9. Simple Steps to Choosing Your Mountain Wedding Photographer | Lake Tahoe Edition

9 simple steps for Choosing your mountain wedding photographer | by Lake Tahoe Photographer Jon M Photography
Photo by Jon M Photography

Bride have many reasons for choosing to have a destination wedding in the mountains, one of which is the stunning scenery the mountains offer. To ensure you'll remember both your wedding and the amazing scenery for years to come, it's crucial that you book an experienced wedding photographer that knows how to best capture your wedding and the beautiful location it's held at.

1. Go Local

In Lake Tahoe, local wedding photographers understand the unique beauty and challenges that working at such a destination has to offer. They live in the area, so they know when the light is best, they know where the best vista are for portraits, and they know how to deal with unexpected mountain weather. This is true for mountain wedding photographers in other areas, too. Each destination comes with its own beautiful characteristics and challenges, and you will always be better off working with wedding photographers that spend a lot of time there.

2. Find Your Style

Your first step is to decide what kind of wedding photos you like. Spend some time online just looking at random wedding photos. Pinterest, Flickr, and other websites are good for this. Go into this with an open mind, and just look for photos that have that wow factor for you. When you go through enough photos you will start to see a pattern emerge in the photos you like. There are a lot of vintage photos out there that have a light pastel look, there are others that use lights and have a more vibrant color like our own. You may find you like a lot of artistic posed shots or more candid photojournalistic shots. Knowing your personal style will help you find a photographer that you absolutely love, regardless of your budget!

3. Make Your Initial List

Once you know the style you are looking for it is time to start gathering a list of photographers. Go to google and search a term such as “Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographers”, or “Lake Tahoe Weddings”. Open a handful of photographers websites simultaneously in different tabs. This way you can quickly go through multiple sites. You will immediately see the wedding photographers best work. If you are unimpressed close that tab and move on. When you find a photographer you like add them to your bookmarks, Evernote or to a Pinterest board you set up specifically for your destination. Do this until you have at least 3-5 photographers you like.

4. Don't Just Focus on the Highlight Reel

You want to make sure the photographer you choose can consistently capture every aspect of a wedding, from the details, to the ceremony, to the final dance party. Now that you've narrowed your search to a few photographers selected, go through their work and see how they capture both the moments of the day, and the location. Go through individual weddings and see how they shoot them from start to finish. If wedding photographers don’t have complete weddings in their portfolio this may be a sign that they are inconsistent. The last thing you will want is to have someone who will do good photographing getting ready shots, but not deliver on your portraits, or vice versa.

5. Figure Out Who Fits Your Budget

Now that you have narrowed your search to a few wedding photographers whose work you adore, it is time to contact them. Most brides send an email to request availability and rates. This is a good thing to do. When you have your quotes narrow the search even further to what packages you like best and what fits in your budget.

6. Read Online Reviews

While you’re waiting to hear back from the wedding photographers it is a good time to read reviews on them. Visit sites like Yelp, and Google+. You will be able to see what people both clients and colleagues think of working with them. Look for comments about the experience peers have in working together as well as brides reviews of the quality of their work.

8. Set up a Skype Account, STAT!

Lake Tahoe Weddings are often far from our clients homes. Oftentimes, clients don't get to visit the destination very much before the wedding. If you can't meet with your vendors in person, consider setting up a free Skype so you can get some quality face time with them. The phone works too. Do this early! Many of mountain wedding photographers book up a year in advance, so you may not want to book your photographer first, before you've even secured your venue or bought your dress!

7. Schedule a Face to Face Interview!

Your next step is to call at least 2 photographers, this way you can compare how well you like each of them. Email them to set up a time to talk or skype, this way everyone is prepared for the conversation. Have a list of questions and thoughts about your wedding that is important to you. A few good questions to ask are:

  • “How do you work on the wedding day?”
  • “How long does it take to get my photos?”
  • “How many photos can I expect to get?”

9. Be Clear About Your Expectations

In addition to asking questions, just take the time to talk to the photographer about your expectations, and things that your excited for. This will help you get to know them better. See how natural the conversation flows. This is a very important step in hiring your wedding photographers. You will be spending all day with them and you want to make sure you will get along with them on the most important day of your lives.

By following these 9 steps you will do a great job in ensuring you get wedding photographers that you both enjoy being around, and who’s work and services you will love.