Let’s face it – if you are getting married in San Diego, there are hundreds of wedding photographers to choose from. On The Knot alone, there are over 700 photographers advertising in the San Diego area. As a bride, figuring out how to pick a San Diego wedding photographer can be extremely overwhelming.
How to Pick a San Diego Wedding Photographer
At the time of writing this, I’m actually a bride myself! My fiance and I are still in the process of picking our photographer for our San Diego wedding, and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been thinking through in order to choose and book our photographer.
Determine the Type of Wedding You Want
First and foremost, figure out the type of wedding you want to have. Are you planning a large wedding with 300 guests at the Hotel Del, an intimate wedding with 50 close friends and family members on Sunset Cliffs, or an elopement in La Jolla?
Knowing the overall direction of your wedding size can really help dictate the photographers in San Diego you reach out to, because you can focus on people who specialize in this.
Now, does this mean that a photographer who specializes in elopements can’t shoot your 300 person wedding? No. But, when a photographer finds their sweet spot in what they really love shooting, they may tell you that they’re not the best fit for photographing your wedding since it’s such a different type.
Love their Personality
Personality is absolutely key when it comes to choosing your photographer! Honestly, this can completely make or break your experience with someone. If you’re talking on the phone with a potential photographer and don’t love their tone or vibe, listen to your gut feeling about this!
Even if a photographer has taken photos at the venue you’re planning to get married at that you love, if your personalities don’t match up, it can seriously affect your overall experience.
Remember, your photographer is likely going to be with you in the morning as you do your hair and makeup, all the way through the reception, and they’re going to be one of the people you interact with most!
Review their Style
Do you envision your wedding photos overlooking downtown San Diego to be edited in a style that is light and airy, dark and moody, true to life, or somewhere in between?
This is really important to think about! There’s a good mix of editing styles that you can find throughout the San Diego photography community, and this can be a really easy way to narrow down your search.
Photographers spend a lot of time determining their specific editing style, and we want you to love the way your images look just as much as we do!
You’ll have these photos forever, and as you look back at them on the computer, on your walls, or in an album, the last thing you want to be thinking about is how dated the photos look due to the editing style.
On average, weddings in San Diego cost about $34,000. Typically, about 10% of the budget is allocated to photography; however, this can fluctuate depending on how much emphasis you want to put on photography and additional products, such as prints and albums.
When creating your wedding budget, have a ballpark estimate of how much you’re dedicating to photography. Several photographers in San Diego list their starting prices on their website, and this can give you a good idea if they are immediately within your price range.
I’m not going to tell you exactly how much you should be spending on wedding photography, but I’ll leave you with this: you get what you pay for. This includes what the images look like and your overall experience with the photographer.
Ask for Referrals
In San Diego, referrals are huge. For example, I’ve worked with some amazing coordinators, and anytime I have couples asking for wedding coordinator suggestions, I always share my favorites in San Diego. If you’ve already booked certain vendors for your wedding, ask them for photographer recommendations!
When browsing through photographers’ sites, take time to see if they actually showcase work from San Diego. While they don’t necessarily need to have shot at your specific venue (I actually think you should avoid this question!), they should have a good idea of what it’s like shooting in San Diego.
Because SD is such a popular location (not only for weddings, but for tourists too), knowing when to avoid certain places due to crowds, along with a list of suggested alternatives that are much quieter, is something your photographer should be able to do.
Ask to Meet Up
A great way to really get to know your potential photographer is by asking them to meet up at a local coffee shop or brewery! San Diego has so many amazing hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, and there are countless breweries to pick from.
This can be a fun way to see what your photographer is like in person to see if you all get along and they’d fit in with your wedding day!
So, there you have it – 7 things you can do to pick a San Diego wedding photographer. I know there are tons of options, so hopefully this helps narrow down your search!