Choosing a photographer can feel overwhelming.
But this was written to take away the overwhelm by giving you some super practical guidelines to narrow down your search. You can totally come out on the other side feeling confident about your decision.
1) Find a photographer you feel like you could be friends with. You may be thinking, why does this matter, I just want pretty pictures! And I get it - it doesn't really make sense to prioritize your photographer's personality over the quality of their images. But here's the deal - if you feel uncomfortable and awkward in front of the camera, your photos are going to look...uncomfortable and awkward. If you feel stressed about how stressed your photographer is (or how laid back they are), your images will show that stress. You want to find a photographer who can capture your truest self and bring out the best in you. That's how you get those beautiful photos. So I think the most important thing to consider before hiring your photographer is a super basic question: do you like them? Do you vibe? And a great way to figure this out is to request to grab coffee or FaceTime (if they haven't already offered). This way you can find out what it's like to hang out with them. You can ask yourself, "would I feel comfortable with this person watching me share my most intimate vows with my partner?" Or "Would this person make me feel at ease on one of the most exciting days of my life?" Because remember, your photographer is there to capture the emotion you're feeling when you're marrying your best friend. So it's super important to choose someone who won't distract or take away from the main thing.
2) Find a photographer who knows the area well. When you are deciding on the location of your elopement, it can really help to find a photographer who knows all the ins and outs of the area (and good back up locations if things don't pan out). Knowledge of permits, locations with the best light, an understanding of how different places look and feel at different times in the year, are very valuable bits of information. For example, certain waterfalls in Durango can be pristine and sparkly blue in July but nasty brown mud water in April. Certain locations in Telluride can be packed with tourists in June but empty and private in November. So to be able to trust that no matter what, you'll get those beautiful and authentic photos because you have a knowledgable photographer is priceless. This can put you at ease on the day of your elopement (and all the days of planning leading up to it). And remember - the better you feel on your elopement day, the better your photos will turn out.
3) Find a photographer who offers you what you need. Everyone's needs are different, so it can sometimes be a challenge to find a photographer who has everything you're wanting. For example, if you're flying into Durango and getting a little compact rental car, but you want to elope 8 miles up an off-roading trail in Silverton, you might need a photographer who provides day of transportation (and who owns a high clearance 4wd car). You may also need help with getting your florals delivered, finding vendor recommendations, or just simply planning your elopement. Different photographers offer a variety of options for your day, so it never hurts to just ask!
4) Find a photographer whose editing style you trust. Hiring a photographer based on their instagram feed can be a little risky. Because not too shockingly, we only post the best of the best of our work on there. So make sure you get a chance to look through their portfolio and see how they shoot in a variety of different light settings. Scroll through full albums of their work so that you get a feel for what your photos will look like.
Hopefully you now feel like you have the tools to narrow down the search for a quality photographer! If you have more questions, I'm always happy to answer, just click here!