Best Tips for Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Raised in Sweden, Sanaz Riggio grew up in a traditional Persian family. While she always loved art and photography, her family wanted her to pursue a career in science. Despite becoming a molecular biologist and moving to Los Angeles, Sanaz felt driven to work on art and photography. “But my job was killing me—I needed to pursue my passion,” she says about quitting her scientist job and becoming a full-time photographer in 2012. 

Weddings quickly became one of her favorite events to photograph. Sanaz expressed, “It’s so exciting to tell a couple’s story, to capture the beauty of two families joining together.” Today, Sanaz is an accomplished wedding and lifestyle photographer, capturing the excitement of the big day. She shares her best tips for choosing a photographer for your wedding day:

• Know what style of wedding photos you’re drawn to. Be clear about what you want from your photographer before hiring them, so there are no surprises on your wedding day. Try to find a photographer you also connect with since you will spend a lot of your wedding day with them. If you don’t like your photographer’s personality, there’s a good chance you won’t feel comfortable being photographed by them. And as we all know, looking natural and happy in photos is vital. So make sure to meet or FaceTime/zoom with potential photographers before hiring them to ensure you vibe well together.”

• Do your research. “Ask for at least three full real client galleries to ensure you love everything about the photographer’s style. And while hiring a photographer with millions of followers on TikTok or even having a friend or family member snap pictures at your wedding is tempting, I don’t recommend it. Professional photographers have the skills and equipment to capture beautiful, timeless images. They will also likely have more experience shooting in different lighting conditions and know how to pose couples and families as well as deal with vendors. As a result, you can be confident you’ll have amazing photos from your big day, even if things don’t go exactly as planned.”

• Try before you buy. “I always recommend doing a pre-wedding shoot, such as an engagement session or a quick shoot before your big day. This way, you can work out any concerns before the wedding.”

“You don’t have to hire a photographer where you live or get married because most photographers are willing to travel. So you’re not limited in choosing a wedding photographer who lives where your wedding will take place. Hire them if they have work that speaks volumes and captivates your heart.”

• Be present on your wedding day. “It’s hard, but try to release control of everything. Let the day take its course while you take it all in. The candid moments make for the best photos. A good photographer will capture it all without much direction. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, give your photographer a list of people you definitely want in group shots so no one gets left out.”

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