One of the most important decisions you will make about your intimatewedding ceremony is the photographer. Small weddings and elopements have unlimited opportunities for sweet moments and customizations. These moments are what celebrate the essence of you, your partner, and the life you are creating together. They are the moments you will want to remember forever. A professional, experienced wedding photographer will capture these memories flawlessly and one who is experienced in smaller ceremonies will know what to look for without you telling them.
But how do you even begin the search for a photographer who is the right fit for your small and intimate wedding? The prospect can be overwhelming. One simple Google search will tell you there are hundreds to thousands of wedding photographers in your city alone, each of them with their own unique style. How do you go about narrowing down the search to match your vision (and budget) to their style and talent?
While there are endless amounts of details to keep in mind when hiring a wedding photographer for your small ceremony or elopement, here are a few key elements to consider when making the choice that is perfect for you.
KNOW YOUR STYLE
Are you planning a small ceremony with 25 people or less? Are you planning for an intimate elopement? Consider the overall style you envision for your special day. Do you like fun and color or do you lean more classic and timeless? Whichever your vision is, have that nailed down before ever running one search online. You want to make sure that the photographer you choose is on the same page as you and gets your vision. And in order to do that, you will need to know and be able to articulate what you want.
MATCHING BUDGET TO VISION
Hiring a good photographer can be one of the larger investments that you make on your big day. It’s important to understand what your budget is and how much of that you are willing to dedicate to capturing images that you’ll cherish for years to come. The best place to start is to do research at the forefront. Find wedding photographers in your area who have their rates posted publicly on their websites so you can get a general idea of the cost and know where to start.
CONSIDER YOUR VENUE
One of the best things about planning a small ceremony is that your venue options significantly increase when you need less space. Are you planning on getting married outside? Do you have a small, cozy venue indoors with dim lighting? Will there be more guests in attendance beside yourselves and your officiant? What about special elements to the small ceremony itself? Are they local to that area or will they be unfamiliar with the surroundings? Do they seem familiar with shooting weddings in the same environment your ceremony will be in? You want to be sure to do your research and look through their portfolios to determine if they have the right experience and style to recreate the kind of photo you want for your wedding day.
CONSIDER THEIR ADDITIONAL SERVICES & PACKAGES
It’s easy to get laser focused when searching for the right photographer for your small wedding, but don’t let that stop you from thinking about additional elements you may wish you considered later. Do you want to include videography on your wedding day? Do you want to have an engagement shoot prior to the ceremony? All of these thingsare worthwhile and valuable to keep in mind. If you do want these things, it will be wise to hire the same person or team to do all of them so that they have a consistent look and feel throughout. Also using the same photographer for engagement photos will help build your relationship prior to your wedding day when there are a million details and things happening at what feels like the speed of light. You will feel more relaxed and will have a foundation of trust that will allow you to stay present during your big day knowing that your memories are in capable hands.
KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK
There are so many questions to ask when hiring a photographer for your wedding and we’ve mentioned a few of them here. However, there is one that you shouldn’t skip.Just as much as you need to have a good feel for their style, equally important is how they like to approach the wedding and the events for the day. Do they meld into the background capturing candid moments or are they in the action creating moments throughout the day? Remember that it’s not just about the images that they produce at the end of the day, but the experience that they provide you and your guests.
Finding the right photographer for your wedding can feel like a daunting task at first. If you struggle jumping in, don’t forget there is value in your network and those who have been in the industry before. Leaning on the experiences and recommendations of those you know and reputable professionals in the wedding planning industry can be the bestplace to start and give you the support needed to find the absolutely perfect wedding photographer for your day.
Jessie Erickson has been writing professionally for almost 10 years and currently resides in the Midwest with her husband and two small daughters. Once a bride herself, Jessie is passionate about leveraging her own experience to bring relevant and creative ideas to busy brides in the midst of planning their own weddings! Whether you choose to elope or throw a party for your family and close friends, she's got you covered with all the facts you need to create the most perfect day for your small wedding