Brides and Grooms to be, you're out there hunting for your vendors and getting overwhelmed by all the options and vast array of things to consider. I understand how difficult it can be to choose a photographer for the biggest party you may ever throw, so I've compiled some tips to help you through the process. As a photographer who recently got married, I know EXACTLY what you're going through and there are some things on this list that may not occur to everyone, so let's do this together!
There are so many great photographers out there and it's easy to get overwhelmed and love them all! Take your time and pick a photography style that resonates with you most and be sure to tell your photographer exactly what you love about their work. Do you love golden portraits, emotional candids, funny outtakes etc?
During your research you'll get an idea of what to expect cost-wise. It's really important to know what you want out of your photography (engagement session, album, guest sign in book etc) and have a budget in mind when you decide to book. Many photographers have specific ways they price out collections and they can vary greatly from person to person. If you know what you want but don't see a collection that fits - ask! Many of my clients book with a custom quote - often my collections are a starting point. Asking for a custom quote is a great way to make your price-shopping clearer and easier to understand and it's a service I'm happy to provide to get you exactly what you want :)
3) BOOK AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION
Booking an engagement session in the months before your wedding day is a really great way to capitalize on your efforts. The benefits are multi-fold 1) you get stunning portraits of you and your boo without the stress timelines 2) We get to know each other and when I tell your fiancé to sniff your ear/nibble your cheek you won't look at me like I'm crazy 3) It puts your hair and makeup trial to great use!! You get all dolled up and now you have fab photos to remember it by. And, seriously - they're just so much fun!! Being all snuggly and smushy with your favorite person is basically the best thing and having it documented = #winning
Aside from loving my work, you should also love me! After all, chances are I'll be spending more time with you on your wedding day than anyone else - even your spouse! From getting hair and makeup done to the sparkler grand exit I'll be by your side, capturing all your moments, keeping you on time and giving direction when need be. I'm a friend in the process and it's important you feel that way too!
5) ASK QUESTIONS
Don't be shy - ask questions! Wedding photographers are often untapped wells of knowledge - we know lots of makeup artists, wedding planners, beautiful venues - you name it! I'm happy to provide referrals and more. Curious about what gear I use or how many images you'll get? Want the freedom to print on your own terms but are afraid to offend me by not using my lab? PLEASE ASK! I'd so much rather refer you to a great lab than have you risk printing at Costco or CVS!!
ps. I use all Canon professional gear and you'll generally get about 100 images/hour of coverage ;) and Mpix is a great, they're the consumer-friendly little sister of my professional lab, Millers.
6) INCLUDE ME IN TIMELINE CREATION
If you're using a coordinator/planner they generally keep vendors included in this process, but it's really important to involve your photographer! There are a finite amount of daylight hours and you want to be sure to utilize the best light (the 2 hours before sunset) for your portraits and all other important images. Once the sun sets we are really limited with the style of images we can capture and those golden, glowy portraits are done for the day.
7) CREATE SHOT LIST
There's no way around it, family formals are a pain! The best way to expedite this process and make it as pain-free as possible is to create an organized shot list of all the names and groupings you want. I have a sample list I'm happy to provide if you need guidance - but this often gets put to the last minute and TRUST ME, the last thing you want on your wedding day is to be figuring out groupings of people and running around trying to gather the people that have strayed off. Creating a list also includes all the important details you spent the past months deliberating over - heirloom jewelry, vintage pocket squares, your late grandmothers handkerchief you're crying into etc. This really helps keep things concise and helps me capture all your must-haves. Plus, I love lists, and checking things off them - so yay!
8) FEED VENDORS ON TIME
This one is a biggie and can be a toughie too. Caterers generally prefer to feed the bride and groom, then the guests and lastly the vendors - which means that by the time we're fed a) we've been on our feet for 6+ hours, hustling in the summer sun and sweltering heat and b) you're finished eating and moving on to toasts and mingling with your guests. Often times our food sits for hours before we can 'wolverine' it down in 5 minute shifts at the end of the night. Ideally, if we can eat at the same time as the bride and groom we get to take a breather and come back refreshed and rejuvenated for the energetic dance portion of your evening. Bonus - you get to skip on the ever-glamorous 'chewing' photos of you and your guests ;)
The greatest gift you can bestow upon me is your trust. You've hired me because you like my work and hopefully me too, so now all I need from you is your trust. Creative vision can be a shy creature, it needs space to breath and grow. Watching you laugh with your loved ones at your beautiful venue is where all the inspiration comes from <3
10) HAVE FUN!!
You've made it! You've done all the planning over the past months, all the pieces are in place and great aunt Hildy knows where to be and when - so now it's time to relax and have fun! This goes hand in hand with trust - all your vendors have been hand selected by you and we want to support you and create the best day possible for you. All you need to do is show up and enjoy yourself and it will shine through in the images you will cherish for decades to come!
Thank you so much for stopping by! I truly hope you found this helpful and would love to hear from you! Fill out the form below to reach out and take the next step in planning your big day :)