I may be bias, but hiring a wedding photographer for your special day is essential. You want to be able to look back on those memories for years to come, right? The best way to do this is with a good wedding photographer and maybe even a videographer if you want some video action too. This begs the question though – when is the best time to book your wedding photographer? You don’t want to wait too long because you risk not getting one at all due to them being booked up, but you also don’t want to jump the gun and book way too early. Here are my tips to help you book your ideal wedding photographer and make your wedding planning a little easier.
12 Months Before: Book Venue & Wedding Photographer Research
This should go without saying, but the first thing you should do before finding a wedding photographer is find and book your venue. Wedding venue booking needs to happen at least 12 months in advance, especially if you’re getting married in the warmer months when wedding season is full on. Take Palmetto Bluff for example – this community is a hot spot for outdoor weddings in the spring, summer, and fall, so if this is your dream location, you have to book as soon as you can.
Most don’t think about this, but another reason it’s smart to get your wedding venue picked out and booked first is because the location and type of venue can help drive your photographer search. If you decide on a beach wedding, you’ll want to search for a photographer who has experience shooting on the beach and dealing with weather conditions and outdoor lighting. If you’re going with a church venue, you’ll want to use a photographer who has experience shooting in a church or indoor setting where they are maneuvering around the constraints of being inside in a tighter space.
That being said, I suggest right after you book your venue 12 months out, you at least start doing photographer research. This doesn’t mean you’ll book right away, but this gives you time to understand what your options are and start interviewing said options. There are all sorts of avenues to begin researching such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and a good ol’ Google search. You can also ask your wedding venue (or planner if you have one) if they have a list of photographers that have shot at their location before. If they do, this is a good starting point because you’ll know anyone on that list at least has experience in that exact venue.
Now that you’ve done your research and talked with some of the photographers on your list, when do you pull the trigger and book?
10 to 9 Months Before: Book Your Wedding Photographer / Videographer
Ten (I’ll even give you nine) months before your wedding is the ideal time to sign on the dotted line and book your wedding photographer and or/videographer. Ten or nine months at the latest – you hear me? 🙂
At ten months from your special day, you’ll know your venue and still have several options to choose from after you’ve done your research, so this time frame is ideal. Again, you don’t want to jump the gun and book too early, such as before you even have a venue, and you don’t want to book too late and miss out on the good photographers. In my opinion, ten to nine months out from your wedding is just right. This also allows you to do thorough research after you book your venue because not only do you want to like your photographer’s style and picture quality, but you also want to mesh with them and enjoy them as a person. You’ll be spending A LOT of time with them on your wedding day and not only that, but you’ll be putting a lot of trust in them too. If you start the research at the 12 month mark after you get your venue, you’re giving yourself two to three months (plenty of time) to do research before you have to make the final wedding photographer decision. And I always say, you’re going to want time on your side when planning your wedding.
If you’re planning your 2020 or 2021 wedding I’d love to hear about it and help you through the photographer process – reach out to me anytime!