There are so many wedding photographers to choose from… How do you know which is the right one for you? I was recently asked by In Check Events to write a guest blog post for them about this topic. And because it’s good info, I’m going to share it here too!
You just got engaged. You should feel nothing but euphoria, and yet, in the back of your mind you’re already thinking, what venue are we going to use? What wedding planner? Florist? Photographer? The list feels endless. But I’m here to help 😉
Obviously I’m biased, but I do feel that choosing the right wedding photographer is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make with regards to your wedding day. For a few reasons!
- Their ability: What if your priority was the venue, décor and details, and your photographer was so crappy at their job, that your venue, décor and details looked horrendous? A good photographer will understand how to work with the light that has been set up at your venue to create a distinct mood and will take photos that will allow you to look back in 10 years and remember exactly what you felt that night.
- Their personality: You will spend probably MORE time with your photographer on your wedding day than anyone else, including the groom!! They better be rad, or you’ll be chasing them with your spikey-heeled Louboutin by the time lunch rolls around. It’s important to meet your photographer prior to booking them. What if you are quiet, shy and totally introverted, and your photographer is loud and obnoxious and totally cray? It’s important to find someone that you will click with, or you may end up feeling uncomfortable on your wedding day.
- Their back-up plan: This is THE most important thing to ask your photographer at your initial consult. Weddings don’t allow for do-overs. If we lose a memory card, or a memory card corrupts, or our camera stops working and we don’t have a backup… Then what? Make sure your wedding photographer has thought through every one of these scenarios and done everything in his/her power to protect your images! When I booked my first solo wedding, I purchased a new camera (even though there was nothing wrong with the one I had) that had two memory card slots. So every photo that I take, essentially gets taken twice. Then, throughout the day, I will swap half full memory cards out for fresh ones, and back up the used ones onto a portable hard drive. So by the end of the day, your images are in 3 places instead of just one. I also have a back-up camera in case of emergency. Another part of my back-up plan is a 2nd shooter. I refuse to shoot a full day wedding without one. Not only are they another set of eyes, ears and legs, I trust that my 2nd shooter could take over for me in case I break my leg, or get in an accident on the way to the venue etc etc.
- Their style: Spend some time perusing through some photographer’s blogs or portfolios. We all have slightly (or dramatically) different styles; bright and airy, matte or vintage, dark and moody, or very natural, to name a few. Some of us have a more documentary style, some of us use posing to create dramatic images. Find someone that has a body of work that really speaks to you, and makes you feel something.
- Their package: What is more important to you? A cd of images at the end of it all? Or a gorgeous, custom wedding album, designed around your day and your details? Or maybe a huge canvas for your living room wall? It may cost your more up front, but you will NEVER regret purchasing a wedding album. I promise you that 😉
So you’ve booked your dream photographer, now what? Here are some frequently asked questions by brides to be:
- Do you recommend an engagement session? I highly recommend doing engagement photos, if possible, with your wedding photographer. This allows the photographer and the couple to get to know eachother a bit before the big day, and it allows the photographer to learn your angles, so that you will both look your very best in your wedding images!
- Do you want me to add you to my Pinterest board? Absolutely. I love poking through my brides’ inspiration boards! But please understand that you have booked your photographer for THEIR style. If a photographer has to spend most of the portrait time copying another photographer’s work, they are not being given the opportunity to create something unique and spectacular based on YOUR location, YOUR wedding dress, YOUR veil, and YOUR lighting situation.
- Do you want a shot list? Only for family portraits. We will always do our best to capture all the little details of your day, but I always ask my clients for a list of family configurations. This not only helps to speed this part of the day up, but can also reduce stress and awkwardness if there are broken families or separated parents involved. Try to keep this list to immediate family only. The longer we spend on family portraits, the less time we have to hang out with the bridal party or just the two of you! There is always an opportunity to get photos with aunts, uncles and cousins at the reception!
- Do I feed you and your 2nd shooter? We always appreciate a warm meal after working all day! Some photographers will include this in their contract, and will stipulate if they don’t receive a warm meal, they will be given a 30-60 minute break to find dinner elsewhere. Feed your photographers!! I don’t know about you, but I get hungry 😉
- How long will it take to receive my images/album after the wedding? This will vary a lot from studio to studio. Some photographers literally take 2 days, some take 3 months. I don’t think this matters, as long as you are aware ahead of time. Nothing is more frustrating than being promised something, and not having it delivered in that timeframe. That being said, we’re all human, so a little grace during busy season is always appreciated 😉
- How much time should I allow for portraits on the wedding day? Your wedding planner will be able to sit down with you and offer advice with regards to your timeline, but generally we need about 30 minutes for family, 30 minutes for bridal party, and then an hour for couple’s portraits.
- Do you recommend a First Look? I leave this decision entirely up to the couple. Some couples are very adamant about seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, and I think that’s a beautiful thing! However, I’ve shot a lot of weddings that have utilized the First Look, and it’s so sweet. There is no one watching except the camera, so the emotion can be so genuine! It also helps to get that “out of the way”, so to speak, so the nervousness dissipates for the remainder of the day!
I hope this helps you in your process to choosing a photographer for your wedding day! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through the inquiry form!