February 10, 2019
A brief guide to discovering and booking the photographer for you.
When is the best time to start looking/book a photographer?
Around a year in advance is a great time to book your photographer. Most don’t book much further than that ahead! Plus, this gives brides plenty of time to do engagements and send out save the dates. You won’t want to wait long because your dream photographer’s schedule might already be booked for your date if you do!
What questions are important to ask when looking for a photographer?
Asking to see a full wedding gallery is appropriate and important. Instagram shows all the highlights, but what you really want is consistency and a taste of what your final product will be.
Ask how your photographer will ensure the safety of your images. This is something I take seriously by documenting a wedding to two cards and backing up external hard-drives in multiple places before those cards are ever cleared.
Ask honestly! You don’t need a 30 item checklist you found on Pinterest or theknot.com to make sure your photographer is a fit. Use your own curiosity and genuine concerns to discern for yourself if this is the gal—or guy for you!
Beyond the right price and date, how can you tell if a photographer is a good fit for you, your wedding & style?
Fit for you:
The most important thing, in my opinion, is knowing that you click with your photographer because if you’re not comfortable with them on a personal level, this will translate in your images. Speaking from experience on both sides of the camera, I know if I love the person who’s photographing me, I’ll love the photos. Your emotions truly do translate into those two-dimensional images. I try to keep an open flow of communication between my clients and I because I understand that the moment I point my camera at them, they’re put in a vulnerable place and I want them to feel confident. That can only happen if they’re comfortable with me. I don’t believe every photographer is the best fit for every bride! The best way to know this is by simply getting to know your photographer beyond their business. Meet up and chat for a bit!
Fit for your wedding & style:
Chances are if you click with your photographer’s personality, your wedding will most likely fit in with their aesthetic. This is probably the main thing that drew you to them in the first place. Though, keep in mind that there exists a whole spectrum of styles, aesthetics, and strengths within the photography segment alone. Do you want someone who is strong shooting details or is an incredible portrait photographer? Do you like the fine art, editorial feel or do you prefer high contrasty images? Every artist sees the world differently so keep that in mind if you’re completely torn—go for the one who inspires you with their art, their mission, their values.
What are the best expectations to have of your wedding day and wedding photography?
TIMELINES—I’m singing that word, not yelling it. Expectations are great! Though it is impossible to exceed those expectations without the time needed to create. While we photographers are as sensitive as possible to the flow of the day and can work quickly under pressure—when there is ample built in time, the day seems to flow so much easier for our couples and we can truly create photos that reflect a peaceful and joyful mood—because that’s what existed! These days typically are the weddings with a first look. The first look always eases nerves, allows for so much more time together, and opens the timeline up for more flexibility in getting portraits done before the ceremony.
Secondly is budget. There are so many new photographers flooding the market all the time. While this is awesome in one respect, the accessibility of “cheap photographers” has lead to a misconception that brides can get more for less. My number one motto is quality over quantity. These new photographers mean well by charging 1,000-2,000 for full coverage, engagements, bridals, and all the little extras, though the quality suffers greatly. Unfortunately, these brides don’t realize in their attempt to save money, they have also put themselves at a greater risk for a subpar product, if they receive it at all. I’m not saying every photographer in that range fits that generalization and that a higher priced photographer wouldn’t do the same—though I’ve heard too many horror stories of amateur photographers losing weddings, failing to deliver on time or to the quality they portrayed in their portfolios. Your photographer can make or break your wedding experience. I beseech you to not skimp on this area. Please! You might not realize the significance of this investment until after the fact so take my word for it now!
What is my biggest advice to my brides?
My biggest piece of advice to brides is to find inspiration from your own love story. It is very easy to get swept away in the trends and your current Pinterest feed, but I truly implore you to take some set aside time to go somewhere that inspires you and dig into why you love in the first place. What about him tickles you? What about your story is unique? Don’t tell me nothing—there’s something there if you dig deep enough. What excites you about marriage? What inspires you in life? What did you dream about as a little girl? What do you two dream about now? Where have you been, where are you currently, and where are you going? With the right stylist, you can take the depths you’ve just explored and transform them into a tangible design that communicates your story visually.
Let it go!
Once you’ve found your dream photographer—let go! I know it can be hard for some, but if you really love your photographer and their work, they won’t disappoint you. Trust enables us to be free in our creative process. Instead of creating out of fear, we are able to create work you’ll love. I think this goes for all of your vendors—if you love them, you’ll set them free—ha! Communicate your desires, and then tell them you trust them. You’re bringing together a team of people who should know what they’re doing and should excel beyond anything you could try to orchestrate yourself if you’ll give them the freedom to do so.