How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

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Ensure your special day in Napa/ Sonoma is captured on film.

Weddings in Wine Country are generally chosen for their scenic appeal, which makes finding the right photographer all the more important. Napa is a popular location for destination weddings, but long distance research can put a strain on your wedding planning enthusiasm. Here are some tips to help you choose the right Wine Country wedding photographer for your big day:


Browse local listings, read reviews, and immerse yourself in bridal forums in an effort to begin weeding out the photographers that stand out from those that strike out. Then visit their personal websites and social media pages to pursue portfolios of weddings held in similar venues. Keep a keen eye out for customer reviews, testimonials, and how responsive they are to your communications.

Meet in person

Online research is all well and good, but few things can substitute for an in-person interview to discuss your expectations and desires on your wedding day. If you like what you see in the portfolios and are comfortable with their service fees, set up a personal interview during your next trip out to wine country. In fact, if you’re traveling to the Napa/ Sonoma area, schedule interviews with up to 5 available photographers so that you can compare notes.

WineCountry Tip: Read what the say about themselves, that can give you an insight to their personality. Tim Halberg (picture below) considers himself; Adventurous, Mischievous and Indulgent – which definitely comes shows through his lens.

Think about style

Every wedding photographer has a particular aesthetic and point of view. Paging through endless photo galleries will help you hone in on the style that most speaks to you. A photojournalist/ documentary style will focus on telling the candid story of your wedding, portraiture will emphasize posed moments, and fine art photographers will produce highly dramatic, slightly grainy images often shot on film rather than digital. Napa favorite T.J. Salsman is one local photographer that specializes in a photojournalistic approach. Once you’ve identified your style preference, narrow down the list of photographers to include only those who have a similar perspective.

Ask the right questions

Ensure that you are meeting with the photographer who would be covering your wedding, not a sales consultant or studio owner. During the interviews you’ll want to get a sense of their experience, professionalism, aesthetic, and personality. Come prepared with some of your top questions or concerns written down so you can be sure to get as much value out of your time together as possible.

Ask to see full galleries of past weddings – not just the hand-picked galleries available online. This will give you an idea of what your full collection of photos may look like.

Ask when you will receive the edited proofs and how many images you should expect. Inquire about whether digital files are available and what additional products are for sale.

During the interview process, pay particular attention to the photographer’s personality and demeanor. Having a photographer that is responsive to your needs and requests is perhaps the most important aspect. You want someone who proactively makes suggestions but is friendly enough to accommodate any special requests you may have.

Review the contract

Before booking your wedding photographer, carefully examine the services contract to ensure that there aren’t any surprises on your big day. The contract should stipulate exactly who will be shooting your wedding, the contingency plan should that person become unavailable, whether any assistants will be attending, who owns the rights to the images, the final rate, and how many hours of photography coverage are included. If anything is not up to your expectations, feel free to ask and re-negotiate, professional photographers are often open to accommodating special requests.


WineCountry Collective

WineCountry is made up of a dedicated and passionate team of wine, food, and travel aficionados. We diligently explore regions, both near and far, to curate the best ideas and resources. Whether you're musing over your next wine escapade, planning a romantic weekend away, embracing the Wine Country lifestyle at home, or are simply looking to be entertained for a moment, trust us to be your comprehensive guide.