HOW DO I CHOOSE MY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
There are many things you need to know when you are in the process of looking for a wedding photographer that will be the perfect fit for you. Once you have scoured through portfolios online and found a wedding photographer whose style you love, you need to meet with them face to face. Let’s say you’ve come across Chris and Becca Photography. These photographers will be spending a lot of hours with you during some of the most intimate and emotional times of your day. Your personality needs to mesh with them in order for your day to be the very best. Let your wedding photographer see your personality during the consultation, learn about your photographer’s personality. You will know by the end of the consultation if you are going to click with this team or not.
You will want to make sure to ask questions like do you bring backup gear in case of malfunctions? Do you photograph with two cameras on you throughout the day? Does your camera have two slots for memory cards so that it is backing up a second set of images in case of a malfunction? Do you bring off camera flash? Do you carry liability insurance? How long have you been in business? How many weddings have you photographed? Do you have wedding albums I can look through to see how you photograph the wedding day from beginning to end? Do you have a second photographer that works with you during the wedding day? All really good questions to ask your potential wedding photographer.
Once you have decided on your wedding photographer, you want to schedule an engagement session. This is a time for you, your fiancé and your wedding photography team to get to know each other! You will spend several hours together. It is a dry run before your wedding day. It is the very best way to get to know each other and be sure that you really are the perfect fit.
WHO IS REALLY PHOTOGRAPHING MY WEDDING?
Beware of wedding photography mills. There are many out there that are nationwide. Make sure you are meeting face to face with the person that will be photographing your wedding. You want a relationship with your wedding photographer, not someone that is going to call you a week out from your wedding then show up the day of your wedding and you have no idea who they really are. You can look through images from businesses like this and they will have a beautiful portfolio to show you but chances are very high that the images you are looking through are not captured by the person that they will send to cover your wedding day photography. We do many destination weddings and work with out of town clients all of the time. Have skype conferences with your wedding photographer so you can see them face to face. Plan a vacation to the city they live in so you can work with them for your engagement session. It is a great way to get images that are not local to what you see in your city.
Find a photographer that specializes in Weddings. Our studio is a full service studio but we also have 3 photographers that specialize in various aspects of the photography business. I specialize in weddings, Linda specializes in newborns and family, Terri specializes in senior high students and image restoration. Linda and Terri are my second photographer and assistant at weddings, we all assist each other with sessions in the studio. Linda and I do the majority of editing. You would not want someone photographing your wedding that does not have a lot of experience and expertise in that area of photography. Just like you would not want someone photographing your baby that does not have extensive knowledge on safety and how to handle your newborn.
WHAT ABOUT HIRING A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER?
If you are thinking about hiring a friend or family member for your wedding photography, think very carefully before doing so. How many weddings have they photographed? Do you like their style? Your friend or family member will not be offended if you do not hire them. They never get to attend a wedding as a guest. I would never be offended if my friends hired someone else. I am always behind the camera at weddings, attending as a guest would be very refreshing for me. It is usually best not to mix business and pleasure anyway.
TIMELINES FOR SUCCESSFUL WEDDING IMAGERY
Work with your wedding photographer and your wedding planner together on building a timeline. Everything always takes longer than you think it is going to. You need to make sure you are on time for getting ready, that you have a very professional hair and makeup team that can keep a timeline very tight, even if fixing the eyelash extensions every 3 minutes. Kidding. If they run over, you lose opportunities for some fantastic images because it will cut into your timeline. If you are having to travel from your getting ready location to your ceremony location then to your reception, allow extra time for unexpected traffic delays. These two scenarios are what usually throw the time line off considerably. Plan a little extra buffer for this. The extra time you may pick up from not having any delays just means more time for amazing photographic opportunities with your wedding photography team.
WHAT IS A FIRST LOOK?
A first look is a very personal choice between the couple. It is non traditional but it does give you a chance to get some really emotional imagery. Your timeline will have to accommodate this. Once you are done getting ready, your wedding photography team will take you to a pre selected private area for you to see each other for the first time. It is done before your ceremony. It is a chance to see each other with none of your friends and family around. You tend to show more raw emotion because of this. It is a very special moment between the two of you and also gives you an opportunity to get beautiful images of the moment you see each other for the first time. Once the first look has been done, we can capture more images of just the two of you. After those are completed, we can do your family portraits before the ceremony as well as your wedding party time permitting. It is a great way to get to your cocktail hour and start celebrating with your friends and family right after the ceremony instead of having to spend an hour photographing your formals. It also gives you a chance to enjoy seeing each other as you walk down the aisle and really absorb everything going on.
GET RID OF YOUR PINTEREST OR SCRAP BOOK OF IDEAS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING DAY
You do not want to imitate someone else’s wedding, you want someone else to see your wedding and want to imitate it! A few weeks before your wedding, do yourself a favor, let all of it go. Delete your Pinterest board, give your idea book away. You hired all of your wedding professionals for a reason. Trust them to do their job to make your wedding unique and your own. If you have a list of must have shots for your wedding photographer, you could end up very disappointed. Weddings have a mind of their own and each location is different as well as the season, the weather. Let it all go and let your photographer create amazing images for you. If they have done weddings for years, they know all the must have moments to capture and will already be photographing all of your special details from the day. A seasoned wedding photographer has a sixth sense of when things are happening and they capture it for you. Delete those boards, focus on your day, each other, your love, and let your photographer capture your love story as it unfolds. The only shot list we require and work on together is your family formals.
I have already been all over your Pinterest boards to gain insight to what you love. We will not copy anything but we will put our own creative twist on your wedding day photos. If you have a reception location that does not have much pizazz, consider draped fabric and colorful up lighting, add market lights over the dance floor for some beautiful images. Have floating candles in water on the tables around your flowers. Nothing turns drab into classic and beautiful like this type of décor. It also photographs beautifully giving more interest to your reception photographs and first dance!
CONSIDER AN UNPLUGGED WEDDING
Couples, please consider an unplugged ceremony. Please encourage your guests to be present during your wedding ceremony and to put away their devices. Enjoy the ceremony live and not through a small screen. You spend a lot of money on your wedding photographer and you want them to capture your ceremony without a sea of camera phones in the aisle blocking your vows and first kiss or your groom having to stretch past blocked views of you as you come down the aisle just so he can see you past the sea of cell phones that are in his way. Your guests do not need to be engaging on social media for your wedding ceremony, everyone is there! You will be much happier with your images if you have a sign stating you want an unplugged ceremony at the entrance to the ceremony site where guests sign your guest book that they please put away their devices and be present for the ceremony. Your wedding officiant can announce the same to reinforce it before you walk down the aisle. Follow this link to truly understand what I am talking about. You will not be happy with your ceremony images if this happens to you.
DRINKING ALCOHOL BEFORE YOUR CEREMONY
Having a mimosa while getting ready to celebrate or doing a celebratory shot while getting ready is great! Just be careful of over doing it, you have an entire day to celebrate and you want to make it to your reception! If you are like most couples, you have had a pretty fantastic night before your wedding day of celebrating with friends and family as well! Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat breakfast! You do not want to faint during your vows or your wedding party to faint. Stay hydrated and save the serious throw down for your reception!
RECEPTION DO’S AND DON’TS
During your first dance, father – daughter dance and mother – son dance, ask your DJ to not use disco or laser lights. They do not make very beautiful images! During the rest of the dancing, let him go to town with it if this is the type of atmosphere you want on your dance floor, just remember, lazer lights are not very attractive on your guests in photos! Feed your wedding professionals. Your photography team will need to eat when you do, not after all the guests have been served. They have been with you all day and they will be hungry and need energy. They need to be finished eating when you are done eating so that they can capture anything that unfolds. Please consider sitting them at a table in the main dining area that is on the outskirts of tables but still close enough to see the action. If you have a table that is not completely full, sit them there. You do not want them tucked away in another room on another floor where they could miss impromptu toasts or anything important that you may want captured during dinner. Please don’t have regrets of missing the image of a grandparent or other family member/friend do something unexpected and we can’t capture the memory because we are not present. Be very clear with your reception manager, caterer and wedding planner about this if it is important to you. Otherwise, we will possibly miss documenting some very important moments for you.
PRINT THE PHOTOS YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH!
Your wedding day is over. A month has passed since it happened. You get your wedding images!! It is like reliving your day all over again! It brings back the emotions of your day, you get teary eyed looking through them, you both see what the other was doing when you were getting ready, you see things your guests did during the ceremony and reception that you did not get to see because you were focused on each other. You are blown away by seeing everything as it unfolded and how much you did not see happening. It is exciting and you are so happy all over again. Now what? Do you take your USB and stick it in a drawer after uploading all your favorites onto social media to share with the world??
Print those beautiful images! Talk to your wedding photographer about designing an album for you if you have not already purchased it in your collection. Have them print a few wall portraits for you. We use archival quality materials to print your images. They are heirloom quality, will not fade over time and will last for generations so that you can pass them down someday. When the wedding day is done and becomes a distant memory, your wedding day images will spark emotion and help you to remember that day clearly over and over as you look through your album year after year and your kids see your wedding day then grandkids. Your wedding day images are all that remain after all of the planning, hard work and money spent to make that day spectacular. Do not cut corners on the one thing that stands the test of time. Your wedding images.