Tips On Finding Your Wedding Photographer in Hawaii

Now that you've decided you want to get married in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful places on earth, you must be thinking "Who will help me capture this beautiful occasion?"

If you already know which Hawaii island you want to get married on, then deciding on a wedding photographer is much easier and straightforward. If you haven't decided which island yet, no worries, we've got you covered! Check out our other article "Which Hawaii Island Should I Get Married On?" for tips on making that decision. We highly recommend doing that first before deciding on who should photograph your big day.

We've come up with a bunch of tips and resources to help you find the best Hawaii wedding photographer:

  1. Brainstorm: think about the overall vibe of your ideal wedding: traditional? Glam and dramatic? Soft and romantic? Narrowing down your ideal wedding style will help you decide what type of photographer best suits your needs before you begin your research. We recommend looking up wedding photos for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram (use keywords like 'hawaii beach wedding' in your search, and a bunch of beautiful photos should pop up from there!). Warning: once you start this step, you may find yourself spending hours and hours perusing tens of thousands of photos. Try to pace yourself and enjoy this entire process - if you begin this step early on, it'll be really fun and inspiring! You could even consider doing this with your bridesmaids and even create a Pinterest board to share with them so all of you can pin Hawaii wedding inspiration photos to the same board.

  2. First-round research of wedding photographers: after you've decided on the overall 'feel' or theme of your wedding and the wedding's photography style, we recommend you begin the second step of creating a list of potential Hawaii wedding photographers. You can start doing research on Google by searching "Best wedding photographer in {ISLAND NAME}". For example, if you Google "Best wedding photographer in Oahu", you'll find a ton of search results, whether it be individual Hawaii/Oahu wedding photographers' sites, or sites like The Knot that have compiled a list of photographers for you (which you can then sort by price and reviews). You can also go on and look up wedding photographers based on your island. For example, we found 466 wedding photographers on Yelp in Honolulu, Oahu. By reading through their reviews, you'll be able to understand each Hawaii wedding photographer's style, quality and their customers' experience with them. This first round of research can be very general, and you should come up with a list of 10-20 Hawaii wedding photographers. No need to fret over specific details like their prices, packages available or logistics yet.

  3. Narrowing down the list of Hawaii wedding photographers: once you've done your first round of research and have come up with a list of 10-20 Hawaii wedding photographers, you can start narrowing them down based on their availability, price, and quality. We recommend sorting them based on their reviews and portfolios (oftentimes available on their websites or social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook or Yelp pages).

  4. Contacting the list of Hawaii wedding photographers: starting reaching out to the top 3-5 photographers from your list of 10-20 Hawaii wedding photographers. Most wedding photographers will make their email addresses or inquiry forms (on their wedding websites) easy to find, so you shouldn't run into any issues finding their contact information. Note that popular Hawaii wedding photographers will usually be booked out months in advance, especially if you're going to be holding your wedding on a popular day (Saturdays) of a popular month (e.g.: summer).

  5. So, what should you say in your email/inquiry? Here's an example template of what this outreach inquiry may look like: "Dear X, I'm planning on getting married in Hawaii on Oahu on {date} in an intimate beach wedding of ~10 guests. I came across your {website URL} and love your work! I'd love your advice on the best spots for a romantic, beach-y wedding ceremony {or other style your wedding will be}. Would you be available to shoot our big day and what are our options?"

  6. Once you've reached out to the top 3-5 Hawaii wedding photographers from your list, keep an eye out for how quickly they respond - this is an important indication of their service quality. If a wedding photographer takes forever to get back to you, chances are they may not have the time/bandwidth to cater to your needs, or when the time comes to receive your wedding photos, you may need to wait much longer. Another key consideration is how well you connect with them, whether through email or in person (we would recommend even perhaps doing a video chat with them to get a gauge of their personality!). This is because on the day of your wedding, not only will your wedding photographer be in charge of shooting and capturing the important shots, but will also need to interact with you and your partner, as well as the other wedding guests. Not everyone is a natural at posing for photos, so hiring a wedding photographer who has a warm, approachable personality is important!

  7. You should also consider things like whether the wedding photographers you get in contact with recommend photographing at sunrise/sunset/mid-day, confirming how big a group your wedding party will be and whether they'd need a second shooter, whether it'd be a whole-day event or just a 2 hour shoot, etc. If none of the top 3-5 wedding photographers are available or suitable for your wedding day (perhaps they're too expensive and out of your budget), then simply go down the list of 10-20 wedding photographers you've found and contact the next 3-5, and so on...until you find someone that fits your needs!

  8. We also recommend providing either a link to your Pinterest board, or attach a few screenshots of the wedding photographer's work that you really love to give them and idea of what wedding photography style you're looking for. This will help set the stage for your expectations as their client early on, and allow the wedding photographer to do their job well on your big day.

  9. Finally, depending on all of the factors mentioned, the package and pricing these Hawaii wedding photographers quote you may differ. Based on the responses and details/level of helpfulness these wedding photographers provide you with, you can go from there and move forward with the one that best fits your requirements. It's also a good idea to ask for the expected cost by providing specific requirements and location, and clarifying what exactly will be provided (edited digital copies up to 100? Wedding photos printed out for an additional cost of $10 dollars per print? etc). We recommend you make a spreadsheet and keep track of costs so you can compare pricing and what you get across your top wedding photographer choices before you make a final decision.

  10. Once you've agreed with the lucky wedding photographer who will be capturing your marriage, you may likely need to sign a contract and place a deposit. Before signing anything, make sure you read through the fine print and understand everything. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to the wedding photographer for clarification!

  11. A week or two before your wedding, make sure to reach out to and check in with your wedding photographer on the finalized wedding location spot you will be meeting and be ready to arrive at least 15-20 minutes ahead of time. The wedding photographer(s) will likely need to give you instructions and plan out how, when and where they will be, and what they'll need you and your wedding party to do in order to photograph everything and not miss anything important!

  12. Wedding poses: this is a fun one that may slip your mind in all the chaos that is part of planning a wedding! We recommend researching and compiling a list of poses (if you have any special poses you'd like to be photographed in, or signs/props you may want to use) and providing that list to your photographer, either in advance or before your wedding ceremony.

  13. After the big day: this is the part where you just sit back and wait for your wedding photographer to send you your long-awaited wedding photos! Make sure they deliver what was in the signed contract in terms of delivery date, edited vs unedited photos, number of photos, quality of photos, etc. If anything is not as expected, communicate clearly with them in a follow up phone call/email to discuss it.

Best of luck! We hope you will find an amazing Hawaii wedding photographer to capture your big day. Trust us, it's worth the time finding the right wedding photographer, as you will definitely be looking back on your wedding photos in the many years to come and sharing them with your loved ones.

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