Six Tips to Find an Authentic Wedding Photographer

Published 03/29/2022

 

RI Wedding Photographer standing with the bride and groom in front of the State House
Ben and Meagan married in Providence, Rhode Island

 

Your relationship isn’t like anyone else’s. It’s a one-of-a-kind blend of two one-of-a kind people. 

Your wedding photos shouldn’t look like anyone else’s photos, either. 

That’s where an authentic wedding photographer comes in. 

What do I mean by that? Well, just about anyone can manage to take a technically competent photo, if they try hard enough. These photos often wind up feeling “cookie cutter,” as if anyone could have stood in for you. These flat, generic photos may record the day itself—who was there, what your dress and flowers looked like—but they miss so much.

An authentic wedding photographer brings a depth and originality to their work that transcends technical perfection. They capture the spirit of the day—and of your relationship—in a way that feels fresh and true. When you look at your wedding photos, the memories come flooding back.

 

Authentic images bloom from an authentic relationship

The foundation for wedding photos that you cherish starts in your relationship with your photographer. 

From decades of experience, forming a personal connection with your photographer is one of the number one predictors of how happy you are with your photos. 

That’s because, unlike your caterer or florist, who make a delivery and then leave, your photographer will be by your side while you dress, kiss, and eat. Do you want to spend the most anticipated day of your life shadowed by someone who makes you a little uncomfortable? A photographer you feel completely at ease with, who feels like a new best friend, and who shares in your joy, is going to help you relax and banish self-consciousness, so your true self radiates in the images.

 

Authentic wedding photographers love weddings

While many weddings have traditions and similarities, the joy in being a wedding photographer comes from the unique details and the love story of each couple. We love our job because each wedding or event is really an opportunity to tell a new story and create one-of-a-kind art for our clients. 

You can tell your photographer loves weddings by the little details. We’re so in tune with what really happens on the big day that one bride called me the “bridesmaid I didn’t know I needed!” At a recent wedding, the sewing kit I keep in my bag came in handy for the bride to sew a broken strap back onto her daughter’s dress. And we’ve driven grooms to the reception when the transportation company was running behind. We love what we do and these real moments are truly a fun part of the job.

RI Wedding Photographer at RoseCliff with Bride and Groom
Margaux and TJ married at Rosecliff in Newport, Rhode Island

Find the Right Fit: Six Tips to Find an Authentic Wedding Photographer 

Now that you know how important it is to find a photographer who brings both technical skill and creative vision, and to establish a connection that will make sure you’re thrilled with your photos, we have a few tips for how to find the right fit. 

 

  1. Make sure you meet the photographer who will be shooting your wedding

While we are the sole or main shooter for our clients, other photography businesses contract with additional photographers, or have sales reps who do the booking work for a larger staff of photographers.

Make sure you identify who will be shooting on the day of your wedding, spend time chatting to make sure you click, and that you see their portfolio. If they can’t tell you in advance who your photographer will be, or you can’t meet your photographer prior to your wedding day, we consider this a glaring red flag—so keep looking.

 

  1. Ask them to share their approach to photography.

While there’s not a right or wrong answer here, their answer will give you insight into their process and creativity. Do they work strictly off a shot list and have a predetermined idea of how they pose couples? That doesn’t leave much room for connection and spontaneity. 

While you don’t want your photographer to completely “wing it,” listen for clues in their answer that their process includes flexibility and candids. Rather than posing you (flashback to prom photos, anyone?), an authentic photographer will be able to direct you in ways that feel natural, confident, and beautiful. They will also be prepared to react to the spontaneous moments that bubble up throughout your joyful celebration. 

 

  1. Examine their portfolio. 

Along with checking out what’s on their website, ask to see a selection of photos from a complete wedding. Notice what details the photographer catches, and whether the images showcase a couple that looks natural and full of emotion, rather than stiff and awkward. Look to see whether there is variety between weddings—does each wedding look like a carbon copy? Or do the images reveal the personality of each couple?

 

  1. Read reviews.

The testimonials on a website will give you a good flavor of what the photographer excels at—but they’re a curated selection. Wherever possible, find additional sources of unbiased reviews, like Google. Look for reviews that overflow with emotion about the day itself, from clients who can’t stop gushing about their wedding photos.

If you see one or two critical reviews in a sea of glowing recommendations, take them with a grain of salt; but if the overall big picture exposes a photographer that didn’t listen, didn’t connect, or didn’t follow through on what they promised, cross them off your list. 

 

  1. Listen to your gut. 

We all have that gut feeling we get when someone just feels right. When you stop thinking of your photographer as a vendor and start to think of them as a friend, that’s a clue that you’ve found someone you can trust with your memories.

 

  1. Take them for a test drive

Having your photographer shoot your engagement photos is a win-win. You’ll  get to see how we work behind a camera while we get to see how you work in front of one. Not only do you build a connection before the big day, but your photographer also gets to learn more about you as a couple, about how you like to be photographed, and about what makes you comfortable and brings out your best smiles.

 

Invest in images you’ll cherish

Working with an authentic wedding photographer who you have a strong connection to is an investment in images that will move you. Capture passing moments in fine art images that preserve your memories forever. 

We’re so lucky to work with people we come to love—who invite us back to be their photographer for all the important milestones in their lives. 

Do you think we might be a great fit? Get started on our wedding page.