Photos are memories, and your memories matter. You’ll immediately want to share your wedding photos with those closest to you and you’ll reference them throughout the years, reminiscing about your dress, first kiss, first dance and the whole day. That’s why your wedding photographer is an essential part of your big day.
Finding the right wedding photographer near you is hard. You want someone to understand you, your relationship, your style and your vision for your wedding day and capture it all in your wedding pictures. You also need to find someone you are comfortable around and have chemistry with since he or she will be with you almost every moment of your wedding.
In order to help pick your perfect wedding photographer, there are some tips you can follow.
Pick your style.
Photographers have different styles. I would describe mine as a photojournalistic approach, authentic, and true to color (with a touch of bold/vivid). I edit to enhance the memory. Some photographers have a dark and moody approach to editing, while others stay light and airy. I like to stay more true to color so you can remember exactly what your day looked like, colors and all.
Set a budget.
Most weddings have a budget. It’s what keeps our weddings on track and saves you from accidentally spending way too much. If you aren’t sure what to budget for a photographer, start searching for different photographer costs in your area. That’ll help you, as wedding photographer prices vary by region.
Book your venue.
Your venue sets the tone for your whole wedding. This will also help you narrow down the area in which to look for wedding photographers. Some wedding photographers, like me, do travel, so don’t worry if you fall in love with a photographer out of your area. You can always ask if they will come to you.
Do your research.
Once you figure out which style suits you, your wedding day photography style and your venue and set your budget, it’s time to research. We’re lucky! The internet has made it super easy to look at reviews online and through social media. There are TONS of Facebook groups to join and ask for recommendations from fellow and past brides.
Interview your favorite photographers.
Always request to see a wedding shot from beginning to end from your photographer. This will give you a good idea of what your wedding photos could look like. Then, when you meet up with potential photographers or talk on the phone, ask them questions like:
Choose your photographer.
Once you’ve spent some time with potential photographers, you should have a good understanding of how each works and differs from one another. It’s important to list key attributes of each out, but ultimately, go with your gut on which photographer you feel the most comfortable with. After all, they are going to be with you a lot on your wedding day.
Schedule a test.
A few weeks ago, I talked about the truth behind engagement sessions. This is the exact type of test run I’m talking about. Not only will you get amazing engagement pictures, but you’ll get to see your photographer in action and bond with them. This will only make you more confident in your choice on your wedding day or you have time to choose another photographer before your big day.
Engagement sessions have become quite popular, and this Toledo photographer absolutely loves doing them, especially if I’m photographing the wedding, too. One of my favorite things about photography is learning about people and their stories and celebrating them! Engagement sessions are super special because I get to learn about people’s love stories, too: how they met, how they fell in love, how they agreed upon forever. Each story warms my heart and reminds me of true love. It’s so cool to hear how different couples come together, too.
Each story is unique. You have the high school sweethearts that found their way back to each other after many years. You have those who overcome hard times to be together. You have those that face hard times together and come out stronger. You have those that just knew they would be together from the start and then you have longtime friends who fell in love when they weren’t planning on it. I love learning about these different stories and how each couple is different, yet the love they share is so real and rare.
Just look at the way these two are looking at each other! I get to capture that look of true love again and again. What a neat experience to document!
Engagement sessions are important to have with your wedding photographer because it helps you get to know each other. There needs to be some chemistry with your wedding photographer. If I get to know you before your wedding, you bet I can tap into your personalities more and make the photos just that more special. It also helps you get more comfortable in front of the camera and trust me to make you look your best!
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, though. Like last night… I was taking engagement photos when I lost my footing for a shot on some not-so-solid ground and down I went. Luckily, my arm shot up straight with my camera, so no gear was hurt in the process. Once we made sure I was okay, the couple laughed and smiled at my muddy, wet self. I was laughing, too. What better way to bond with your photographer than over an embarrassing situation! Thanks Travis and Chelsea for acting like it was no big deal!
A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about finding YOUR perfect wedding photographer. In it, I listed a few questions to make sure to ask the wedding photographers you interview. I’d LOVE to take an interview with you, however, I didn’t want you to wait for my answers.
So, without further ado, here are my answers:
What is your turnaround time?
I HATE waiting, so I make sure you have sneak peeks within 48 hours, with your final photos ready within 3-4 weeks. I don't have patience myself, so I like to get started with editing right away.
Will we receive a print release?
Yes! You can print through me in your gallery (more info below), or if requested, you will be provided with a print release to print on your own.
How would we receive our photos?
Online or on a flash drive. Flash drives are available if added on or included in your photography package. Otherwise, I utilize an online gallery called Pixieset to deliver your photos. Just share your link and Pixieset allows your gallery to be viewed by anyone with your link. You do need to share your passcode if you would like others to be able to download your photos. It is super handy to share with all family members. And it gets better! You (or your family members) can order prints and products right from your gallery! Just select the photo you want to order, click the shopping cart in the upper right corner, and your image will appear on all of the products you can order. And if someone else wants to order your photos, you don’t have to coordinate! They can order and ship directly to themselves.
How do you approach each wedding?
Weddings are very similar yet very different. They all have a general flow, but each couple and wedding is different and I handle it as such. Some weddings have coordinators who handle all timelines, but I can always help with timelines and answer questions to help make your big day flow better and be flawless. With 53 weddings officially (as of yesterday) under my belt, I have done this a time or two and can give a lot of guidance.
How do you handle possible changes?
Roll with it. You are my ONLY client on your wedding day. I can adjust with you.
How do you help pose and calm nervousness?
I read the room. If jokes are respected, I will crack a ton of them. If you need a pep talk, I got you. I’ll pose with my second shooter to help show you poses, or if you need, I can physically help with your placement. I will tell you what to do with everything, even your hands. Don’t worry about a thing!
What is your price range and what do you expect from us at the wedding and before?
The price depends on the couple's needs, so let’s have a conversation about your needs, and then we will talk price. Before the wedding, just let me know when to arrive and what are photo must-haves, especially with family. Your mind will be on everything but who to include in photos, so I suggest starting this list early. When you provide it to me, I will be able to make sure everyone is included in the photos, and I can organize it to keep the family photo flow going and easy. At the wedding, just enjoy yourself. Don't worry about us - we will grab you if we need something or to get back on schedule if things get sidetracked.
Thank you for considering me for your wedding photographer. I can’t wait to hear from you and help preserve your wedding day memories!