The excitement is running high and you still can’t believe that your life is about to change. You look down at your hand at the beautiful ring that was just placed there and a myriad of thoughts run through your mind as you try to conceive what all of this means. There is pure joy and happiness, but also fear and a bit of feeling overwhelmed as you figure out what needs to be planned, who needs to be contacted and what you want your wedding day to look like. There are a lot of decisions and choices to make!
But when its all said and done, the most important things are who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, the people who were there and will continue to be there to support you, and the memories you’ll take away from it. So for that last part, how do you ensure you’ll have the best memories possible and a way to look back on them for years to come?
Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer
Over the many years I have now been shooting weddings, I’ve come up with a list I hope will help you in making your decision about who to choose for your wedding photographer. There are a lot of things to consider, but I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips in making sure you get the perfect photographer for your wedding day.
#1: Personality and Connection
Your photographer is the one person who will spend the absolute most amount of time with you on your wedding day. Even more than your fiancé or bridesmaids, mom or any other vendor you hire. Saying that, it is so important you have a great connection with your photographer and that you can establish a trust with him or her months before your wedding day. You want your wedding day to go as smoothly as a possible and hiring a photographer who you get on well with and who you feel a genuine connection to will help things so much because you know you won’t have to worry about anything.
What kind of images are you looking for from your wedding day? Does the photographer you’re looking at have a portfolio of work that speaks to you? Can you imagine your wedding images looking like those of other weddings they’ve shot? There are many styles and approaches to shooting weddings, and ultimately, you want to find a style that matches who you are, but also keep in mind that certain trends and looks that may be hot right now, may tend to look dated in 5, 10, 20 years or more. Something I knew was important to me when planning out my day was to have someone that had a style I knew I would still see as great photography on my 10th anniversary. It’s partly why when I shoot, my style and editing approach to my images is clean, simple and bright. I know that the images will still look beautiful, even if styles and color choices change, the images will still be timeless.
#3: Wedding Day Approach
I have been part of a countless number of weddings, and I can assure you that something always comes up to make the schedule of the day change from what was initially planned. What happens when this occurs? Can your photographer work with the unexpected? A big part of figuring this out is during a pre-wedding consultation. Something I offer anyone interested in hiring me for their wedding day service is a place and time to meet together over a cup of coffee to get to know one another and explain how a typical wedding day with me goes. It’s so important to know you have someone there who has experience with weddings to know what to do when the unexpected happens. It’s a way you can have assurance that your wedding day images will still be captured when things don’t go exactly to plan.
#4: What others are saying
How did you come across the photographer you are most interested in hiring? Was it a referral from someone? Perhaps you found them by searching on Google. Maybe a Facebook post or ad peeked your interest. However you heard about them, chances are others have used their services. What are those people saying about them? How was the experience your friend had or what does your friend have to say about others who have used this photographer’s service? Testimonials are a great reference point for you to hear firsthand how things went when hiring a photographer. Check out their reviews on Facebook and what others have been posting about them. Perhaps their website has a testimonial or two and if nothing else, ask your photographer-for-hire for references. He or she should be able to provide you a handful of past clients you could contact for more information if you want it.
#5: Wedding collections and what you receive
There are a myriad of items you can receive from your wedding day and digital files are likely one of the most sought after items most brides ask for. While I do think digital files from your wedding are important (and why every collection I offer has a copy of them included,) I also feel a very strong and important need for brides and grooms to have at least some of their wedding images in print. There have been many stories about digital images being lost or damaged long after delivery to a wedding client and all of their memories were wiped away. What’s also sad is when all of those beautiful images live their life of eternity on either a disk or another digital device that either becomes obsolete (can no longer view the device on a computer or other source) or the images just stay hidden away, forgotten about in a drawer or on a hard drive somewhere. Memories are meant to be remembered and viewed often so they stay part of our lives. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of having them? Every collection I offer has either prints or a book or album that is included so I know that my brides/grooms have something tangible they can share with others in their lives. If you’re out and about, there is something sentimental and special about paging through the pages of your wedding story filled with beautiful images. I will also say from a personal experience, one of my son’s favorite things to do is pick up our memory books and look through them to ask us questions about us when we were younger :) He doesn’t do that with images on our computer.
So now what?
There are a lot of things to consider, and I still remember going through my own wedding day planning and trying to plan out all of the details. I knew that photography and having images to remember as our lives grew and changed was very important to me. I wanted images that told a story, ones that captured emotion. And I wanted something that documented our lives and our day as ours.
Know that if you find a connection with a photographer who has a style you love and you feel like it could be a great fit, keep in mind that quality is of the utmost importance. Perhaps a photographer who doesn’t quite meet all of your criteria is a little less expensive than the one you really want. But in the end, your memories, including your experience from start to finish, are what you’re walking away with and will have for generations to come.
I hope these tips have helped a bit, and my goal is to provide more articles going into more detail of each of these topics to better prepare you for your wedding day and leave you excited about what’s to come! Don’t hesitate to drop me a note with any questions you might have – I’ll be happy to answer them :)