Here in Colorado, and in many other places throughout the US, you’ll find a plethora of wedding photographers. Page after page of google listings, instagram feeds showcasing beautiful work, and I bet almost every one of your friends is, or knows someone who is, interested in photography.
So what do you do to successfully navigate the photography market that seems to have too many options?
7 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Colorado Wedding Photographer
1. Decide on a photography style you like
When it comes to wedding photography style, there are several main categories: lifestyle, photojournalist, and editorial.
Lifestyle photographers are focused on making your images appear similar to how you would view the experience in the real world. They’re not overly creative, but they’re about preserving genuine moments between people at a medium-close range. Most lifestyle photographers do a fair amount of directing to get reactions and connections.
Photojournalist photographers don’t do any directing what so ever. They’re flies on the wall, photo ninjas, and most won’t even move a chair into better lighting if a client doesn’t put it there in the first place. Photojournalists are about using what is given to them and finding a way to tell the most captivating story.
Editorial photographers like to think of each shoot as a creative art project and are constantly pushing their creative and technical skills to deliver something unique to their clients.
Most wedding photographers (myself included!) are a mixture of all three styles, depending on what is happening during the day. For example, during the getting ready portion of the day I take a more photojournalist approach with some lifestyle techniques. I move close and far away, looking for moments and stories, but I don’t do much directing. I will, however, try to set up the best lighting scenario for myself, so I’m not afraid to move furniture and request that someone gets dressed in a certain location that I think will make for the best photos.
The key to figuring out this part of the equation is to decide which photography style you like most and find a photographer who incorporates a lot of this in their work. If you really love the editorial style, then find photographers who mostly do editorial style work. They might use other styles too, but make sure they excel in the style you value the most.
My big focus is on lifestyle and photojournalistic wedding photos. I’m about moments and connections and people and I love looking for layers that tell a bigger, more complete story of your wedding day.
2. Decide on an editing style you like
Just like photography styles, there are several editing styles when it comes to wedding photography. The current trends I see in the market are dark and moody, bright and airy, and vibrant and colorful.
The current trend popular in a lot of Instagram inspiration accounts, is a focus on dark and moody images. Personally, I’m not a fan of this style as I don’t think this style is realistic to a particular experience. I prefer photos of beautiful colorful flowers to actually look vibrant and colorful. However, I know there are plenty of people who do like this style, so if this is you, make sure you look at photographers who produce work in this color pallet.
Bright and airy photos are often attributed to a “film” look (yes, film like all cameras used to use!). Many photographers who use this style are either exclusively film photographers or hybrid photographers, meaning that they use both film and digital and then edit their digital photos to look like film.
Vibrant and colorful editing often focuses on maintaining true to life skin tones and true to life colors. There are usually minimal changes to the color spectrum, they focus on natural white balance, and they bump up the vibrancy of colors to give them a little “pop”. I happen to LOVE color, so I yes, THIS IS ME!
I am a colorful colorado wedding photographer to the core.
3. Search for photographers who fit your preferred photography and editing style and contact them!
Once you know what you’re looking for, it will be easier to sort through the options and say a quick “yes” or “no”.
Use keywords to search for photographers based on what is important to you. I think searching for your venue is a great way to get started. But you can also search by theme (i.e. intimate wedding photographer, colorful wedding photographer, vail wedding photographer). If you’re working with a planner, tell them the style of photography you’re interested in and let them give you some recommendations.
I would recommend picking 5 or 6 of your “yes” photographers to do some more research about. Look through their entire site, read their “About Me” pages, and check out their pricing.
Contact the 2 or 3 that you’re most excited about. Sending out too many contact inquiries at once can get overwhelming and make it hard to keep things straight in your head once you start meeting with people. But if you take it in small groups, you can keep things organized and really focus on getting a sense of who each photographer is.
This is me. I wear a lot of cameras and rock weddings in purple pants.
4. Set up a time to chat
Once you’ve confirmed your 2-3 are available on your wedding date, set up a time to chat with them. Many photographers and couples are choosing Skype or FaceTime to connect these days because there is a sense of ease and comfort with this method. The phone is also a great option.
I personally prefer Skype because it lets me connect at more convenient times of day. I have young kiddos so bedtime is a priority in our house! Using Skype means I can jump on after the kiddos are in bed. I also love Skype because I get to see the people I’m talking too.
Some people prefer to meet in person and that is okay too. Do what you’re most comfortable with!
During your conversation, get to know each other a bit. Yes, talk about your wedding. But also talk about yourselves. Give the photographers you’re talking with a sense of who you are as a couple. On your wedding day, your photographer is the vendor that you will spend the most amount of time being around, so make sure you feel comfortable together. You’ll also get the most out of your photographs if you can relax and let your photographer do their job, so developing trust and understanding early on is so crucial!
5. Consider your budget
Budget is a very real consideration when planning for a wedding. I encourage you to get a sense of a photographer’s pricing before you contact them so you don’t end up talking to someone who costs $10,000 when you have a budget of $4,000. But don’t harp on the numbers until you’ve talked with your favorites. There are a myriad of photographers at a variety of price points and each has very good reasons for charging what they do (cost of doing business, volume of weddings they photograph, experience in the industry, etc). Decide on what you’re comfortable with within the options of your top choices and weigh the budget against how sad you would be if you weren’t able to work with someone.
As an intimate colorado wedding photographer, I recognize that not every wedding is going to fit into a pre-determined box. That’s why I offer four tiers of pricing and am happy to discuss custom options for smaller elopements and weddings.
6. When you get a good feeling–go with it!
It is soooo easy to keep doing research and more research and more research. As we pointed out at the top of the post, there are tons of photographers out there so your search could be never ending. If you talk with someone that you really click with, just take the plunge. Don’t over analyze, just follow your gut.
7. Follow up with the photographers you don’t hire
To me this sounds like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of people who just stop responding to emails. From the photographer side of things that’s a pretty tough place to be in. We’re small business owners, trying to plan out our annual calendar and income and it’s often gut wrenching to know that we’ve put a lot of effort into a communication chain that just dries up.
It’s okay if the answer is “no, we decided to go in another direction”. We know it’s nothing personal. But having that closure is so important for us, so please, send us a quick email once you’ve made up your mind, one way or another :)
I hope you find these tips helpful as you navigate Finding Your Perfect Colorado Wedding Photographer in a very saturated market! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the process. And, of course, if you think we’d be a good fit (I’m an intimate, colorful Colorado wedding photographer) —get in touch!