Red Flags to Be Aware of When Searching for a Wedding Photographer


If there’s one thing that you can expect when planning a wedding, it’s a lot of research. When you’re not viewing venues, you’re listening to bands and reading reviews on caterers. Finding the right photographer is a vital part of the wedding research process, if not one of the most important.

Photographers come from all walks of life and can either help you commemorate your wedding day in the most special way possible or create unnecessary problems for you. Prices, photography styles, printing options, and personalities all need to be considered when researching photographers.

When couples book me, they have access to my Gold List of vendors, including lots of photographers I have worked with over the years – this is to ensure you have the very best experience based on a professional perspective. I don’t charge or give referral fees, so my recommendations are based solely on how awesome each photographer (and other vendors) is.

To ensure you make the best choice possible, here are the top red flags to watch out for as you consider your options.

A Poor Personality

It’s essential for you to get along with your photographer, especially if you want your photos to look relaxed and natural. Some photographers can end up being pushy, rude, or uncreative. When meeting with a potential photographer, gauge how comfortable you feel and how open they are to your ideas and answering your questions. You don’t even need to meet a photographer in person to determine whether they’re a match – a simple phone call or Skype session will do. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your photographer, which is why personality is such an important consideration. If a photographer brushes you off, talks over you, or insists on running with their ideas, it’s time to move on. The ideal photographer should be friendly, knowledgeable, a good listener, and take the time to understand you as a couple.

It’s always a good idea to ask your other vendors what their experience has been with a photographer before you book them and check out their social media too – I have seen some pretty disgusting things posted by wedding photographers who think they are funny and I’d hate for any of my couples to find out after that their photographer is saying these kinds of things about them in the captions of their wedding photos.

Vague Pricing

When you receive a quotation, exactly what you’re paying for should be clear. A photographer that simply adds unwanted products or services to your quotation is probably not the best fit. A photographer who understands what you’re looking for will quote you on exactly what you asked for. If after enquiring more about the specific costs for their services, the photographer is vague or rude, it’s best to go with someone else.

Most photographers have a few different packages at different prices so you should be able to choose the right amount of time and photos for your big day.

An important thing to remember – there are very very few photographers who will give you the unedited photos. Often the general public will ask for raws, which isn’t what you think it is. Whenever I hire a photographer for my own professional photos, I chat with them ahead of time about how I will edit the photos to go with my IG feed aesthetic and if they won’t allow that, I’m happy to find someone else. So far every photographer I have hired totally gets that I want at least 1 or 2 of the photos to go with my feed and the rest will be left as is when I share them in other places. Communication is key!

An Amateur Portfolio

Photography style is one of the main considerations when hiring someone to shoot your wedding. A photographer might claim to have a specific style such as artistic, traditional, or photojournalistic, but does their portfolio reflect that? Take the time to browse through their wedding galleries. Does the style fit in with what you’re looking for or do the photos look outdated and amateurish? Ultimately, your wedding photos should be timeless – do their images match this requirement?

In the last few years, we have seen everyone who got a camera for Christmas popping up advertising themselves as wedding photographers – and believe me when I say I can tell within a few minutes if a photographer has any experience or if they are pretending to know what they are doing because this is their first wedding.

I totally understand giving cousin Sally her first big break at your wedding – and it’s important to make sure your Officiant knows that because working well with a photographer is a huge part of our job! Sure, we can disregard the photographer because our job is what is most important, but isn’t it nice to know when you hire your Officiant, they will be helping to get the best photos? If your first-time photographer unknowingly offends or disrespects your Officiant, they could be told to go sit down. And example of this: the time a photographer actually tried to push me out of the way so she could stand in my spot to get the ring photos. Would she do that to a minister in a church too? Hmmm.

Anyhoo, if your photographer is working their first wedding, please let me know so I can help them and coach them through the whole ceremony and make sure you get all the important shots. I have done this quite a few times over the years and have developed lovely relationships with those once first-time photographers and now get to see them shooting big posh weddings!

A Lack of Equipment

You don’t need a photographer to go into detail about every bit of equipment they have, but every good wedding photographer does have backup equipment. This way, if a camera or lens had to break on the day of your wedding, you won’t be left without photos. If they don’t have backup equipment, find out whether there will be a second shooter.

You will also want to ask about what happens if their SD card(s) fail or end up corrupted with all of your wedding photos on them. It happens, I hear the horror stories, and you want to know your photographer has the skills and resources to solve this problem.


Every photographer has their own editing style. However, a photographer that edits photos to the point of a person not being recognizable is not someone you should consider for your wedding. If the bride and groom look more like porcelain dolls than actual people, rather continue your search for the right photographer. With that being said, couples have different preferences, so if you’re looking for a specific editing style, ask your photographer about the possibilities.

It’s perfectly reasonable to ask your photographer to edit a couple of photos where your stomach or chin doesn’t look as good as you would like, but please don’t expect your photographer to shave 100lbs off you in every photo. If your size and shape is a concern, start working on that now.

Very Few Reviews

What past clients have to say about a photographer will tell you a lot about what you can expect. If you can’t find many reviews or most of the reviews are negative, it’s best to keep hunting for a wedding photographer. When looking at reviews, try and find specifics such as how quickly a customer received their photos and how good the photographer’s communication was.

Some important things to keep in mind when looking for reviews:

Even the most happy couple could still not leave a review. It happens alllll the time! I have couples who have raved about their experience with me, to me. They tell their friends, tag me in posts of other couples looking for an Officiant, and send me so many referrals – yet haven’t written a review for me. So don’t take a lack of reviews as a 100% reflection of a vendor – and think about how often you leave reviews. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get couples to write reviews for any of their vendors.

Negative reviews are also not always a sincere reflection of a vendor. Some people just look for trouble and someone to blame for anything that went wrong at their wedding and want to paint someone as being awful when really, they created the problem themself usually by not reading, or disregarding, the contract!

Read the reviews carefully and keep an eye out for any actual real problems, and problems the couple just made up to stir up trouble. You will learn a about a vendor by how they respond to any negative reviews.

Overall, you want the process of finding and working with a wedding photographer to be exciting and pleasant. There is no shortage of excellent wedding photographers, you just need to know what to look for.

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