How to Find (and Choose) the Perfect Costa Rica Wedding Photographer

Costa Rica wedding photographer Toh Gouttenoire-min

Choosing your Costa Rica wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make | Photo courtesy of Toh Gouttenoire

When you’re planning your wedding in Costa Rica, a lot of work goes into the… well, planning! After all, whether large or intimate, fancy or casual, this promises to be one of the most important days of your life. And by important, we mean significant. And by that, we mean you need to be thinking about your Cosa Rica wedding photographer.

Big leap, you say? We think not. Because, at the end of the day (literally), your wedding is but a day – or a weekend or, okay, if you’re going all out, an entire week! – but the memories? Well, the memories last a lifetime. Great photos will help.

We don’t say that to be funny. Photos really do help. Because, in the moment, your emotions sweep you up. It’s hard to commit every minute, every look, every smile to memory because you’re too busy experiencing the actual moment. And that’s exactly as it should be. Don’t observe; experience.

Enter your wedding photographer – Editor’s note: your talented, experienced wedding photographer who really gets you – and his job it is to experience nothing and see everything. That’s why this may be the most important I-do decision you never knew you had to make. Because, while every other wedding decision affects the day/weekend/week itself, your choice of Costa Rica wedding photographer affects how you reflect on that day, for the rest of your life.

So, you know – no pressure.

How to Find Your Perfect Costa Rica Wedding Photographer

Costa Rica wedding photographer at waterfall-min

Choose a photographer who is willing (and experienced enough) to trek into your dream photo location(s) | Photo courtesy of Toh Gouttenoire

Not to state the obvious, but you can always start your search with a simple question: Who do you recommend?

You see, as vast as it is, Costa Rica is a small place. Our wedding network is even smaller. So, if you were to be looking for a spectacular wedding photographer, and you were to ask us that question, we might respond with two simple words: Toh Gouttenoire.

Toh is one of our top choices of Costa Rica wedding photographer, and we’re so lucky that he’s located right here, in Tamarindo. Talk about kismet.

Not only is Toh insanely talented, but he’s multi-talented – and we think this flexibility and adaptability are important in your wedding photographer. Beyond your standard day-of photography – and, honestly, nothing Toh does is “standard,” but you catch our drift – he offers drone wedding photography, trash-the-dress and creative sessions, wedding day preparation, and other services. As we said, multi-talented.

Of course, your decision rests on more than a recommendation: You have to vibe with your photographer. This has to feel like a good fit. And that’s where this Q&A comes in:

14 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Costa Rica wedding photographer beach sparklers-min

Search for a photographer experienced in your locale and ceremony+reception details | Photo courtesy of Toh Gouttenoire

We think the best way to choose a wedding photographer is to ask a lot of questions. Here are a few we’d recommend make your list:

  1. What’s your style? For example, Toh relies on a photojournalistic style to help capture and reflect on all the natural moments, glances and emotion of your wedding day. Focus on your photographer’s style, because it will deeply influence his photos.
  2. Can I see your past work? Sometimes, we laypersons (aka non-photographers) don’t really understand all the nuances of a photographer’s style – at least, not until we see it with our own eyes. Chances are, you’ll know what you love when you see it. So, look.
  3. Have you ever shot a wedding like mine? We’re not talking reproduction value here. When you’re talking about a location as diverse as Costa Rica, experience can really make the photographer. Whether you’re exchanging vows on the beach or hiking in to a secluded waterfall, you want a photographer who’s willing, experienced, and excited to shoot your photos.
  4. What kind of experience do you have? Honestly, the answer to this isn’t as important as seeing past work and whether a photographer has ever shot your type of wedding before, but it’s still important: More experience generally translates to a more spectacular final product. Especially if there are technical difficulties on the day. (You don’t want to know.)
  5. How open are you to my ideas? We all know the creative stereotype – eccentric, unwilling to bend, and full of ideas you may not love – but you probably don’t want that in your Costa Rica wedding photographer. Whether you hope to be involved in planning a few key shots, or just want to make sure you’re included in important decisions, search for a photographer who welcomes your wishes. It is your wedding, after all.
  6. Can I meet you before my wedding? This is a gimme for most couples but, when you’re planning a destination wedding, the answer isn’t so obvious! So, ask. The best photographers will be willing to meet you in person, if you make a pre-wedding scouting trip, or via Skype if you don’t. They should also meet with you anywhere from a few days before, to the day before your wedding, to go over last-minute details.
  7. Do you post-produce my photos? If you don’t want to receive unedited, raw wedding images on a thumb drive – and we’re betting you don’t, or else Uncle Jerry would be shooting your wedding on his fancypants new DSLR he bought as a birthday present to himself – then you need to confirm that your photographer will post-produce (ex. color correct) your images to professional standards and a high quality, finished product.

And now, for a few more practical concerns:

Costa Rica wedding photographer drone photography-min

After some truly once-in-a-lifetime imagery? Then, look for a Costa Rica wedding photographer with a varied skill set.

  1. Do you have a team? Most photographers are not solo artists; their team is there to help set up shots, provide assistance, carry backup equipment, attend to any problems, and help in other ways.
  2. What kind of equipment do you use? We’re not worried about the technical details but, while we’re on the subject of backup equipment, you want to be sure that your photographer has some.
  3. How many weddings will you photograph that weekend? Make sure your photographer has the resources to cover his schedule.
  4. What will you wear to my wedding? If this seems like a silly question, then it’s not something to worry about. But, if it sparks some consideration, then ask.
  5. What happens if we run over time? You don’t want a $1,000-per-extra-hour surprise, do you?
  6. What happens if you’re sick? Your photographer is experienced; he’ll have a contingency plan. Or, he should. Better to know before the fact. If a photographer can’t explain his contingency plan, then keep looking.
  7. How long will it take to receive our photos? This is not a question meant to rush, but rather to manage your expectations. Because – heads up! – typical answers can range from a fleeting two weeks to an impressive six months’ turnaround!

And, there you have it: a few tips, 14 questions, and plenty of food for thought before you hire your Costa Rica wedding photographer. Congratulations on your engagement and enjoy the planning!

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