Kaysha Weiner Photographer »

Researching and deciding on the right person to photograph your wedding is an important step in the planning process. With so many talented individuals to pick from, ranging in style, experience, and price, it can feel like an overwhelming task. Thankfully, choosing a photographer doesn’t have to be horrible chore, and by following these simple tip you’ll be able to find the perfect match in no time.

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Determine your Budget

Before you even start looking at photographers, it’s important to determine your budget. There is no point falling in love with a photographer’s portfolio to then realize they are $5,000 out of your budget.  Luckily there are talented individuals in all price ranges, so once you’ve set your budget, you’ll be able really begin your search.

Ask for referrals

A simple Google search can be a good place to start, but often time you’ll want to get personal referrals from friends, family and even other vendors. Be sure to use all your resources and ask around to those who recently got married. If you’ve already booked your venue, or started working with other vendors, don’t be afraid to ask them for recommendations as well. As vendors we’ve worked with a wide array of other professionals and can suggest companies that fit your style, budget and location.

Explore website and blog

A photographers website is your first impression of their work, so it’s important to take a look around. Read their bio, explore their galleries, and see their latest work on their blog (if applicable). Many times photographers will list their starting price, so look out for that, and be sure to really read the information on their site. This will give you a much better idea about their business, what it’s like to work with them, and an overall sense of them as photographers.

Reviews

A quick search for reviews can reveal a lot about your prospective choices, both the positives and negatives. Be sure to look into sites like Yelp and Wedding Wire to see what past clients have said. If you consistently hear the same adjectives being used to describe the photographer it’s a good indicator that these are traits you can expect to experience.

Contact

Once you’ve determined the leading contenders, it’s time to reach out via email and see if they are available for your date. If they are, then it’s the perfect opportunity to schedule a face-to-face meeting. Many photographers will also send you full pricing info at that time, make sure to read all the details so you’re prepared to ask them any questions or concerns you may have.

TIP: Most photographers book up 8 months to a year in advance so be sure to start researching soon after you’ve set the date and booked your venue.

Meeting

I’d recommend meeting with 3 photographers in person, as each will have their own style, personality and approach. Someone can seem like the perfect fit online, but this meeting will really give you a look into what working with them would be like.

Were they late to the meeting with no phone call to let you know they got stuck in traffic? Did they seem disinterested or insincere? Did you like their personality, or did you not click?

These are all important things to keep in mind since you’ll spend a large portion of your wedding day with your photographer. If you already find them annoying during a 30-minute meeting, that’s a good indicator they may not be the right fit for you.

Ask To See More

It’s a great idea to ask your prospective photographer to view a full gallery from a past wedding. If you are having a church ceremony, ask to see a gallery from a church. If you’re having a garden reception, ask to see something similar. Locations play a huge part in the overall esthetic of your wedding, and the lighting between a church and garden ceremony will be very different. You want to make sure you photographer has experience with those conditions, and that they are producing work that you love.

Not Everyone is Equal

Every photographer prices himself or herself differently, and although it might be tempting, you can’t compare apples to apples. Just because two photographers price themselves similarly doesn’t mean they will give you the same final product, experience, customer service, and attention to detail. Keep these things in mind as your considering your top choices. It’s not just about the photography, but the overall experience each person will bring to the table.

Does it take several days for them to respond to your emails? Are they clear about when you can expect to see your photos? Do you get an overall sense that they will take care of you in a personal and professional manner?

Trust your gut

When you’ve weighted all the pros and cons, it really comes down to choosing the professional who you believe is the best fit. Don’t stress out about your decision, photography is one of the many aspects of your wedding day; so don’t be afraid to trust your gut to help make the final call.

Be Nice

So what about the photographers you didn’t choose to work with? Don’t forget that behind every business is a person, who deserves to hear from you. Even though it might be slightly uncomfortable, be sure to let any vendors you’ve contacted know that you have chosen to go in another direction.

Speaking from experience, it’s extremely disheartening to follow up with an inquiry or meeting to then be ignored. Taking that minute to say “thank you for your time, but your services are more than we’ve budgeted for” or “we appreciate you meeting with us, but after much consideration we’ve decided to move forward with another photographer” is the considerate thing to do. Letting us know you booked someone else won’t hurt our feelings, and but avoiding us will.

I hope you’ve found this information useful, and that these suggestions help lead you to your perfect photographer.

  • Rachelle - Great tips!

Hello 2014! I can’t think of a better way to kick off the year than with a shiny new engagement shoot, which was actually my last session of the year – wahoo!

When I first met Louisa and Josh over coffee, I was instantly stuck with what sweet people they were. Plus Louisa ordered a root-beer float, so I know we would get along well! ;) We chatted about travel, food, photography, and I became more and more excited about getting them in front of my camera.

For their engagement session we spent a glorious winter afternoon in Laguna, and I’m absolutely in love with the resulting photos. Balloons + bubbles + lots of pretty light = photo heaven!

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  • Rachelle - What beautiful engagment photos! Love the soft winter light and beautiful natural backgrounds!

As the last hours of the year come to a close, I am filled with a lot of different emotions. 2013 has been quite the adventure. I moved to a new city, shared my first year of marriage with John, traveled to places both new and old, and did some serious soul searching in the process. I like to think of 2013 as a year of transition for me, it was a time to grow as a person, stretch myself and push past the boundaries of what I thought was possible.

In the process I was able to meet some truly incredible couples, families, wedding professionals, and new friends. Each and every one of you have left an impression, made me fall a little bit more in love with photography, and allowed me to continue living a dream. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your love, support, and trust feeds my soul, and keeps me strong with the road gets rocky.

A HUGE thank you goes out to my wedding couples. You made me laugh, cry with joy, and allowed me into your lives in a very special way. Thank you for making 2013 such an incredible year!

Aubrey & Eric’s Los Angeles LDS Temple Wedding

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Tara & Christian’s Queen Mary Wedding

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Camarie & Brandon’s Brookside Equestrian Center Wedding

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Carolina & Jeffery’s Weins Family Cellars Wedding

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Maggie & Anthony’s Alta Visa Country Club Wedding

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Elizabeth & Eric’s Coto Valley Country Club Wedding

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Maribeth & Scott’s Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara Wedding

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Lauren & Joshua’s Coto de Caza Gold and Racquet Club Wedding

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Jamie & Cameron’s Griffith Observatory Wedding

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Katy & Chris’ Nixon Presidential Library & Museum Wedding

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Christine & Rainer’s Old Orange County Courthouse Wedding

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Natalie & Ryan’s St. Regis Monarch Beach Wedding

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Karrie & Chris’ Diamond Bar Center Wedding

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Lara & Jesse’s San Clemente Back Yard Wedding

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Elizabeth & Sean’s New Year City Wedding

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Lynn & Peter’s Summit House Wedding

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Michelle & Gabriel’s Portofino Hotel and Marina Wedding

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Stely & Mark’s Westin Pasadena Wedding

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Marieanne & Myles’s Westin South Coast Plaza Wedding

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Andrea & Jimi’s Wayfarers Chapel Wedding 

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Here’s to an even better 2014 for you and yours! xoxo

Wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very wonderful holiday season! A quick reminder I’ll also be on a bit of hiatus from December 20th - December 27th to rest, recoup, and spend some quality time with family and friends. I’ll still be answering emails, so please let me know if you need anything in the meantime, cheers!

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With Christmas only a week away, and the malls swarming with shoppers it can overwhelming to get those last minute gifts together. If your anything like me, I’ve been avoiding shopping like the plague. The parking lots alone are enough to make a grown man cry.

So to help with your sanity, I’m offering gift certificates for you and your loved ones. The gift of a photography is not only unique, but a keepsake to help remember those most import to us: our families.

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These gift certificates can be used anytime throughout the year, and are perfect for families of all ages. Contact me if your interested in picking up this perfect gift!

  • Rachelle - Photography is a gift you will never regret!! I would love to get some gift certificates for locals who deserve beautiful pictures of themselves! :)