© Sarah Crail

6 Tips to Help with Wedding Photography Planning

With everything that goes into your wedding day, those once-in-a-lifetime moments will go by in a blur—which is why hiring a professional wedding photographer is a must. After all, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether your photographer will be able to capture your big day.

So, what’s the key? Prepare yourself so that you can accurately evaluate the “right” photographer for you. Follow these six tips to help you plan your wedding photos like a pro:


1. Book far in advance.

The best wedding photographers get booked quickly, sometimes as much as a year in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your photographer, especially if you want to have your first choice. Photographers need you to have a date confirmed, so book your venue, and then book a photographer as soon as you can. Most photographers will require a deposit to hold the date so be sure to budget accordingly. A professional photographer will provide a contract that outlines the services that will be provided and the costs.

2. Show them the money.

Now is not the time to skimp on your photo budget. Call around and get a price range for services and remember: when the cake is long gone, the flowers wilted, and the dress stored away, your wedding photos will be the only thing left to remind you of that special day forever. Roughly 12% of your overall budget should be allocated to a photographer (The Knot).

3. Make sure your photographer is a real pro.

Only hire someone who has experience taking the style of photos you want, backup equipment, liability insurance, and a plan for last minute changes such as weather and venue changes. Ideally, the person you hire is a PPA photographer. PPA photographers have the technical expertise and artistry to make you look your best and bring your vision to life.

4. Request to see a full gallery of real weddings.

Ask to view an entire wedding album or gallery to see a photographer’s true style and get a sense of how he or she might tell your “story.” Look for how they capture all the things that are important to you: emotions, relationships, and personalities… all the things that make your family unique.

5. Work with your photographer to create a detailed shot list.

PPA wedding photographers can also help you create a shot list as they know what key moments tell a wedding story. Make sure you have a pre-wedding consultation to talk about your vision, must-have images, day-of schedule, and walk through the entire program with your photographer ahead of time. Share your expectations ahead of time to ensure that your vision becomes a reality. If you have a wedding planner, be sure they are included in on this meeting.

6. Plan for the deliverables and understand the timing.

Ask your photographer about their delivery schedule. You might ask things like:

  • Will they post a teaser or a “sneak peek” right after the wedding?
  • When will your full set of images be ready?
  • Will they give you an online gallery to proof?
  • What and how will they deliver the images?

If contracting an album, ask about the process as well.

  • When will you start working on it?
  • How many changes can you make?
  • How long will it take for the album to be delivered?

Communication is key. The more you know, the more realistic your expectations will be and you can avoid any unnecessary disappointment.