When To Book The Best Wedding Photographer: Helpful Tips

Quinta do David, Venue | Palmela, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

When you know when and where your wedding will be, it’s a good idea to book your photographer as soon as possible. Some photographers are very popular and get booked up fast. So, the sooner you can book them, the better chance you have of getting the one you want.   

If you want a good photographer for your wedding, it’s a good idea to book them 9 to 12 months before your wedding day. This is especially important if you’re getting married in spring or summer when lots of people want to get married. But if you’re getting married at a less popular time or you don’t mind which photographer you have, you can book them a bit closer to your wedding day, around 6 to 9 months in advance.

Planning a wedding means making lots of choices, such as choosing a wedding photographer. But how long before a wedding should you book a photographer? Let’s talk about this and see what factors can help you decide.

Quinta Pinhal das Confreirias, Venue | Almargem do Bispo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Most of the time, people say planning early can help you succeed, and this is true when it comes to hiring a photographer for your wedding. You should start looking for a photographer as soon as you know the date and place of your wedding. The best ones are often booked many months, if not years, in advance, especially during peak wedding seasons. So, if you start early, you have a better chance of getting the photographer you want and avoid disappointment down the line.

Setting Your Priorities

Before you find a photographer, think about the kind of pictures you like. Determine what style of photography you like. Do you want formal pictures where everyone poses, or do you prefer natural, spontaneous shots? Maybe you want a mix of both. Also, think about the feel and theme of your wedding and how you want that shown in your photos. And remember to decide how much you want to spend on photography. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the photographer’s experience, reputation, and what they offer.

Quinta Pinhal das Confreirias, Venue | Almargem do Bispo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Finding the Right Fit

When you have a clear vision of what you’re looking for in a wedding photographer, it’s time to start your search. Ask people you know who have had a wedding for advice. This could be friends, family, or recently married couples. Hearing about someone’s personal experience will help you narrow down your options. You can also look at online portfolios and read reviews to see if you like the photographer’s work.

Plan Meetings 

Once you have a list of photographers you like, it’s time to meet them! During this meeting, you’ll talk about your wedding plans and what you want. You can ask questions, look at their past work, and see if you like them. It’s important to feel comfortable with your photographer because they’ll be with you all day, taking pictures of special moments. So, take your time and find someone you click with!

Quinta Palácio Dos Antónios, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Securing Your Date

Once you find a photographer that you like and can afford, make sure to reserve the date by signing a contract and giving a deposit. This is very important to make sure the photographer will be there on your special day.  When you sign the contract, look all at the details like when you have to pay, what happens if you cancel, and if any extra services come with the package. It’s important to know everything before you sign.

Factors to Consider

While it’s a good idea to book a photographer early, you need to think about some factors to figure out the best time to do it:

Wedding Season:

Weddings are more common in the spring and summer seasons. So, if you’re planning to tie the knot during these times, it’s wise to start looking for a photographer well in advance. This way, you can make sure you get the date you want before their schedule fills up.

Venue Availability:

If you like a particular venue for your wedding, make sure it’s available before deciding when to have your big day. The best spots tend to book up quickly, especially during peak seasons. So, before you choose a date and get a photographer, make sure your venue is free on that day.

Photographer’s Availability:

If you want a specific photographer for your wedding, you might need to be flexible with your wedding date. Their availability plays a significant role in when you should book them. So, if they’re not available on your preferred day, you might have to choose another one.

Engagement Period:

Think about how long you will be engaged. If it’s a long time, you can take your time choosing a photographer, no rush! But if your engagement is shorter, you will need to find and book a photographer fast.

Quinta A Lendária, Venue | Barreiro, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Sesimbra Natura Park, Venue | Sesimbra, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Recommended Timeline

Based on the factors we talked about above, here’s when you should book your wedding photographer:

12-18 Months Before the Wedding: As soon as you book your wedding date and venue, it’s time to start looking for a photographer. This is super important if you’re planning a wedding during peak season or on a popular date.

9-12 Months Before the Wedding: By this time, try to have your photographer booked and sign a contract with them. This ensures that you have secured their services, leaving you free to concentrate on other parts of your wedding planning.

6-9 Months Before the Wedding: Use this time to finish the details of your photography package. Decide how many hours of coverage you want, from the start of your day until the end of the reception at night. Think about any extra stuff you want, such as engagement photos, albums, or special edits. Also, tell them any specific requests you may have. For example, you might want lots of spontaneous pictures of your guests having fun, or you might want to make sure they get a picture of you with your grandparents.

3-6 Months Before the Wedding: Schedule an engagement photo session with your photographer before your wedding if it’s part of your deal.  That helps you bond with your photographer and feel more comfortable working together before your wedding day.

1-2 Months Before the Wedding: Get in touch with your photographer to confirm everything and make sure you both agree on the plan for your wedding day. This makes sure everyone is on the same page and helps to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Igreja Matriz de Almargem do Bispo, Church | Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings
Quinta Palácio Dos Antónios, Venue | Aroeira, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

Flexibility and Availability

While the suggested timeline helps you plan when to book your wedding photographer, it’s important to be open to changes, especially if you have a particular photographer in mind. If they’re already booked on your date, think about other dates or look into different photographers. And don’t worry if your wedding is coming up soon – sometimes photographers have last-minute openings or cancellations that could be perfect for you.

Importance of Communication

Making sure you talk well with your photographer is super important for a great wedding day.  Tell them clearly what you want and any special moments you don’t want to miss. Also, make sure they know if anything about your wedding plans changes.

Quinta Pinhal das Confreirias, Venue | Almargem do Bispo, Portugal | Photo by PEDIPortugal Weddings

To sum up, hiring a wedding photographer is really important when planning your big day. Make sure you get the timing right, think about all the important stuff, and stick to a schedule. That way, you can find a great photographer to capture all the wonderful moments. Stay open to changes, talk clearly, and trust your photographer’s skills. With good planning, you’ll have amazing wedding photos to treasure forever.

If you enjoyed the content and would like to see more of my work, don’t forget to explore my portfolio. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Click here to dive into my portfolio now. Your support means the world to me!

Pedro Cruz

Wedding photographer and videographer from Lisbon, Portugal. Here is Pedro Cruz's short bio.

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