mixed in. It’s a style that you’ll love as much tomorrow—or ten years from now—as on your wedding day. It is what you see on our website, and it’s an authentic representation of your day. We stay true to color—no weird orange or green hues. We also balance in-the-moment photojournalistic images with traditional wedding portraits so you have variety.

bridal portraits; Dawn Marie Photography

*Watch out for going too trendy because you may not know what you’ll get. 

Nail down your venue and date.

At Dawn Marie Photography, we propose a customized wedding package just for you. Our time and pricing recommendations are based on your venue and date. After chatting, we’ll propose a package based on your needs. However, it’s challenging to give an accurate proposal if your venue is still up in the air. (Your venue and ceremony time determine how many hours of coverage you’ll need, what time you’ll need the photographer, and how long they’ll be there). You may have to tweak a few things later, but at least we’ll have a good point to go from. This is one of the differences between a premier wedding photographer and a less expensive photographer—your wedding day has to fit into their pre-set packages. We can customize one for you.

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What you see on Instagram or Pinterest are the best of the best, edited highlights wedding photographers chose to feature. It’s a highlight reel. But it doesn’t show you what the rest of the day looked like. You don’t want to end up with a handful of great images and a bunch of less-than photos from the rest of the day. Part of wedding photography is telling the full story visually from start to finish. Be sure to check out full galleries or their online wedding portfolio. If they don’t have one readily available, request to see 2-3 full weddings. You can view our engagement sessions and weddings here.

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Schedule a call.

After an inquiry, we set up a call to get to know you, and you get to know us as well. If all the other boxes are checked, it’s equally important to make sure personalities mesh. If they don’t, one party may find themselves frustrated on the wedding day, and you don’t need that. You deserve someone who will make your day easy, fun, and seamless—someone you truly enjoy working with.

We schedule a call with every inquiring couple to chat about your wedding and the timeline. We want to meet you and hear about your vision as well as provide a personalized proposal.

For example, we won’t give you a 6-hour proposal if you’ll be changing locations because we don’t want you to miss photos from part of your day. Instead, we’ll listen to your plan and offer a personalized 8-10-hour proposal and provide the most accurate pricing for what you need.

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Ask: What is the turnaround time? How will photos be delivered? Will I have the rights to their photos/will they be watermarked?

This way, you’ll know what to expect. Some photographers have couples pay extra to remove the watermark, and you don’t want that to come as a surprise.

For an engagement session, our turnaround is 2-3 weeks. Couples will receive their wedding photos around their one-month anniversary. You’ll get a link to your online gallery you can download and use as you like. The gallery also has an online store if you want to print through a professional printer, or you can go elsewhere if you prefer. 

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Find Wedding Photographers Near Me

Tying the knot in or near North Carolina? Maybe downtown Charlotte or the Blue Ridge Mountains? Inquire about our engagement and wedding photography services here, and view recent sessions by Dawn here. I hope this guide on how to pick your wedding photographer helps you find your perfect match! Congratulations on your engagement!

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dawn walsh

Dawn started her career in fine art wedding photography in 2012 on the foundation of genuine connection. She provides comfort for her clients through her down to earth personality and playfulness that allows them to show genuine interactions and emotions with one another in front of the camera. Capturing the essence of their relationship and the love they have for each other, with an editorial composition.

At home, Dawn is a wife and mother, living on a ranch in North Carolina. Spending quality time with family and dear friends, traveling, and having experiences is what drives her. Her family also fosters children and is active in fighting for all foster kids and their needs. 
Being able to have fun with her family, travel and share experiences is all because of the blessings God has given her and never taken for granted.

© dawn marie photography 2022

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