Finding the Right Wedding Photographer in Phoenix Arizona

January 1, 2020

Wedding photographer in Phoenix | Our Guide to finding the perfect fit!

Helping you find your wedding photographer in Phoenix | Stephen & Melissa

Wedding photographer in Phoenix and all over the country come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets. For most couples, your wedding photographer will be one of the biggest investments you will make for your big day. It is the only way you will remember your wedding day for the fifty-plus years you will be married! When your anniversary comes each year, you will reach to your wedding photos first to pronounce your love to your spouse on social media.

Aside from your anniversary, you will also likely go to your photo gallery for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bridal party members birthdays and several other holidays, especially when you have beautiful photos with that special person. That is why wedding photos are so much more than just the snap of a shutter, there is planning and coordination that go into every wedding day we photograph! For that reason it is so important to select the right wedding photographer(s)!

So you are thinking by now, okay, that’s great but where do we start? A good time to begin your search is right after you have booked your wedding venue OR have a solid wedding date in place. With most of our couples booking 8 to 16 months before your wedding, it gives you plenty of time to plan your wedding without a time crunch. Our hope is that these tips help guide you to choosing the perfect wedding photographers in Phoenix for YOU!

Wedding photographer in Phoenix, Stephen & Melissa

Budgeting for a Wedding Photographer In Phoenix

You can start your photographer search once you have a budget set. The best thing to do is figure out which aspects of the wedding are most important to you and budget accordingly! You can find a photographer no matter what your budget is, but the price range will vary based on package offerings, and experience! We will cover many budget ranges, but we have seen a standard pricing for Arizona wedding photographers to range from $1500- $5000; not including album sales. By comparison, budget friendly photographers can cost under $1000, and luxury fine art wedding photographers an upwards of $10,000 or more! That’s a huge range for one vendor so deciding on your budget before falling in love with one vendor in particular that may be out of your budget, is so important! Many photographers post their ‘average spend’ on their investment pages.

To find a budget friendly wedding photographer in Phoenix, you can try Facebook, Instagram, or a service we have used in the past called Thumbtack. Sites like Thumbtack allow you to enter a few details about your wedding and the photographers then pay for your “lead” and the opportunity to speak with you. It means the photographers who respond are serious about working with you and believe they can meet your budget. Keep in mind that you often need to do more investigation into each photographers work and background. Facebook can be a great place to locate them and you can try photographer centric groups to see who is available within your budget.

Finding a list of photographers that specialize in weddings is not a difficult task, and so many people use WeddingWire or the Knot. There are literally thousands of photographers on that site, the bigger issue is that it can get overwhelming pretty quickly! We remember back to our days of searching for a wedding photographer and having no idea what we should look for! Although those sites can be extremely helpful in many things related to weddings, some of the best photographers do not maintain a strong advertising presence on those sites. Their own websites often do a better job of conveying their services than what they can display on WeddingWire or the Knot. Doing a simple Google Search can be a good way to find the best in your area.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer in Phoenix & beyond

Photographer connection is our biggest and most important tip of this whole post! We can’t say it enough – choose a wedding photographer who matches your personalities above anything else. It is THE BEST way to guarantee not just incredible photos on your wedding day, but also an amazing experience. You can’t act like your joyous selves in front of someone who you don’t mix with personally or doesn’t know what your good side is. 😉 Your photographer will be with you more on your wedding day than your future spouse and everyone deserves to enjoy every second of their wedding day! We highly suggest connecting on a call to at least hear their voices. Our favorite meeting method is over Zoom because it allows for our couples to SEE our faces and we feel putting a face to the name is so helpful when making a final decision. If your spouse is hesitant to meet with the photographer, reassure them of the meeting’s importance to you, the fact that this is an investment that captures your forever memories! We want to make sure that your spouse is going to have a great day as well! It is so important for the photographer to meet you both because as business owners, they want to make sure that they can love and serve their couples well!

Wedding photographer in Phoenix, Stephen & Melissa

Many professional photographers have a curated style that they have perfected over their years of photographing weddings. Although some will vary with color tones, most have a consistent feel to all their work. We suggest taking a look on Instagram or Pinterest, a simple search of ‘wedding photography’ will flood your feed with every style of photography you can image. See what you are most drawn to!  If you aren’t sure or this isn’t a huge deal, then choose narrow your search by the photographers that you feel you connect the most with.

After you inquire, you will typically receive the photographer’s investment information. Photography businesses all tend to be apples and oranges to one another and pricing can be tough to navigate at times. If you aren’t sure about something in their pricing, make sure you clarify during your introductory call/meeting. Once you’ve met with a few photographers, it’s time to make your decision!

Looking back at our own wedding, one of our biggest regrets was not truly investing into our wedding photography. It’s part of the reason we became so passionate about wedding photography today! With that said, we post this blog not to convince you to hire us, but to convince you to invest in your wedding memories. No matter who you choose to capture you day, we want you to be confident in your decision, because we know it’s a big one. Consider all of the service options and what is most important to you. Ask all the questions you want! Remember the importance of this choice; and that you will be looking at your wedding photos for years to come.

Once you are ready, proceed with booking your favorite wedding photographer in Phoenix! Booking usually involves the payment of a non-refundable retainer to secure a date in your name. Many photographers can work out payment plans with you or provide some sort of flexible payment terms. For example, our booking process is 100% electronic, with the proposal, contract, and payments all done online. We require a 30% retainer to book your date and we can arrange payments any way you want, so long as the total is paid 30 days from your wedding.

Wedding photographer in Phoenix captures a bridal party cheering on a couple.

Service from a Wedding Photographer in Phoenix

Now that we’ve covered where to find your wedding photographer and the different levels, let’s focus more on service. Since this is where there is a clear distinction in what you receive, we will focus on the majority which is mid-tier photographers. We will continue with the assumption that some entry-level photographers will lack in some areas of service discussed below, and luxury photographers will excel in service beyond what we discuss.

How many photographers and what coverage do I need? – With coverage, we always recommend hiring two photographers if it works within your budget. Weddings are big events with a lot happening. Having two photographers present at your wedding is like an insurance policy that pays off with more photos! Full day coverage (8+ hours) is helpful when you want to be able to look back years from now and remember your wedding day exactly as it happened. On the other hand, hiring a more experienced photographer for a shorter time is a decent trade-off if you want to stay within budget and your photographer is willing to offer less coverage.  Many photographers will have a minimum amount of coverage for different types of weddings though. Since most photography businesses can’t be in two places at once, they may only offer longer coverage amounts on the prime wedding dates of the year.

Wedding photographer in Phoenix, Stephen & Melissa

How many photos do you deliver in a gallery?

Absolutely ask your wedding photographer to provide you with a recent full gallery so you can see their work up close. Some wedding photographers in Phoenix will provide only a certain amount of edited photos in a gallery and others will provide all they can. We strongly believe that all wedding photos are YOUR memories and they don’t deserve to be held hostage for additional payments. We deliver as many great photos as we can during any wedding day, they are all edited for our clients with no watermarks. Coverage and delivered photos are often directly connected with the amount you pay. Photographers spend so much more time editing photos than they do working on the wedding day. Some businesses believe that the fewer photos they have to edit, the more profitable they can be. Our goal is for our couples to be able to remember their wedding day just as it happened. We will deliver all the great photos we can and know our services well enough to charge the correct amount for our time up front. It’s so much easier for our couples not to worry about variable costs, and the same for us! We typically deliver at least 100 images per hour of coverage, and we’ve never had a couple say we delivered too many images! 😉

Wedding photographer in Phoenix shows detail images of a bride getting ready.

Can you help with a timeline?

Great wedding photographer in Phoenix know and understand that magic doesn’t happen randomly throughout the day as they carry a camera around. They plan in advance to make sure there is time for all the photos you want, without feeling like you are spending your entire day on photography! They communicate before the wedding about family formal photos, and will help create your day’s timeline to maximize your time together. If you don’t have a wedding planner, your photographer usually assumes that role in a sense, because they are by your side throughout the day and need to make sure that certain images are captured. They will help gently remind you when it’s time to move on to the next part of the day and be great stewards for your wedding.

Wedding photographers in Phoenix, Stephen & Melissa BTS

As a side-note, wedding planners are truly worth their weight in gold! The experience they bring in finding vendors, working within your budget, and designing the wedding of your dreams can’t be found anywhere else. Having a day-of coordinator can be especially helpful too for smooth transitions between events and to make sure everything stays on track. If you don’t have a day-of coordinator you will need to designate a friend or family member to make sure the vendors arrive on time, tell them where to set-up, and to make sure everything runs smoothly on your wedding day, something you probably don’t want to be handling. The coordinator is there to handle any issues that arise and in our experience there are almost always little hiccups on a wedding day no matter how much planning you put into it. We have seen so many coordinators handle these hiccups without the couple even being aware it happened. They are wedding day ninjas!

How long and how will my photos be delivered?

This answer can vary greatly between wedding photographers in Phoenix! The best of the best will be able to deliver a gallery of 1,500+ fully edited images to you in a matter of a week or two, and with a generous portion of the photos delivered only a couple days after your wedding. Some photographers can take months to deliver your photos. This is common with those shooting film, because they have to wait for prints/scans to come back, but if they’re shooting digital and it still takes them months, you may want to think again about continuing. Our philosophy is that after your wedding the emotions and excitement are the highest and you want to tell everyone you know so you have got to have a decent selection of images to post about your wedding to all your friends while the emotions are still there. We deliver a large selection of our favorite images from the day within 2 days after your wedding in an online gallery.

You’ll find it common across the board that most wedding photographer in Phoenix deliver online galleries these days. It is so much easier to share with family and friends and this should be expected at any price point. Prints can be included in a package or available for an additional charge. You may consider using a little of the gift money you receive from the wedding to purchase prints from the photographer (if available) for at least the images you want to hang on the walls of your home. Photographer’s prints are more expensive than Shutterfly, but will look better in frames with their accurate skin tones and color-fastness that lasts longer over the years.

Will you tell me what to do with my hands?

Ricky Bobby hands are a real thing! Your wedding photographer in Phoenix needs to be able to tell you both how and when you look good! Great photographers do not just take photos of you candidly through the day and all of those magical images you see on pinterest are most often directed. Some great photographers specialize in candid photos and are true magicians. The hard part about candid photographs is consistency. It is sort of like pausing a movie on Netflix, how often are they making a funky face? How often do the movie stars with perfect lighting and makeup actually look awesome when paused in the middle of talking scenes?!? By being intentional about our images, we have you looking genuine but also your absolute best! We remove all the awkwardness, because that’s the WORST!  This is why those amazing wedding photos you see plastered all over Pinterest are posed! Almost ALL of them. Great photographers can tell you how to feel and look amazing while also capturing your natural and genuine side. Trust us, it is only awkward for the first few minutes if your photographer is communicating well while making you feel comfortable and confident!

Wedding photographers in Phoenix, Stephen & Melissa

Our wedding photographer story…

As a final note, we feel like we need to have full disculose with this blog post. We paid $500 for our wedding photographer when we got married in 2015. We had no idea what we were looking for, what we wanted or that we could have an ‘experience’ aside from a random stranger capturing our forever memories.  Looking back, we got exactly what we paid for. He was not very experienced, but was pleasant to be around. He didn’t give any direction throughout the day and most of the photos felt and looked a little awkward. While we received a decent amount of pictures, the bare minimum was covered and it took him months to give the gallery to us leaving us a little frustrated. We still can’t go through our images and remember our wedding day as it happened with only a few images that we really love. Your photography is an investment into remembering the biggest day of your life and we didn’t know how seriously we needed to take that. Looking back, it is still our biggest regret and someday we will renew our vows and hire our dream photographer! It is one of the biggest reasons we are wedding photographers today and why we are so passionate about emphasizing the importance of your wedding photos. Everyone has a budget, and ours was the bare minimum, but had we known what our experience COULD have been, we would have budgeted more for our photographer. The difference between a great photographer and an okay photographer will shine through for YEARS to come and every time you walk past the images hanging on your walls. The investment will pay for itself over and over again as you relive one of the biggest days of your lives.

Thanks for reading and happy searching 💕💕

See some of our work here! Tayler + AustinShelley + MaxwellAli +James

 

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