How to Choose a Wyoming Wedding Photographer

Destination Weddings

Your local Jackson Hole, Wyoming  wedding and Elopement photographer. 
You can often find me in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I am from. Or catching a flight Cancun or Tulum Mexico for my favorite beaches. Perhaps munching on pastries in Iceland, and often basking in sunshine on the French Riviera. But wyoming is Home and where I love to spend most of my time documenting

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Hi, I'm Kayla

Tips for choosing your Wyoming Wedding Photographer

If you are planning a Wyoming wedding and don’t have a planner to help guide you, choosing a wedding photographer might feel overwhelming. I mean, your photographer is more often than your planner so it’s the next big step. 

You’ll find there are many options, styles, and types of wedding photographers out there, it can be confusing! But don’t fret because I have a few tips and questions to think over while choosing your Wyoming wedding photographer so that you can have a fun & stress-free experience. 

Also, a quick heads up that I am addressing this for local photographers. I’ll explain more about that below too! Choose your Wyoming wedding photographer wisely. 

Starting questions to consider for couples planning a Wyoming Wedding 

  • What is your budget? 
  • What style of photography do you prefer? 
  • Are you wanting coverage of only your wedding or 2-3 days of activities?
  • How many hours will you want the photographer to be on hand for the wedding day? 
  • Do you need one photographer or two? 
  • Which part of your day is most important to you? 
  • Do you only want digital wedding photographs or are you also wanting a wedding album and prints?
  • Will you be getting ready & married at the same location or will there be different locations? 

These are a few questions I ask my wedding clients because depending on what they are dreaming of wanting will depend on what type of package they need.  I try to also create a package that my clients dream of but that also fits in their budget!

Speaking of budget, how much does a Wyoming wedding photographer Cost?

It’s important to have a rough idea of your budget before reaching out to photographers because you need to know what range your photographer can be in. Prices range immensely between photographers due to experience, equipment, and much more. Instead of wondering how much a photographer is going to cost, I’d encourage going the reverse route and setting an ideal budget. Then when you begin your search, you will know which photographers are going to be around your range. 

The average price of an 8-hour wedding package across the states is 3-5 thousand. Locally, that is fairly accurate for an experienced Wyoming wedding photographer. Some range up to 15,000 while others might be amateur and offer packages around 1-2K because they are building their portfolio and still have a full-time job outside of photography.

You will also find that the higher the price, the more experience a photographer might have, along with having a sustainable business (you don’t want to hire a photographer that isn’t going to be in business a few years down the road). In addition, Wyoming wedding photographers with more experience will have well-defined contracts (this protects both you and the photographer), extra equipment (technology can always go wrong, and an experienced photographer will make sure to plan for this), knowledge of how to not only capture your wedding but also what to do when things go wrong, and educational content to help make your wedding experience fun & stress-free. 

Every photographer will also require payment differently. Some have a large retainer with a second payment the month of or before a wedding while others might have multiple payment options with smaller retainers. This is purely a personal choice on the photographer’s part, and it’s definitely something you should inquire about while deciding if a photographer is a right fit for you. For my business, I offer my clients a smaller retainer with monthly payment options so that they can make their dream wedding come true because weddings are expensive! Especially up front with a lot of retainers. 

What does your photography investment get you? This is a question to ask each photographer. You can tell a lot from their portfolios, website, and communication skills. But you should realize that photography is one of the few things you get back from your wedding investment. These pictures capture each and every detail of your wedding and will be carried throughout the years to come. What kind of pictures do you want to be handed down through generations? 

Choosing a Photography Style for You

Once you have your budget, start looking at styles. Do you want a natural style that preserves the colors and landscape of your wedding or trendy dark and moody photography? Perhaps bright and airy? This is a big part of photography style to consider as it affects your skin tones as well as the colors you choose! 

You also want to think about the posture and type of scene being captured. Some are an editorial vibe while others are more candid. There are so many types of photography ( just like different types of painters), and sometimes you may not even know what the difference is till you start to compare side by side. 

To start getting an idea, look at images you love ( Pinterest boards can be so helpful for this or saving images on Instagram) and see what they have in common! Once you have an idea of what style you prefer, then you can make a list of photographers that have a similar style.  Who you choose, whether they’re an out-of-state or a Wyoming wedding photographer, won’t be editing to a different style. So, do make certain that you choose one with the correct style, as that is important.

Photographers will most likely tell you about their style of photography when you chat with them but it is always good to come prepared!

How Long Do I Need to Book My Photographer?

Most weddings range between 8-10 hours of photography but depending on your wedding and what you want, you might need more or even less if you’re having an intimate wedding. You will need to have a general idea of how many hours you want when reaching out to photographers. Each photographer can walk you through this, but it helps if you have thought about some of it already. 

For instance, you want to think about the time between locations. If you have a getting-ready location, a ceremony location, and then a reception location, it will take time for the photographer to drive from one place to another, which translates into additional hours that you will need to book. But if everything is at a single location then that can minimize the coverage needed.

Also, consider how long your ceremony will be. Some couples opt for a short 15-minute ceremony while others have a traditional hour ceremony. Make sure to add this to the amount of time you need the photographer on hand.

There are also smaller moments that you need to make sure to allot time for. Consider if you want your photographer to capture candid shots of you getting ready with all your friends and family before the ceremony or a first look. You might even want the send-off at the end of your reception or your late party captured.  Once you think about all of these things it will make it a little easier for you to know how many hours you might need and can discuss that with the photographer.

On average, most couples need around 8 hours of photography to capture the getting ready pictures all the way to the reception. Many couples who opt for a bigger wedding will need closer to 10 or even 12, while the smaller, intimate weddings might only need 6 hours. Because it ranges so much, you’ll want to list out all the things you want captured to help you and your photographer and/or planner decide how many hours you will need.

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

OK, now you know your budget, what style of photography you want, and the parts of your day you want to be captured. It’s officially time to start reaching out to your top vendors! Keep in mind that many photographers book up their year in advance, so starting this process early will work to help you get the best fit. It also makes things more enjoyable after your vendors are all booked!

The first step once you find photographers you like is to make a list of them. You and your fiancé can make notes of the things you love about each of them along if there are any specific questions you want to ask them. Couples often find their photographers on Google, Instagram, or even Pinterest! The Knot and Local publications also have a helpful vendor list too! You can find a Wyoming wedding photographer using the latter since it’s more of a targeted location.

Once you have that list, you want to review their websites to learn a little more about them, their business, and what they offer. Remember that when you hire a photographer, they are with you for most of the day and with you for all the most important parts of the day. You want someone you can be comfortable with and be yourself around! So find photographers who you feel a connection with in addition to their style and cost. 

Once you feel like you’ve found a good fit, the first step is to connect with them through the contact form on their website. Most photographers prefer this no matter if you are working with a planner or on your own. Why? Because each photographer has a system and specific questions they might want to ask. It also sets you apart from others that just send a message asking for prices and nothing else.  Also, Instagram messages just get lost and aren’t as professional! 

I LOOOOOVE it when I have a client who not only fills out my contact form but also tells me all about their love story, wedding details, and other little things! We of course chat about this on the phone, but there is nothing better than reading about it initially! Every vendor I know adores this and it really helps us to know what the couple might need.

Once you have reached out to your photographers, sit down with your fiancé and make a list of what you love about each one along with budgets and options. Many couples know right away which photographer they want, but if your favorite Wyoming wedding photographer is already booked, it might take a little time to decide which photographer is best for you and your partner!

Should I Consider Having a Second Photographer?

Many photographers offer a second photographer in their packages. This is a GREAT option for many couples if their budgets allow it. If you hire a more experienced photographer, they most likely have a list of “ second shooters” that they hire and are responsible for. The benefit of having two photographers is that you get more images as it allows for both you and your partner to have a photographer with you at all moments of the day, ensuring no moments get missed!

If this is something you are curious about, ask your photographer, as they can let you know their thoughts. For many couples though, it benefits them to have a single photographer for just a few more hours rather than two photographers. This is definitely something you can chat about when discussing packages. Also another reason why a local Wyoming wedding photographer could be advantageous as they do not need to travel far, and are familiar with the area. 

Closing Considerations

Not all photographers are created equal. Think of it as paintings you go to look at in a museum. Some are more modern and artistic, some are more detailed and traditional. Some painters have more experience, greater quality, and use higher quality paints and brushes. It is the same with photographers. 

We are an artist behind the lens but also entrepreneurs. Honestly, we often spend more time at our computers or traveling than behind the lens. It can be a demanding job and some photographers are very intentional, only taking limited amounts of clients while others take every client they can.  Make certain to know how long it might take your photographer to deliver your images. Most photographers will educate you on all of this but while some photographers are all about quantity over quality, they will get images out to you quicker than photographers who choose to be focused on quality. I am a photographer who only takes a limited amount of weddings and make certain to have my full albums delivered in 6-8 weeks during busy season 3-4 weeks during off season. It is great to be able to send a client albums early but incase of situations ( like Covid) where our schedules become hectic, we want to make certain we allow plenty of time to deliver a fully edited gallery to our clients. 

The reason why it can take so long to deliver a full gallery of images is that some weddings have thousands of images! Some photographers edit their images theirselves, others hire out their editing.  Because of all the factors, this is why some photographers get images delivered within weeks of your wedding while others take 3-4 months because they go through every image multiple times and edit it themselves rather than hiring it out. In addition to this, many photographers only give specific quantities of images while others will give you every image they capture.  I always give my clients all the images I capture, I don’t need or want to “up-sale” to clients. I care about my clients and I don’t want them to have to comb through to pick and choose their favorite images and I also don’t want or need to pick out their favorite images for them.  This is why it’s great and ok to ask a photographer how many images they deliver, how long to receive full albums, if they do their own editing/what editing they offer (remember, many photographers don’t photoshop. That is a whole separate career in its own), as well as what their whole process is.

Also, ask about engagement pictures! Many photographers offer complimentary engagement sessions as it is the perfect way to get to know each other while practicing in front of the camera! Photographers either help to pose or give out prompts, prompts can be really helpful as they make a couple feel more comfortable and forget that there is a camera around.  There is a lot that goes into this art form! It can be overwhelming for someone new to it but if you hire a quality photographer, they will be willing to help explain their process & style as well as help you. 

When it comes to being there on your big day, you want a friend as well as a trusted vendor that will tackle anything that comes up with integrity, experience, professionalism, and also a sense of humor to make your day the best day ever. 

To Do:

So now that you have reviewed some things to think about, here is a quick list to review and consider before hopping on the phone with your potential photographer

  1. Budget, come up with an estimate of your low and high end
  2. List out the parts of your day that are most important to you
  3. Think about how long your ceremony will be
  4. Consider the time between each spot that your photographer will be traveling
  5. Look at which styles of photography you love and relate to.
  6. Think about if a first look, reading letters or a sunset session is for you.
  7. Create an ideal list of reception events you want. From first dances to cake cutting and a bouquet toss or speeches.
  8. Rank your lists of events from most important to less important.
  9. Talk with family and friends about the things they loved about their weddings, and ask what they regret and what they would have done differently.
  10. DO what is best for you and your partner, it is hard when the family is involved and everyone wants something different. It is ok to tell others what you want and if there is something you don’t want to do.
  11. Have FUN! Wedding planning shouldn’t be stressful if you hire the right vendors. Your wedding team is there to support you and make your big day along with planning fun and stress-free. With a good team, no matter what happens they will be prepared and able to support you through any last-minute hickups. So enjoy the process of planning out your big day and only work with vendors you can trust!

If you have more questions or want to inquire about booking me for your wedding, you can do so by filling out my contact form here!

Kayla is the lead photographer for Foxtails Photography. She illustrates weddings across Wyoming & in Tulsa, Oklahoma with golden, natural light and a romantic style. Her photography is enduring and captures authentic, candid moments along with the smallest details.

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