Searching for a Wedding Photographer in Portland Oregon? Here are 4 things you need to know.

by Tonya Wright

wedding party in Portland Oregon

Your big day is just that. Yours! Save the headache for the postnuptial hangover and follow these tips to find the right Portland, Oregon, wedding photographer for your big day.

Make sure you click.

Clicking with your wedding photographer will ensure you and your partner feel at ease on your big day. No one wants to pose in front of a complete stranger. Make sure your photographer is someone you’d like to have around during one of the most intimate moments of your life.

One of the things I like to do with all of my clients is book a meet-and-greet phone call. This little phone date ensures that we have a *real* connection and are ultimately the right fit for each other. Adorable, right?

Look at the *real* photos.

Always, always, ALWAYS ask your photographer for a sample gallery from a real wedding they’ve done. I can’t stress it enough. This small request will help you get a clear sense of their style, and you’ll get to see what kind of work they will produce in a real, often chaotic, setting.

As you’re perusing, think about how they’ll be able to tell your story. From the small details (that represent months of planning) to the big moments, like your first photo as a married couple. Or even better, your drunk uncle who’s almost too into singing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” while on the dance floor. 

A photographer’s Instagram isn’t always the reality. Don’t skip this critical detail. Checking out that gallery will ensure you get the right photographer to capture the memories just as you remember them.

PS: If you want to look at one of the ones I send clients, click here.

Ask lots (and lots) of questions.

Your photographer plays a significant role in your wedding, so it’s essential to know they have the experience to meet (and exceed) expectations. Ask as many questions as you can to feel confident in their abilities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Find out what their approach is for the day of the wedding. Will they be out on the dancefloor with everyone getting up close and personal, or will they stand back and capture the general environment?
  2. Ask about their experience! How many weddings have they shot? You’d be surprised at how many people don’t ask this question. Experience is EVERYTHING. 
  3. Find out if they have any experience taking on a “lead” role during the wedding day. Depending on whether or not you have a wedding coordinator, timeline management can often fall on your photographer. Ensure they know what they’re doing and have experience corralling families, cueing DJs, and keeping things on track.
  4. Learn about your photographer’s working relationship with your venue. If your photographer is established in your area, chances are they’ve shot a venue more than once. Give your venue a ring in advance and ensure they don’t have a reputation for being hard to work with or whatever it may be.
  5. Lastly, here are two questions to NOT ask. First on the list; “Do you offer RAW photos?” While it may seem trivial, providing unedited photos is like your caterer serving you a half-baked cake. They’re goopy in the middle, lack the decoration that makes them beautiful, and don’t taste good. Nobody wants that, you especially. And second; “Can I see/have more photos”. Your photographer will spend literally days sifting through a thousand photos to select the ones that capture the magic of your special day the best. Trust them to do their job. Plus you really don’t want to manage that many files – take it from me.

Know when you can see the goods.

After the dust has settled and you’ve opened all of your wedding gifts you’re going to be looking forward to seeing the photos from the big day.

Do yourself a favor and find out how long it’ll take to get your finished gallery back. It goes without saying that editing hundreds of photos takes time, but there’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’ll have them back by the time you’re done with your honeymoon and instead finding out it’ll be another few weeks until you can take a look.

Now, if you’re the type that wants some of that sweet, sweet instant gratification (don’t we all?), ask if your photographer has options to see your photos, or at least some of them, sooner.

A lot of photographers (me included) offer *rush editing*. Although expensive, it’s the best option to get your pictures back when you just can’t wait. Another, more cost-effective option to find out about is if your photographer offers any sort of gallery sneak peeks. As one of my add-ons, I offer social media sneak peeks so you get some insta-worthy photos to post while you wait for your final gallery – it’s like tasting that spoonful of icing before it gets put on the cake.

There are many things to consider when choosing the best photographer for your event, and sometimes multiple candidates seem like a good fit. At the end of the day, go with your gut. Your intuition will always lead you to the right person. YOU GOT THIS!

If you’re in the market for a wedding photographer in the Portland, Oregon, area and want to explore the possibility of me being your photographer for your wedding, drop me a line. You can also click around my website to learn more about me, view my pricing, or view a few sample galleries.

Meet the Author

Tonya Wright is a wedding and elopement photographer based in the greater Portland Oregon area – and wherever her passion for photography takes her.

Her photography focuses on authenticity and genuine emotion, steering clear of clichés and awkward poses. To her, when you’re grooving in your comfort zone, with the people you love, doing what you love, everything clicks.

You can follow Tonya on Instagram at @nestandlove