Melissa is a wedding, elopement, and lifestyle photographer specializing in photographing candid and emotion filled moments with her clients.

 Based in Sonoma, Napa, and San Francisco Bay Area. Available for travel worldwide.

How to Hire a Wedding Photographer and Why it’s so Important


Oh man, proposal season is upon us and people are BOOKING up vendors and venues and all of their dreams are coming together and it’s all rainbows and butterflies.

Just kidding.

Hiring wedding vendors is STRESSFUL and truly a little nuts. You’ve got meetings and proposals and contracts and deposits and site visits and all of the things. It’s a lot, I get it. So, to hopefully aid in a little relief for you guys I wanted to write up a couple pointers for hiring your wedding photographer because I know how hard it can be.

  1. Do your RESEARCH.

    I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research. I don’t just mean on wedding photographers themselves; I’m talking about style, pricing market, aesthetics, experience, etc. You will most likely be investing a large chunk of money into your wedding photographer and there are several things you should be prepared for.

    • First, figure out what type of STYLE of photography you LOVE. A few examples can be things like:

      • light and airy (this is describing the lighter tones and airy feelings in images),

      • moody (this is for darker, more emotional images and pull on rich deep tones/colors,

      • classic (this is for photography that is crisp, true to color, and even in exposure/lighting, and

      • vibrant (describes punchy colorful imagery).

    • Next, learn about PRICING standards within your wedding area by talking to different photographers or friends/family that have recently been married. For example, California pricing is typically higher than some other states due to things like cost of living and demand.

    • Hit up Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc and look at a lot of images. Figure out WHY you love certain images and why you don’t. What is it about them that draws you in? Is it colors/tones? Is it emotion? Is it the lighting? Is it the composition? This will help you narrow down photographers to reach out to because you’ll start to learn what you actually LOVE about certain images.

  2. TALK to different photographers.

    • Inquire with them once you narrow down why you love certain photographers over others. Ask them QUESTIONS. Photographers love talking about why they do what they do – seriously. Ask us any and all questions you can think of! But – don’t forget to give them details about YOU as well! We care about who you guys are and what your story is! Tell us all the things! The more details you can give us, the better!

    • Make sure you have a connection with them and that you actually LIKE them! I always FaceTime with my potential clients because it allows all of us to get to know each other face to face. Do we connect? Do we vibe with each other? I don’t just want to book a wedding, I also want to create a trust/friendship with my clients to ensure we’re on the same page and comfortable with one another – THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!

  3. Go with your GUT.

    • After talking with photographers and getting to know them and reviewing pricing and making a decision, you’re going to be handed a contract. READ IT. I can’t tell you how important this is in ANY aspect of your life, but when you’re hiring someone to perform a service for you, you should truly UNDERSTAND what is going on. We want you to! Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something or if something makes you feel weird. We won’t be offended! More often than not we’re ecstatic that you’re actually paying attention! We want to protect not only ourselves, but also you guys!

  4. Don’t waste your TIME.

    • Photographers book up QUICKLY! We typically book 6-14 months in advance (some photographers even earlier) and we get SO SAD when we can’t work with you. Once you’ve settled on a venue GET TO WORK! Do not waste any precious time unless you’re willing to do things a little less traditional and have a weekday wedding or a less popular wedding date over the off-season (Nov-April).



At the end of the day hiring people can be stressful and we get it! Ask questions, follow your gut, and be honest with your vendors and things will work out! Now get to work and if you need anything – REACH OUT!


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