Looking For Charleston SC Wedding Photographers How To Hire One…!

looking for Charleston, SC wedding photographers, according to The KnotWedding Wire, Google, Facebook, and other websites, there are approximately 390 professional wedding photographers in Charleston. However, none of these websites require every vendor to prove they are properly licensed in South Carolina or in any of the municipalities in Charleston. As someone who has advertised with Wedding Wire and The Knot, I can attest to this. Unfortunately, Google and Facebook also do not verify this information and only require an address and business name.

While there are some great wedding photographers in Charleston, SC who are properly licensed, I want to educate you and give you the option to decide if 390 photographers are too many. As the owner of King Street Photo Weddings and with over 18 years of experience capturing over 600 weddings solely in Charleston, SC, I want to provide you with honest advice. My goal is to share the most important information you need to know when exploring your options for a wedding photographer in Charleston, SC. Many brides, mothers, wedding coordinators, and vendors have asked me to share this information to make it easier for you to choose a wedding photographer.

If you read this informative post, you will save months and hours of research. My purpose as the owner of King Street Weddings is to share my professional experience of knowledge of what you would have never thought to ask and what most wedding photographers hope you would never ask for. While other photographers have posted blogs on how to choose a wedding photographer in Charleston, they only cover basic questions. I want to educate you on wedding photography and proper business ethics and the questions you must ask. 

My hope is that you will make the best and wisest decision for your special day. Many grateful wedding clients have sent me emails thanking me for putting in the effort to help them make this decision. That is all I want for you.

Let’s embark on this journey together. Many wedding photographers may lead you to believe that if you love their website or portfolio images, you’ll hire them without considering all the factors. However, this decision may result in disappointment as the images on their website may not reflect their overall work. So, it’s important to be cautious and consider all aspects before making a decision. Before we get into the tips, let’s address a crucial question: do you want a digital, film photographer, or both? This is important because each has its own set of drawbacks. For instance, with digital photography, memory cards can malfunction, resulting in the loss of photos. But, if you hire a professional photographer, they can avoid these issues by taking necessary precautions. Similarly, film photography can also have issues such as loading the film incorrectly, bad shutter, or incorrect flash sync speed. Therefore, it’s helpful to make sure your photographer has experience with both digital and film photography.

Now, let’s discuss my #1 tip: ask your potential photographer for links to their two most recent weddings. This is an important question that most brides overlook. It’s crucial to see their most recent work as it reflects their current skills and style. Don’t fall for their best work or any other weddings. Just ask for the most recent two weddings they have photographed, edited, and posted. In conclusion, it’s essential to consider all factors before hiring a wedding photographer. Remember to ask questions that will help you make an informed decision.

Your objective is to review two completed, edited weddings. You should examine the way in which the weddings were captured from beginning to end, starting with pre-photos and first looks (if applicable) and ending with reception photos. Quality is more important than quantity, so pay attention to the quality of the wedding images. Some wedding photographers outsource their editing, so keep that in mind. You want to ensure that the wedding images are perfectly edited and that the photographer is a true professional. Look for exceptional quality in pre-photos, including those with the groom and groomsmen, the bride and bridesmaids, and family members. Pay attention to detail photos and ensure that they are exceptional. Avoid photos that look like a sporting event where the same photo is taken a few seconds apart. Are you seeing the same family photos more than once? Make sure that the ceremony photos are captured from different angles and locations. Compare the wedding images you see with those on the photographer’s website. Ensure that the images are well-documented in a compelling story and chronological order and that they are properly edited. Finally, pay attention to the color space and sunset reception photos. Look for consistency in soft balance strobe lighting. Are the reception photos overexposed or washed out? Is the lighting inconsistent? Ensure that the images are not too grainy or have bad color profiles. Seeing two or three different wedding photographers’ fully edited and posted recent weddings will give you a clear vision of what to expect from your chosen professional wedding photographer.

Let’s discuss the website where you can share your wedding photos, how they will be posted, and how you can share them with your loved ones. When you view weddings on different platforms, you’ll notice that photographers upload the photos on different websites. There are several companies that you can outsource to upload your wedding photos and provide you with a link to access them. However, it’s important to note that these companies differ in various ways. Some add a watermark to every photo, while others have limitations on the devices that can access the photos. Additionally, some platforms do not allow you to share the link with your family and friends, and others restrict downloading and using the images. It’s crucial to choose the right platform that meets all your needs. Your wedding photographer should have done their due diligence in researching and finding the best platform that matches your requirements. This will enable you to share one link with everyone seamlessly. You want to ensure that your family and friends can access and use the photos without any limitations.

When it comes to obtaining your wedding photos, it’s crucial to confirm with your photographer whether you’ll be receiving them via download, thumb drive, or both. Be sure to have this agreement in writing on the contract. Additionally, ask your photographer about their expected turnaround time for delivering all of your wedding photos. This information should also be included in the contract. A professional photographer should provide an estimated timeframe of no more than 3 to 6 weeks. It’s important to note that if your photographer only offers a download option, you may not receive high-resolution images. Downloading large files can also take a significant amount of time, depending on your internet speed. To avoid these issues, it’s recommended to request a thumb drive that includes high-resolution images. Be sure to inquire about the size of the thumb drive and the average number of photos it can hold for an 8-hour wedding coverage. Some photographers may only provide small-sized files and require an additional fee for larger files or prints. To avoid any surprises, ask about printing rights and fees upfront. If a photographer cannot provide satisfactory answers to these questions, it’s best to consider another photographer. When selecting a wedding photographer, it’s important to view their work and compare results from multiple photographers. You want to ensure that you’re investing your time and money wisely. A professional photographer should spend 20 to 30 hours editing your photos and providing them in a storytelling way with proper color balance. They should also bring backup equipment and lighting to ensure that nothing goes wrong on your special day. Overall, it’s important to have peace of mind knowing that you’ll receive amazing and well-captured wedding photos. By asking these essential questions and reviewing the contract thoroughly, you can have confidence in your decision and enjoy your special day without any worries.

After reading this crucial tip, which I have meticulously crafted and you have devoted your time to reading, you may want to revisit your initial thoughts on hiring a professional wedding photographer. It is recommended that you review at least two or three photographers, each with a minimum of two weddings in their portfolios that they have shared with you. Only then should you consider signing on the dotted line.

Tip #2: Effective Communication is Key

Based on various surveys, including Google, it appears that many individuals lead very busy lives. As a result, they tend to search for wedding vendors during work hours. While this may not be ideal, it is understandable. To make initial contact with a wedding photographer, many people simply send an email with basic inquiries. This is a great way to start the process. However, the problem arises when a response is received. There is a so-called proper etiquette that suggests responding to inquiries within a 4-hour window. I do not know who came up with this theory, but I disagree with it. In today’s digital age, we check our PDAs between 74 to 80 times a day, according to surveys that span various age groups. Therefore, business owners should be proactive and respond within minutes or an hour if they are too busy. On a wedding day, they should not be expected to respond immediately. The communication you receive from your wedding photographer during the selection process is a reflection of the service you can expect to receive for almost an entire year. Therefore, I suggest narrowing down your list of wedding photographers after following Tips #1 and #2. It is imperative to find the perfect fit for your needs. To test this, arrange a phone conference or a live chat. This will make a significant impact on your final decision, as it plays into 50% of your choice. Remember, you will be speaking with the wedding photographer to plan your special day, and you will spend the entire wedding day with them. Communication is crucial in this process. Ensure that the photographer listens to your needs and vision for your day. This will provide you with peace of mind because you are always the client, and this is your wedding!

Tip #3 When choosing a wedding photographer

it’s important to consider their experience and attention to detail when it comes to creating a timeline for your special day. Your wedding day should be stress-free and enjoyable, and having a well-planned timeline is key to achieving that. While your wedding coordinator may be able to help, it’s recommended to hire a photographer who can take care of this task for you and incorporate it into one master timeline. This can be achieved through a meeting or phone conference where you and your fiance can share your vision and the photographer can offer their expertise on the best way to capture your day seamlessly. When selecting a photographer, consider asking for examples of past wedding timelines they have created for their clients. This will give you a better idea of who is best suited to create the perfect timeline for your wedding day.

Tip #4 -When it comes to hiring a wedding photographer,

it’s important to ask if they are licensed and insured. Specifically, ask if they can provide proof of a State of South Carolina license, a license for the municipality in Charleston, and liability insurance that meets the requirements of the wedding venue. Many people assume that just because a photographer has a website and calls themselves a wedding professional, they are properly licensed. However, in Charleston and other municipalities in South Carolina, wedding photographers and vendors are required to have various business licenses. This includes licenses for the City of Charleston, the Town of Isle of Palms, the Town of Mount Pleasant, and Sullivan Island. It’s also possible that the wedding venue will require proof of liability insurance and a business license. Legitimate liability insurance can only be obtained by an actual business that is properly licensed. As a responsible photographer, I always provide proof of my licenses and liability insurance to clients and venues. In short, it’s important to ensure that your wedding photographer is properly licensed and insured to give you peace of mind on your special day.

Tip #5 – The Last One for This Post

In the past, when you were looking to hire a business, you used to ask for referrals and make a few phone calls. However, in today’s world, prospective wedding clients tend to check Google, Wedding Wire, The Knot, and many other wedding companies to assess the credibility of the wedding vendors. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of checking only one of the above sources and assuming that every vendor has good reviews. This is not always accurate. To make things easier for you, I suggest that you take the total number of reviews from all three companies mentioned above. This total will provide you with a more accurate picture of who has the most five-star reviews. Google makes this process simple for you. When you search for a photographer’s name or company, you can usually find their reviews from the web. As for me, I currently have 385 lovely and honest reviews, which I am very proud of.

For 23 years, I have dedicated myself to providing exceptional service to every wedding client I have been fortunate enough to work with. I have spent countless hours perfecting this guide on how to hire licensed and insured wedding photographers in Charleston, SC. Thank you for taking the time to read this informative information. I believe that every wedding client is special and deserves the best. It’s important for each of you to be well-informed and make the right decision. I’ll leave you with this quote.

”Cameras & lenses are just worthless tools unless you have the perfect storyteller, a human who knows how to use that tool or tools a true artist, that can capture the beauty of the art, emotion, of any weddings & more importantly people.”

May you have the most amazing wedding and that it is in fact captured perfectly…!

My very best always,



King Street Photo Weddings is a team of wedding photographers and cinematic videographers serving SC and beyond. We specialize in fine art, unobtrusive, timeless, perfectly captured both wedding images and videography. Are you planning a wedding? Click here to view our photography wedding portfolio, and here for our cinematic wedding portfolio or contact us here for availability and investment. Happy wedding planning!

To see these beautiful venues and our photography & videography click on the header post above, then you will see below from our previous blog post some of the amazing weddings on the bottom of the post that we have had the honor to capture at Merchants Hall Charleston, SC. Just click on the related links and enjoy;

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