When to Book a Wedding Photographer

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When it comes to planning your wedding, you probably have a million questions. I mean, after all, planning a wedding isn’t something that you do every day. One of the questions you are probably asking yourself is when to book a wedding photographer. 

Well, as a wedding photographer myself, I have a bit of insight into the planning process and when in the process you should start looking for your photographer. As someone who has worked in the wedding industry for over 14 years, I have more than a few tips I would like to share to help make sure your wedding goes exactly as you planned. 

So, let’s dive into when to book a wedding photographer and who to book before them!  

A bride and groom pose on a vast, manicured lawn flanked by statues, with the expansive greenery and distant trees creating a grand backdrop. ​

Who to Book Before Your Wedding Photographer? 

So, before you look into booking your wedding photographer, there are one or two vendors that you can look at booking first. Most of the time, the first vendor that you are going to book is your venue. 

Why? Your venue is going to dictate a lot about your wedding. Most importantly, it will dictate your wedding date. That information is important to have before contacting, and falling in love with, a photographer. 

Venues tend to book out very far in advance, so you want to make sure that you secure your date as soon as possible.

Once you have your venue and date secured, you are all set to start the process of finding your wedding photographer. If you are bringing a wedding planner on board, this would also be the right time, as they will help you to organize the process of searching for and hiring the rest of your vendors.

If you are hiring a wedding planner, they may also have some recommendations for trusted photographers that they can recommend to you. Of course, at the end of the day, it is going to be your choice, but they may be able to point you in the right direction. 

Regardless of if you have a wedding planner, you shouldn’t look at booking any other wedding vendors before you have your photographer secured! 

When to Book a Wedding Photographer? 

Now that you know your photographer needs to be at the top of your to-do list, when should you actually book one? Is there a certain amount of time you should have them locked in before the wedding? 

Based on my experience, I strongly encourage couples to have hired their wedding photographer 12 months before the wedding. There are a few reasons why you should look to book them this far in advance (which we will talk about in a bit), but you definitely don’t want to wait until the last minute to book your photographer. 

This is especially true if you are planning your wedding in a peak season as they are likely to book out pretty far in advance and just like your venue, you don’t want to miss out on your dream photographer.

A couple shares a kiss while holding hands on a forested path, surrounded by lush greenery, in an intimate outdoor setting.

Why Book a Photographer Far in Advance? 

Aside from photographers being potentially booked out, why should you book one so far in advance? Well, there are a few reasons. 

First, you want to give yourself enough time to find the right photographer. If you start looking for your photographer 3 months before your wedding, you are probably going to feel rushed and pressured. 

You won’t be able to take the time you need to do research on the different styles of wedding photography, really get a chance to look through the different photographers that you could potentially work with, or figure out exactly what you want in your package. 

Second, you want to have the chance to take engagement photos with your wedding photographer before your big day. This is something that is such a bonus for more than one reason. 

If you book your photographer far enough in advance, you’ll be able to plan your engagement session so that you are able to use the photos in your save the dates and wedding materials. 

So, not only will you get pictures to use for your wedding, but you’ll also get photos to remember this special time. 

The same couple framed through a life preserver reading "Seaport Elite II Boston," smiling as they hold each other, with the harbor visible in the background.

In addition to that, you’ll also get the chance to step in front of the camera and get comfortable with your photographer before your wedding day. This is such a bonus and something that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

For the most part, your engagement and wedding photos are probably the first time you will be getting professional photos done together as a couple. As much as I’d love to tell you won’t be nervous or uncomfortable, at least in the beginning, odds are you will feel a bit uneasy. This is completely normal.

The engagement session helps to work out these nerves beforehand. It also helps to figure out what you do and do not like before your wedding day. You’ll get to see how your photographer operates, and figure out what poses you want to do at your wedding or what you are comfortable trying without it being as high pressure as your wedding day. 

Your photographer may also have some helpful insights when it comes to planning the rest of your wedding.

This means that they may be able to help with things like your timeline and give recommendations for other vendors that they have worked with in the past. 

Finally, I know I mentioned it before, but it is worth it to mention again, sometimes photographers just book out far in advance. There are only so many weddings that they can be at on any given week and once a date is booked, there’s really no getting around it. 

So, you want to make sure you are doing your research and reaching out to photographers as soon as possible. You don’t want to feel like you are scrambling or like you are missing out on what you really want because it is just too close to your wedding date! 

Final Thoughts on Booking a Wedding Photographer 

Hopefully these tips help you as you plan out when to book a wedding photographer. When it comes to timing, the earlier you can reach out the better. Not only is it going to give you more time to do your own research and figure out what you like (and more importantly what you don’t like). It will also give you a chance to get comfortable with your photographer before your big day. 

If you are ready to start your own search for your dream photographer, I’d love to chat. Capturing your wedding day as it unfolds in an authentic way is one of the biggest reasons why I love being a wedding photographer and I would love to be a part of telling your story. 

You can learn more about all of my wedding photography services here or you can reach out to me here if you have any questions or if you are ready to start planning out your own dream wedding!

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