Congratulations, you newly engaged lover! You are now ready to start planning what is sure to be one of the most fun, most beautiful days of your life.
But the process of planning such a day can be completely overwhelming, which is why you need to gather your "Dream Team."
When my husband and I were engaged, we set out to build the best team of people who could make the day happen with the most smiles given and the most love shared. Our Dream Team made a world of difference on our wedding day and we owe them a million thank-yous!
As wedding photographers, we are in the business of storytelling. You have a story that has led you to your fiance, there is a story that will take you to the vow exchange...a story will unfold on the day of your wedding, and a story begins as you drive off together in your getaway car. We have the joy & responsibility of capturing and telling these stories; and we take it seriously (but have a lot of fun doing it!).
Here are some pointers so that you can choose the best wedding photographer for your love story:
0.5. (because this is a great preface) Make this a priority.
A bride's advice: "Make this a priority. Don't settle for a photographer that you're just okay with. Find one that shares and can interpret and enhance your vision. Don't be afraid to get exactly what you're looking for! You are hiring them to capture one of the biggest and greatest days of your life. After all, 50 years from now, it is only your love and your photos that will have lasted." -Danielle, married 08/12
1. Know your style - then go find it.
There are likely hundreds of photographers in your area. Know (or decide on) your style. Think things like: romantic, fun, genuine, quirky, traditional, eclectic, light & airy, emotion-oriented, detail-oriented, colorful, moody, silly, dramatic, etc.Who are you as a couple and what kind of images will best convey that?
Then... Research is your friend! Go find some artists whose work you adore.
I recently received an e-mail that read, ""Wow, I really love your work. It's my style! Lots of giggles, smiles and laughter. Intimate, romantic, FUN, creative, candids...you seem to capture the best moments!! :)"
When you come across a photographer's work and automatically picture yourself in it, you've found a great match. Knowing your style will help that!
If you talk with some photographers and they don't feel right, don't be afraid to be specific & ask for recommendations. Wedding photographers want clients who "get us" just as much as you want a photographer who gets you - we are happy to recommend another photographer to fit your style!
A bride's advice: "Look for a photographer that does something timeless. Basically something you know you'll look back on 50 years from now and still love it! And of course make sure their work is your absolute favorite because you only get married once!" -Amanda, married 05/13
2. Go on dates.
And take your fiancé with you ;) Whether you are meeting for coffee, happy hour, a steak dinner, or even just a Skype date, I can't tell you how good and important it is to meet with your potential photographer before booking them!
As a photographer, I want to hear your story, your heart for each other, and your wedding dreams. And as a couple, you'll really want to know who you'll be working with and how/why they do what they do.
Funny fact: It's very likely that you will spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anybody else.
Make sure you like him/her and their way of doing things. :)
A bride's advice :) - "Make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer you meet. If you can't act natural while they're photographing you, then I think that will reflect in your pictures. It's about a feeling more than anything else :-) " - Andrea, married 09/13
Another bride's advice: "I think it's important to find a photographer that really loves and has a passion for what they do. Of those who are in the business of making a paycheck, find the person who actually loves their job and has an absolute love for people in love!" -Sasha, to be married 07/14
3. Decide how much you value it.
You will get what you invest in.
On Facebook, I asked to hear from married people who were bummed with their wedding photos. The most common response from these disappointed folks was that, "I wish I had hired a professional." or a sentiment about how their hired professional didn't act very professional (i.e. showing up late, never getting their images back, or getting yucky images altogether). I'll say it again folks, you will get what you invest in. Your wedding is not a "let's see if this works" type of event. The documentation of it probably shouldn't be either. ;)
Great wedding photography is expensive. These are going to be some of the most emotional, powerful, and important ones of your life. What happens on your wedding day sets the foundation for your family and generations to come. You can hear more of my thoughts on this here, where I explain how my wedding blessed my foster boys.
If you can't afford the photographer you are dreaming of quite yet, ask about payment plans!
Save up, budget, and prioritize accordingly.
These images will be telling one of the most beautiful stories in your life.
A bride's advice: "Price is always manageable, so don't just hear a dollar amount and be turned off - in the end you will make it happen! :)" - Sasha, to be married 07/14
4. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and get excited!
You are about to bind your heart and your life with someone you happen to be madly in love with. What a joy! And it's going to be PHOTOGRAPHED, to look back on and remember forever! How exciting!
Take your time finding the best photographer for you, who matches your style and matches your heart toward this glorious union.
Enjoy the process and getting to know a photographer or two; there are some really cool people out there who love telling photographic stories for a living. Have fun meeting them!
I'd love to hear from you. Is there anything you would like to add to this list? Let's hear it in the comments below! Was it helpful? If so, share it using the buttons at the bottom. :) Happy Planning!