Many things regarding your big day will be fleeting, such as your wedding cake, catering, music, flowers. Nevertheless, the photographs will surely live on forever and therefore you must do everything you can to make them amazing! Wedding photography means not only finding perfect photographers, but also knowing how to work with them. I will try to help you with this lovely, but difficult task!
Unless you’re spontaneously eloping and you haven’t got enough time to prepare a proper event, you should start searching for a wedding photographer about a year before the big day. Even if you’re not engaged, it doesn’t hurt to ask recent couples you know for their experience with various vendors. Browse websites, blogs and forums to get a sense of the quality and style of photographers you’ve hurt good things about. However, keep in mind that photographers put their best photos and clips from different weddings. Once you narrow your choice down, ask to see a full wedding or two (three, four…). Most wedding photographers do a blend of documentary-style shots and portraits successfully and they also do a mix of color and black & white images. Nevertheless, if there’s a special photography style you like, focus on a photographer who does it best!
While reviewing photos, think about crucial moments you would like to capture on your wedding day. Did certain photographer get fabulous shots you would like to have in your own wedding album? Considering a composition, are people and details in focus? Do people look relaxed in photos? The answer to all these questions has to be “absolutely yes!”.
It’s almost impossible to choose any wedding vendor without setting up a meeting. Once you have a short list of photographers whose works appeals to you and who are free on your wedding date and in your price range, see them in-person or set up a video-chat meeting. You have to like those people, since they will be interacting with you, your guests, other vendors, not to mention they should be shadowing your every move at the wedding.
What’s in the Package?
You should know exactly what the standard package includes, because every photographer has different wedding photography packages. Ideally, you’ll have your photographers around for the whole day – from the moment you wake up (well, almost) until you leave the reception. So,how many shooting hours are included in the package your photographer offers? What if you run overtime? In my opinion, it’s better to pay for more coverage, because most vendors charge overtime at higher rate, especially if it’s not the part of the deal. Top-notch photographers commonly include an additional photographer, the second shooter in their standard package, so the couple can get both formal and spontaneous photos of their big day.
Know Your Shooter(s)
If you hire a larger studio, they may have more photographers on staff and the lead one might not be the one who will be shooting your wedding. Although these photographers might work in the same studio, it doesn’t mean they have the same personality, technique and style. As a matter of fact, they can be quite different! Therefore, it’s of high importance to make sure the photographer(s) you’ve interviewed and clicked with are going to be shooting your wedding.
As I’ve already said, it’s great to check online reviews and it’s recommended to include that in your research. Nevertheless, once you are ready to hire someone, ask previous clients or two about their experience. Did the photographer shoot what they wanted and agreed upon? Were they happy with the overall service? You should also ask them everything you need to know about the whole process in order to be sure you’re hiring the right photographer.
Don’t Forget to Sign a Contract
Once you’re sure about your wedding photography choice, sign a contract that has everything, including the shooting hours, wedding date, post-production work and the details regarding receiving the final product.
To kill many birds with one stone, you should definitely do a pre-wedding shoot. First of all, you’ll get comfortable with your photographer(s) and you’ll get the opportunity to give them feedback on which photos you preferred and/or didn’t like before the big day.
Make a List of Wedding Shots
I’m not talking about wasting your time planning each and every shot. However, sticking to a few important shots will do the trick! Do you want shots in black and white? Would you like some particular details, decor items and flower arrangements to be captured? Make sure your photographer knows the answer to these questions. It’s also a good idea to attach some photos of you and your fiance that you think you look great in; your photographer will know how you want to look on your big day! Send notes about the ceremony or your guests that could be helpful for your vendor.
Before planning your schedule, keep in mind that everything takes longer than you think on a wedding day and mishaps are bound to happen! In order not to cut into photography session, it’s recommended to set a schedule that will leave extra time to deal with everything that could (and will) happen. After all the preparation, you’ve definitely deserved it.
Enjoy Your Big Day
Try not to get nervous about the small (or medium) stuff. If you’ve planned everything in advanced and you have incredible pros to take care of your big day, relax and have fun! Your photographer should keep you on schedule, frame the shots to make everything look best. Don’t look for the camera all the time, because your photographer won’t be able to capture all that lovely spontaneous moments: laughing with your cousins, dancing with friends or whispering something only your brand new spouse should hear. It’s up to your photographer to worry about capturing these moments, that’s what you’ve hired the best one! Keep your head up and be the queen (or the king) for a day, you deserve it!