Choosing a wedding photographer

When I scroll through Instagram, I see so many new sparkly diamonds out there. Congratulations to all of those couples who are freshly engaged and in that blissful and dreamy state. Soak it all in. As you begin setting dates and planning your wedding, I thought I’d help you out and take a little of the mystery out of choosing a wedding photographer.

Choosing a wedding photographer

To help me, I’d like you to meet Ashley and Steve. They’re one of my 2017 couples and they’ll be tying the knot in a romantic outdoor ceremony in Kelowna.  They’ve agreed to a behind-the-scenes look at the consultation and booking process.

couple choosing their wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

I met Ashley and Steve at a wedding (go figure).  After we exchanged a few emails and I sent them the details of my photo packages, we met in my home office.  If possible, I like to meet new clients there so that I have my albums and photo samples at my fingertips.  You have the opportunity to view a real wedding gallery, from the bride getting ready to the last twirl on the dance floor.  Of course there are circumstances where clients are out of town and so I’m happy to set up a Skype or Face Time call in that case.  Clients have the opportunity to ask me any questions and I have a short questionnaire that I complete.  PS:  There are treats too.

Studio of Calgary wedding photographer Tara WhittakerStudio of Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittakerbride choosing a wedding photographer Tara Whittaker viewing an album and choosing a wedding photographer Tara WhittakerMeeting space of Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

I send clients home with an information packet that includes a sample contract so they are able to review the payment schedule and studio policies.  Transparency in my life and in my business practices is very important to me.  I want you to feel completely comfortable with your decision and to expect no surprises.  The next day I will send a quick follow-up email to review our meeting.

wedding consultation for Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittaker wedding consultation packet for Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

After discussing it, Ashley and Steve chose a wedding package and signed a contract.  Because their wedding is taking place in Kelowna, they required a custom quote.  In the end, they chose a package that included:

  • An engagement session
  • 8 hours of wedding photography coverage with my assistant and I
  • An online gallery of high resolution images
  • Travel fees to Kelowna

couple at a wedding consultation for Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

Why choose Tara?

I’ve put together some tips for choosing a wedding photographer which I’ll share below, but I would be remiss if I didn’t toot my own horn a little and tell you why you should give my work a closer look.  

  1. My wedding photos are timeless, capturing the essence of a wedding, with an emphasis on spontaneity.
  2. These are the words that my clients use to describe our time together…real, creative, natural, effortless, comfortable, professional, relaxed, fun and unobtrusive.
  3. I provide an excellent customer service service experience.  From your first email till the day you pick up your wedding photos, you’ll feel like my first priority.  
  4. 2017 marks my 10th year as a Calgary wedding photographer.  My couples appreciate that knowledge and expertise as we work out contracts, timelines, lighting, posing, wedding industry referrals, publication and more.  
  5. I strive to exceed my clients expectations.  Read what some of my former clients have said about their wedding photographs.

Here’s a peek at Ashley and Steve’s Kananaskis engagement session, if you’d like to see.

couple at their Kananaskis engagement session with Tara Whittaker Photographycouple at their Kananaskis engagement session with Tara Whittaker Photography

If you’re in the process of choosing a wedding photographer and you’d like to meet, drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.  

Without further ado, here’s are some tips to help you in your search.

Do your homework

There are plenty of talented photographers out there, each with their own personality and abilities. Spend some time looking through their websites and wedding galleries to see make sure their style matches yours.  As an example, maybe you like natural light photographs?  Perhaps you prefer high contrast images created with a flash?  Personally my couple’s portraits are captured in beautiful natural light. I do use flash later in the evening and to create special effects during the reception/dancing. I work with couples who value this style and have allowed time for natural light photography on their wedding day.  Make sure you hire a photographer who shoots in the style you appreciate most and is skilled with the lighting conditions at your venue.  

Meet in person

These days you can find out a lot of information online. While the internet is great for sourcing out the available talent and seeing what they’re up to (and what they had for lunch), I suggest a face-to-face meeting when choosing a wedding photographer. You will spend a huge chunk of time with your wedding photographer on a very important day in your life.  The wedding day can be stressful so you want someone who can flow with the day, find solutions, calm your nerves and add to your joy.

couple choosing a wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

Make the investment

Over the last 10 years, I can’t tell you how many times people have told me “we wish we’d hired a professional”.  While photography may seem like a big investment, trusting a seasoned pro with your heirloom images is worth it in the end.  We do so much more than “get the shot”.   A good photographer will collaborate with the other vendors, joke with your wedding party and make sure your Grandpa’s tie is straight.  It’s an experience.

couple choosing a wedding photographer Tara Whittaker Photography


If you don’t see exactly what you need amongst the photographer’s packages, ask for a custom quote.  When you meet, explain what your priorities are on your wedding day. With this information, the photographer can help you decide how many hours of coverage you need and whether or not a second shooter is required.  If you have something specific in mind, don’t be afraid to ask.

Check the fine print

 Before you book a photographer and sign a contract, review their contract and ensure that you understand what to expect.  Find out when instalments are due and what form of payment is accepted.  Ask if there are any charges in addition to your wedding package i.e. travel, permits.

Meeting space for Calgary wedding photographer Tara Whittaker

Thank you for taking the time to read through this post.  I hope this information will help you with choosing a wedding photographer.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the studio.  Cheers!

  1. Janelle says:

    These are very good tips! A professional photographer is definitely worth it!

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