Choosing the best Chicago wedding photography team for your wedding is something only you can do. What is best for one person may not be the best for you. There are many pieces that need to fit in this puzzle to make sure you get exactly what you want and need. Follow the steps below to make sure you get everything that is right for you.
There are so many Chicago suburbs and City of Chicago photography teams that offer wedding and engagement packages. This process can be overwhelming to brides and grooms. We totally get that. So we created this guide to help take some stress off of you. Your wedding photos will be hung on your wall for your lifetime and passed down for generations to come. Let’s find out how to pick the best Chicago wedding photography for your wedding.
Planning the rest of your wedding day helps to create the perfect day. Photography is the only preservation of the day. Many couples forget parts of their wedding day or don’t even know some of it happened. The best wedding photographers in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs will make sure that no moment is missed!
We broke down how to choose a Chicago wedding photographer into 7 steps below. We get a lot more detailed into each step later in the post.
7 Steps to Choosing The Best Chicago Wedding Photography
- Find your style
- Determine your budget
- Search multiple platforms & check reviews
- Make a favorites list
- Contact photographers about availability
- Ask questions!
- Secure your photographer
Let’s chat about your wedding plans!
1. Finding Your Wedding Photography Style
Style is so important when searching for a photo team for your wedding day. Style comes from many different factors and is usually what catches your eye first. The photographers style is the culmination of brightness, color profiles, and their approach to the day. You may not know right away which of these speaks to your wedding photography soul but the Chicago area and Chicago suburbs offers every combination.
Style is like your personality, it can’t really be changed. We have had a few people in the past say, “We love you guys but want brighter photos, can you do that?” The answer to that is complex. As a fine art wedding photographer our style/personality is what drives us to create incredible products. Also, trying to change that may not give you what you want in the end.
Style – Brightness
The brightness of the style sets a certain mood right from the start. There are some wedding and engagement photographers that stay on the side of brighter photos. Some that stay on the darker side. The brighter photos are typically called light and airy while the darker styles are called dark and moody. Photos that go too bright tend to have “blown out” skies and bright spots. Darker photos can have dark shadows with limited details seen in the shadows. Also there is a middle ground here but most photographers lean a little to one side.
Style – Color Profiles
Certain times of the year give you different colors. Fall gives you all the browns and fall foliage. Also, spring and summer the greens and florals. Finally, winter more barren, darker, or snow covered moods. While these can’t really be changed the wedding and engagement photography team has some ability to alter them in the editing process. Each person adjusts the colors to be more appealing. We lean more toward the warm, yellow colors and deep greens. Again, this is something that isn’t right or wrong. It is just what you like.
Style – Approach – Chicago Wedding Photography
In my opinion, the approach is one of the most important aspects when choosing a photo or video team for your special day. There are a ton of different approaches. I will just stick with the main ones like traditional, artistic, candid, and documentary.
The traditional approach is the standard amongst big companies with many different photographers. This approach keeps everything systematic and consistent. Also, it includes mostly set up wedding day shots and posed portraits while capturing the important moments in a systematic way.
The artistic approach is similar to the traditional approach due to its less candid nature. Artistic photos will usually include a grand background with some flair. The Chicago bridge and groom are still the focus. Emphasis is placed on an incredible pose in an amazing location. Chicago artistic wedding photography is so much fun downtown with the tall skyscrapers and old buildings.
The candid approach leaves all of the posing behind. There are no set up shots and the moments are captured as is. This is a great way to re-tell the story of the day through photos. Candid photos capture all of the important moments as they happen.
The photojournalistic approach is still candid but with a little more focus on the totality of the event. This approach captures the important moments happening but also the little moments at the same time. This may be the mother of the bride wiping a tear during vow exchanges. Also, it could be a family member leaning into the isle during the first kiss. Approaching Chicago wedding photography in this way gives the bride and groom an incredible look back into everything that happened during the day.
2. Determine Your Budget
Budget time is a very important step in the wedding planning process in general. Choosing the right Chicago engagement and wedding photography team to capture your wedding day may mean checking the overall wedding financials. Most of us don’t have unlimited income or the ability to choose without thinking about money.
Typically Chicago suburbs weddings will be cheaper than weddings in the City of Chicago but that is not always true. You can find anything to fit your budget needs.
Something we always like to remind couples about, your wedding photos and wedding videography are some of the only records of your Chicago wedding. You will remember the big moments for long time but the little details are so easy to forget about. Every couple needs to think about the importance of the day. Invest in photo and video at a level that is appropriate to you.
3. Search Multiple Platforms and Check Reviews
I know I am not the only one that scrolls right past the first three Google results. These are typically ads. You and I are the same, we don’t like to pick a wedding photographer based on paid ads. This is the time to do your homework. Really into who the people are behind the companies that you love. There are several places to find reviews when it comes to Chicago wedding photography services. Google, The Knot, WeddingWire, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the few in the Chicagoland area I would try first.
Many wedding photographers pay to be on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire. However, the reviews are real and give insight into how real clients feel after working with this company. Use social media reviews as a chance to get real names and contact previous clients. You can also ask the photographers based in Chicago if you can speak with some of their past clients.
4. Make a Chicago Wedding Photography Favorites List
So, you have determined your style, figured out your budget, and begun your search for the perfect wedding photographer based in Chicago. Let’s start making a list of our favorites based on the information we know so far. Your wedding day photography team favorites list will help guide you through the remainder of the process.
You should reach out to at least 3-5 photographers in Chicago and the suburbs. This will give you plenty of options to chose from once you start checking availability. If you are less than a year out form your special day you may want to check availability first. We have plenty of clients that are trying to book Chicago wedding photography companies a year and a half out.
5. Contact Photographers About Availability
This probably seems self explanatory but it serves multiple purposes. Checking their availability is an important step. However, it is not the only thing that should be taken away from this interaction. You will reach out to the company on whatever medium suits you. I prefer to reach out to vendors directly on their website. This lets them respond without having to go through another platform.
You can judge a lot by this first interaction. First, how responsive are they to your inquiry? Second, are they actually available for your date? Third, how do you feel about their response? Human beings are pretty good about figuring people out right away. Was the first impression a good one?
I won’t give away all of our secrets but Rue and I love getting to know people. This whole process of meeting brides and grooms in Chicago helps us reach more people. Also, we love being a major part of their lives. We are the Chicago wedding photography team that they are choosing to capture their day. Our work provide memories for the rest of their lives. It is a huge task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I say all that to say. Make sure they provide a first impression that makes you feel good about getting to know them. You have to trust your wedding photographers.
6. Ask Questions
Hopefully by now you are in a consult with an engagement and wedding photographer from your favorites list. We feel that Zoom or in-person consults are so important. You can not relay all of the important information necessary in a PDF or phone call. You should be able to see your photographers face and have fluid conversation. That last part is a very important part to remember. You need to see your photographers face. Not the owner of the company or some booking agent.
They are not the ones you are putting your trust in. You need to see the wedding photographer that will be capturing your wedding day. Do not fall for a bait and switch.
Come prepared to this meeting with all of the important questions! You probably have a ton of your own questions. We will provide you with some extras just in case you need it. Make sure that there will be a contract prepared and signed by both parties. Also, be clear about payment deadlines and what happens if either party needs to back out of the contract. Ensure that you will have all the rights to your photos in high resolution and low resolution, or web size. Do they offer wedding albums? Will they travel outside of the Windy City if necessary?
Talk about pricing for add-ons and what happens if you want to add something on later. Does the price change later or is it cheaper to add on to a package now? Do you want a photo booth? Do they provide wedding videography as well? When will your photos be delivered and how? Have they shot at your wedding venue before? Also, do you get engagement photos? Lastly, what about rehearsal dinner coverage?
These are just a few questions that can help you navigate the process and compare each Chicago wedding photography company. Obviously, there will be others you can add. Especially if you start taking more specific items like engagement sessions or print items. Overall, make sure they are completely transparent with you. Again, you need to trust them and feel comfortable. Chicago and Chicago suburbs wedding photography companies can help you through it all.
7. Secure Your Photographer
Woohoo! You made it! Now is the time to dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s. Enjoy a glass of champagne or wine and celebrate. You found your Chicago wedding photography team to capture your big day! If you have any further questions do not be afraid to ask them.
IMPORTANT! Read through the entire contract and make sure that everything you talked about is in writing. If promises were made, they should be in the contract. Sometimes it is not intentional, it just didn’t make it in for whatever reason. If they won’t add it in the contract, I would be weary. Double check invoices and payment due dates and relax knowing you made the right decision.
Final Thoughts – Chicago Wedding Photography
You made it through the list. Again, your wedding photography team based in Chicago will be THE documentation of your wedding day. Taking the time to find your style, determine your budget, check multiple platforms and reviews, make a favorites list, check availability, ask questions, and secure your wedding photographer will make sure that you get everything that you want. Also, extra leg work in the beginning will help make your wedding day less stressful in the end.
You can now start making your family portrait list, your photo Pinterest board. Also figure out where you are going to hang those beautiful wedding photos.
Let’s chat about your Chicago wedding plan and work together!
If you need help finding your ideal engagement locations check out our blog here!
Eight Hands Weddings – Wedding Photography in Chicago Illinois and The Suburbs