August 2, 2017

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

How to choose your wedding photographer

How to choose your wedding photographer

One of the key items on any wedding planning list is choosing your wedding photographer. Your wedding photographs are one of the few tangible things that will remain long after your wedding day. So it makes sense to have a few questions in the back of your mind to help you make your final decision. But what should you ask?

Here are 5 important questions you should be asking each potential photographer:

What is your shooting style?

Photography is more than just my passion. It’s a part of who I am. The reason I specialize in wedding photography is because I love what weddings represent. I’m a lifestyle photographer, so I create images that tell a story. I genuinely care about uniquely expressing your love story through photographs. Unlike some lifestyle photographers that only shoot what they see, I pay attention to details and will adjust certain things as needed to eliminate distractions and create only strong photographs that allow the subject to stand out. Some might say that I’m a perfectionist, but my couples always thank me for making them look their best. You can view my portfolio to see examples of my shooting style. 

Why you want to know: Going with the style a photographer likes to shoot best (and has the most experience shooting) will give you the best results.

How do you give direction during the day?

Your wedding is the beginning of one of the most important and rewarding relationships you’ll ever have. But it’s also a celebration of all the relationships you’ve developed along the way and the ones who have shaped you into the people you are today. Capturing these relationships is my favorite part of shooting a wedding. Sometimes breathtaking moments don’t just happen, so I help set the stage by offering direction.

For Instance:

You’re in the getting ready room with your mom, and you want a photo of her putting on your necklace that was passed down from her mother. Instead of just saying “Okay mom, go ahead and put her necklace on” and then standing back and documenting that moment I might instead say “Okay mom, while you’re putting her necklace on I want you to stand behind her and reach your hands around her neck as you put it on, turn and face your daughter as you do this think of how beautiful she looks all grown up, on her wedding day.” The emotion that I get from that second photo will hands down be more true than if I just had her put on your necklace. It’s simple directions like these that will enhance your photos throughout the day.

How I Give Direction to Draw Out Emotion:

Kristen and Elliot are a perfect example of how I give direction to create moments. They came to me, extremely dissatisfied with their previous photographer. They felt like they looked awkward in the photos they received and weren’t given any real direction. 5 minutes into their engagement session with me they were so excited that I was actually giving them direction; where to place their hands, movement to incorporate into the photo and things for them to think about as they were standing or walking. It can be really intimidating and awkward having your photo taken, and it’s my job to make it fun and effortless for you!! These photos turned out stunning, and I bet you would have never guessed that they aren’t professional models. They have the same insecurities as most people do. You can check out their engagement session here.

Why you want to know: You only have one chance to get amazing wedding photos, so you want to make sure you’re working with someone who’s as passionate about your wedding as you are. Your photographers ability to give direction is key!! 

How many weddings have you photographed?

I started specializing in weddings in 2012. Since then I have photographed over 100 weddings. The number of years someone has been a photographer might not be as relevant as how many weddings they have photographed. 

When I first started out in the wedding industry I started by 2nd shooting with several amazing photographers. It was a great way for me to gain not only technical knowledge but also experience with how to handle certain situations that often arise on a wedding day. As a wedding photographer, more goes into the day then actually knowing how to operate a camera. 

What is the difference is between a lead and 2nd photographer?

The lead is in charge of creating the timeline and sticking to it. They give direction, are in charge of posing and setting up the shots. The 2nd photographer is there to capture different perspectives and assist the lead . The 2nd might also be in charge of capturing the groom getting ready photos and formal portraits. 

Every wedding I photographed, as a 2nd or a lead, I have learned valuable skills and tips that have helped me become a better photographer. Over the past 2 years I have transitioned from mostly a 2nd photographer to solely the lead. Although I prefer being the lead, I will still 2nd for some of my close friends as it allows me to keep growing and learning from other photographers and allows me to use my creativity in different ways. In case you’re wondering, I have photographed over 35 weddings as the lead.

Why you want to know: How many weddings someone has photographed vs. the number of years in the business are two very different ways to measure their level of expertise.  

What will the process be like leading up to the wedding?

I want to be as involved as possible. We will meet face-to-face at least 2-3 times prior to your wedding and keep in touch throughout the whole planning process. There may or may not be a lot of coffee involved. I truly want to know what makes you guys laugh and which one of your smiles is your real one {rest assured I will call out those fake smiles}!!

  • Initial Consultation: 9-12 months 

During this meeting we will spend the first part just getting to know each-other. We will be spending a lot of time together on your wedding day, and we want to make sure we’re a great fit. Next we will create a rough timeline of your day, discuss questions you have and decide which package might be the best fit for you guys.

  • Engagement Session: 3-6 months 

If you choose to have an engagement session done, which I highly recommend, we will spend the session getting to know even more about each other. This session is extremely valuable since it gives me the opportunity to see how you interact as a couple, teach you posing techniques and make sure you’re both extremely confident in front of the camera. On the wedding day you will know exactly what to do!!

  • Expectations Meeting: 1 month

This will be our final in-person meeting before your wedding. We will spend time going through all of the expectations for your day. Things like what is the most anticipated moment of your day, what are your top 10 must have photos, family formal list and names of the most important people at your wedding. It’s important to me to learn and become familiar with the names of all your family members and bridal party prior to your wedding. I want to be able to call them all by name. We will also go over the final timeline I’ve created and make sure everything is in place.

Why you want to know: This allows you to make sure that your wedding photographer is as involved in your wedding as possible.

What backup systems do you have in place?

  • What if your camera or other equipment stops working? 

I have a backup camera in my bag at all times, in case my main camera were to ever malfunction. I also have backup batteries, and memory cards in case there was an issue with one of mine. My camera also has dual card slots so I’m able to copy each image onto two separate cards in case one was to ever have any corruption issues I would have a duplicate copy.

  • What happens if you are sick or unable to photograph my wedding?

In the extreme event that I was unable to photograph your wedding, I would have my second photographer take over as the lead. {I would have to be unconscious or deathly ill to miss a wedding…just staying}. In addition to having over a dozen close friends I would trust with my own wedding to call for backup as a second, I’m also part of an amazing photography community on Facebook. I know they would step up to help in case of an emergency!

Why you want to know: It’s always good to know the backup plan!

Have you booked your wedding photographer yet? Do you want to find out more information from me? Click here to set up a coffee date so we can chat details.  I can’t wait for us to connect.

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