How to find a local wedding photographer in 5 steps

You know the craziest thing about planning a wedding? Always feeling like no one else has ever planned a wedding before!

You are totally not alone.

Yes, your wedding should be uniquely about you and your partner, but that doesn’t mean you have to make every decision in a vacuum! 

So, if you are looking for a photographer for your wedding, I have tips for finding a local wedding photographer in 5 steps. 

wedding party walks through woods at round barn wedding
Large wedding party because thats how you roll

HOW TO FIND A LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STEP 1: EXPLORATION

Talk with people you trust.

Talk with your friends who were recently married, your cousin who is planning a wedding, and your coworkers.

Ask them about their experience with wedding photography! Ideally, they might have some recommendations to share.

The most important part? Listen to what mattered to them – was their photographer trustworthy, do they regret focusing on price,, do they love the style of photography they chose?

I’ve never heard anyone wish they had spent less money on photography, but I do often hear about photographers that didn’t listen, or that made people feel weird in poses – think about what matters for you.

Mantra for this step: think about how you and your partner want to feel on your wedding day as well as the photographs you want to cherish when its all over! 

HOW TO FIND A LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STEP 2: BUDGET

Yeah, of course pricing will be a major factor.

The reason it isn’t the first factor is simple – you probably have never hired a wedding photographer before: how do you know what is worth a splurge and what is worth saving on?

Now that you have more info, go forth and put together a rough budget!

The average for most professional wedding photographer to cover the day of your wedding is generally $3000-$5000 depending on extras. Some less experienced photographers will be able to come in closer to the $2000 range.

Mantra for this step: Most people don’t wish they had spent less money on a photographer, but everyone has a budget – find a good number for you and your partner! 

silhouette of bride touching groom's face against sunset at voyageur wedding environmental center mn
Sometimes, it all lines up just right, like this silhouette that is perfect.
flash composite wedding party in cellar of 7 vines vineyard wedding mn
This flash composite wedding party photo combines is 12 photos layered into one dramatically lit super portrait.

HOW TO FIND A LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STEP 3: LIST BUILDING

Taking the list from step 1 and your rough budget from step 2, start making a list of photographers who you would like more info from.

Besides word of mouth, you can look through online reviews or local rankings from expertise.com or Peerspace. Three Best Rated is a company that lists the top three companies based on reputation for any particular category.

Mantra for this step: find trustworthy people and then trust their opinions! 

Kissing in the new year in minneapolis
The temperature never got above zero, but they still kissed in the new year!

HOW TO FIND A LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STEP 4: COMPARISON

Now its time to look at a lot of photos and have some feelings about them!

Take a look at the websites and Instagram accounts for your lists. Are there photos that draw you in, do you like the way they tell stories in general?

Imagine yourself and your partner in those images – would you feel natural in those poses? Strike any off the list that don’t feel like your vibe.

Imagine your locations – have you seen examples of photography in dark spaces? What do photos look like if it rains or is cloudy? What about inside at night? Most photographers can create great images when everything is going right.

Mantra for this step: A professional photographer captures great images when everything goes wrong! 

bride and groom in large booth of fitz restaurant st paul
Old school new school – this booth at the Fitz restaurant with Katie and Jason’s intimate wedding

HOW TO FIND A LOCAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER STEP 5: VALUE

Now you should contact the photographers you like most.

Most photographers will want to set up a phone call or meet in person to get to know you better, so perhaps start with your top 3 to get more information.

You might quickly be surrounded with a lot of packages and information about pricing and products and albums and extras!

Before you get caught in the swirl of info, go back to step 2 and have a good talk about your budget and what is important to you. You don’t want a photographer who can’t meet your budget, and you don’t want to waste the time of photographers if you don’t want to extend your budget.

For the best value, plan to hire the photographer you like best, regardless of how much “stuff” comes with their packages. You can’t recreate the wedding day, so you need a photographer who can get that right the first time around!

Mantra for this step: Get the photographer you like best instead of the photographer with the most stuff for your budget – you can’t take the photos again, but you can go back and add more stuff when the wedding is over!  

Don’t forget to enjoy your engagement and your wedding photography experience!

first dance loring wedding
becca dilley photography bio photo on stairs minneapolis

Looking to find a great local wedding photographer?

Hey – are you planning your wedding and looking for a photographer? I’d love to chat with you about all the things you are planning! Lets connect!