Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Hiring your wedding vendors can be stressful, and hiring a wedding photographer is no exception. There’s a lot riding hiring the perfect photographer, because there’s nothing worse than poor wedding photos. Not only do you want to be able to look back on your wedding day many years from now, but wedding photos are the best way to include family and friends who couldn’t make it to your big day.

Below are some tips on hiring a wedding photographer. Like hiring a wedding DJ, it can be a confusing process. If you live in or around Phoenix, Arizona, I’ve also included a list of some of my favorite photographers in the area.

Planning a wedding? I’ve also listed some of my favorite caterers and venues in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tips for Hiring a Wedding Photographer

  1. Do your homework

There are a lot of photographers out there, and to be honest, some of them are hobbyists at best. The best way to tell the difference between a professional and an amateur is by reading reviews and checking out their websites. Client feedback is important, and an active website or social media handles is usually a good sign. Photography is a visual business, so any photographer that doesn’t share their photos should be considered carefully.


  1. Understand your rights

Before hiring a wedding photographer, always ask about your rights in regards to photo usage. Many contracts give the photographer all rights to the photos—meaning they could use your wedding photos is promotional materials (websites, blogs, and ads). This also means that you may not be able share these photos without a watermark. You also may have to pay an extra fee to buy back the photos if you want to print them. Make sure to ask first!


  1. View wedding albums in full

Don’t just rely on the photos the photographer has chosen to highlight. A photographer will show prospective clients their best photos in a portfolio. To get a better idea of their work, ask to see a couple of wedding albums in full. This will also give you a better feel for their style. If it seems like all of the photos could easily have been in the portfolio, then choosing that photographer is probably a good bet.


  1. Let them know what you’re looking for

If you have a certain photography style in mind for your wedding, let a prospective photographer know. Ask if they have experience shooting in this style, and if you can see wedding albums that most align with what you’re looking for. By narrowing down what you want, it’s easier to narrow down that long list of potential photographers.


  1. Compare wedding packages

Just about anything to do with a wedding can be expensive, and photography packages are no exception. I’ve seen them go for up to $13,000 and more. If budget is an issue for you, as it is with most people, finding the best wedding photography package for the least amount of money is a must. When interviewing potential photographers, be sure to ask how their pricing works, and what is included in the quoted price. Don’t forget to ask how much extras may cost!


PC: Steven J Aquilino at SJA Studios

Photographer Recommendations for the Phoenix Area

 Below are some of my favorite photographers in the Phoenix area. I’ve worked as a wedding DJ and MC for many years, and can guarantee that these wedding photographers consistently deliver amazing photos every time!

SJA Studios

SJA Studios specializes in modern, elegant, and timeless photos. They do engagement sessions, and wedding packages start from $1599.

Harley Bonham Photographic Artist

With Harley Bonham Photographic Artist, you’ll be able to sit down and hammer out the details, so that nothing is overlooked. This will give your photos the perfect personal touch!

Jenn Wagner Photography

Jenn Wagner Photography treats its clients like gold and takes to time to sit down and speak with them. They specialize in classic and elegant wedding and engagement photos.

PC: Harley Bonham Photographic Artist

Drew Brashler Photography

The photographers at Drew Brashler Photography believe that “love conquers all” and will do anything to ensure you get the perfect wedding photos. They want to you to be able to look back on your wedding and “…remember exactly how it felt to live and love that day.”


I know that planning your wedding can be one of the most stressful things you ever do. Finding your vendors should alieve some of that stress, so I hope this list helps you narrow down your wedding photographer search!


Know any great photographers in the Phoenix area? Have some of your own tips when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer? Comment below!

Looking for a Wedding DJ & MC? Check out DMR Wedding Entertainment!

Header Image Photo Credit: Katie_photographer at flikr.com

Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Top Songs for Reception Events

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Being a Wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies means I really have keep up to date on pop culture. While there are always the “classics” when it comes to wedding reception music, new songs become popular every season. I like to get to know my couples, so I can steer them in right direction when it comes to reception music, especially if they’re unsure about what music choices they want for different events. Most couples have thought about their First Dance music, but many haven’t considered that they may want a specific song for the Bouquet Toss or Cake Cutting Ceremony.

The song choices for each reception event help tell your love story, so it’s important to choose songs that represents you. While I am writing a list of some of the most popular songs for each reception event, you should always go with what means the most to you. And remember, your song choice will be important in creating the atmosphere you want at your wedding. It can be romantic, fun, nostalgic, and so much more. So, without further ado, here is a list of some of the more popular songs used at specific reception events:


First Dance

 For the First Dance, it’s so incredibly important that you choose the song that represents you and your love story!

  1. “Make You Feel My Love” — Adele
  2. “A Thousand Years” — Christina Perri
  3. “Stand by Me” — Ben E. King
  4. “Love” — Lana Del Ray
  5. “All of Me” — John Legend

Father/Daughter Dance

Finding the perfect Father/Daughter dance can be tricky. You want something special and meaningful, but not romantic.

  1. “It’s for My Dad” — Nancy Sinatra
  2. “To Sir with Love” — Lulu
  3. “I Loved her First” — Heartland
  4. “My Girl” — The Temptations
  5. “Isn’t She Lovely” — Stevie Wonder

 Mother/Son Dance

 Same not as with the Father/Daughter dance. Meaningful but not romantic.

  1. “Sweetest Devotion” — Adele
  2. “You’ll be in my Heart” — Phil Collins
  3. “I’ll Stand by You” — The Pretenders
  4. “Home” — Phillip Phillips
  5. “You’re Gonna Be” — Reba McEntire

 Cake Cutting Ceremony

 This can be fun or romantic!

  1. “Honey Bee” — Blake Shelton
  2. “Build me Up Buttercup” — The Foundations
  3. “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” — Pat Benatar
  4. “Stuck Like Glue” — Sugarland
  5. “You and Me” — Dave Matthews Band

Bouquet Toss

 The Bouquet Toss is definitely a good time for some fun, on-the-nose songs. 

  1. “One Way or Another” — Blondie
  2. “Eye of the Tiger” — Survivor
  3. “Another One Bites the Dust” — Queen
  4. “Dear Future Husband” — Meghan Trainor
  5. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” — Beyonce

 Garter Removal/Toss

 Like the Bouquet Toss, this is a fun event that deserves a fun song. Or a sexy one!

  1. “Let’s Get It On” — Marvin Gaye
  2. “SexyBack” — Justin Timberlake
  3. “Who Let the Dogs Out” — Baha Men
  4. “Wild Thing” — Tone Loc
  5. “I Like the Way You Move” — Outkast

 Last Dance

 You can do just about anything with this event. The music can be romantic, fun, and anything in between. It’s a great way to end the night and begin looking forward to your future together.

  1. “Best Day of my Life” — American Authors
  2. “All You Need is Love” — The Beatles
  3. “Marry You” — Bruno Mars
  4. “You’re My Best Friend” — Queen
  5. “Don’t Stop Believing” — Journey

Top Songs for Reception Events