When I first got engaged and dove into planning our wedding day, Andy and I were overwhelmed. I honestly think it was the biggest reason we eloped and opted to do a fun brunch reception a few weeks later. It was so bad, we didn’t even ask our wedding photographer friends to bring their cameras! It’s so hard to suddenly become a wedding expert, no matter how many issues of Martha Stewart Weddings you cram! Let’s face it, there are also so many different styles of photography out there, how do you know you’re making the right choice? What if you chose wrong? Too many options can be overwhelming.
Now that I am on the other side of the business, I love being able to give my couples a unique experience in which they are given lots of education along the way so that by the wedding day they know exactly what to expect from me and my team. Being an elementary teacher taught me a lot of things, but most importantly it taught me that communication is key. I truly believe there is the perfect photographer out there for every couple! Today I want to share ways you can become wedding experts when you chose your photographer.
#1- Define Your Story
I suggest this right off the bat because it’ll help you figure out what style of photography you are looking for. For example, I’m a fine art wedding photographer. I go into every wedding wanting to tell your story in an artistic way, to give you portraits that evoke emotion and will be displayed in your home over generations. There are also photographers who strictly shoot in a journalistic way, doing less posing and more shooting. There are photographers who are more traditional, with lots of posed portraiture and less documentation. Before you even touch Pinterest, sit down with your fiance and discuss what kind of story you want to be captured on your day.
Are details important to you? Do you want lots of family portraits? How important is photography to your day as a whole? These are all questions you can ask each other to start to define your style.
#2 – Find Someone You Connect With
This one seems so silly but it’s true, you want someone who you like to be around! You’ll be with your photographer on average between 7-11 hours on your wedding day. They are going to be with you during some of the most emotional moments of your life! Liking them is important! You may love someone’s work but if you don’t connect on a personal level you may feel self-conscious or turned off by their behavior. Sometimes we just aren’t a good fit, and that’s totally ok! In fact, it’s a good thing! Trust your gut on this one.
#3 – Their Photos Give You Pause
As I said earlier, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to wedding photography. When a couple stumbles upon my website, I know they are either going to love it or hate it, and I’m 100% ok with that. In fact, that was my intention when I designed my site! I want couples to connect with my work. To feel something. I want them to imagine in 50 years when their grandchildren see their photographs, they will see how they loved each other. What about their work makes you feel something? Is this the feeling you want for your day? Every consult I have I ask the couple the same question: “What do you want your photos to feel like?” and I truly believe it’s the most important question a photographer should ask.
#4 – Trust is Key
This is a biggie for me, in order for me to give my clients the best experience possible, they have to trust me. A wedding day should be filled with joy and moments and love and not be worrying about the shots your photographer is taking. My clients trust me to tell their story honestly, which is why I don’t work off of extensive shot lists (besides family formals and a handful of heirloom photos) because it distracts from the beauty happening in real time. Like I stated earlier, trust your gut, you’ll know the right fit when you talk to them. If you find you aren’t a good fit, just let them know and continue to search. Consultations are so important to have before you book because you get a chance to get to know each other and ask questions.
Bonus Helpful Tip – Make sure to look at recent blog posts for a good representation of their work from the beginning to end of a wedding day. If you don’t see a blog, you can always ask to see a gallery during your consultation. If you inquire with a photographer and they don’t end up being the right fit, make sure to send them a quick email letting them know.
I hope this helps you in your search for the perfect wedding photographer to tell your story! Remember, while amazing images are wonderful, the day is about the love you two share and capturing those special candid moments you can look back on for generations to come.