1. Pick a style before you book
Do you like bright or moody, posed or journalistic, quirky or traditional. Every photographer has their own style. If you take some time to pick the style you want it will help you narrow down your photographer choices. If you love the photographer's style and you feel like it matches your vision, that's a great start. You don’t want to have to ask them to emulate someone else’s style.
2. Don't make the decision based on price alone
A lot goes into a photographer's pricing. Think about their experience, their customer service, and other things included in their packages. If you really want to work with a photographer just scale down your package to digital images and save up for albums and prints later. Spend your money on hiring the photographer whose style you truly love, not on who offers the most products.
3. See an entire wedding
Detail shots are great and I'm partial to shots that highlight landscapes. However, a lot of your wedding will be portraits with loved ones. These are photos that we hang up in our homes and look back on year after year. Ask your potential photographer to send you an entire wedding that they shot, and check out their portrait work, both posed and candid.
4. Book enough hours
It's true, less hours is usually cheaper. I've found that 8 hours is the minimum to tell the full wedding day story and capture getting ready, family portraits, and important reception events. Go through your wedding timeline and determine the amount of hours you need for your special day and what you want included.
Tip: Everything takes longer than you think. Be sure to include basic "walking/moving" time.
5. Get engagement photos
Not only are these photos great for your "Save the Date" and wedding invitations, but it's a great first date with your wedding photographer. Your photographer will give you tips to look your best and feel relaxed in front of the camera. On your wedding day it's like seeing a friend instead of a stranger.
Tip: If you don't think it's in your budget to get engagement photos, ask for it as a wedding gift from a friend or family member.
6. Consider a second photographer
Having a second photographer can be a great benefit to your big day but it does come at a cost.
The Pros: You will have two types of coverage, the main photographer will focus on the bride and groom, while the second photographer focuses on your guests.
The Cons: It can add significantly to your budget to have a another photographer present. Be sure to consult with your photographer if you need a second shooter based on wedding size and your timeline.
7. Be aware of the season and time of year for your photos
If you love natural light photos, timing is everything. The best light is right when the sun is just below the horizon. Have your ceremony a little earlier than that and all your couple portraits can be taken in that soft golden light.
Tip: Keep in mind the time of year, during winter it gets darker a lot earlier and the sun sets fast.
Bonus tip: You can always do your couple portraits the day before/after your wedding, don't try to stick to traditional layouts and forms, do what works best for YOUR wedding .
8. Tell your photographer about the details
A lot goes into planning a wedding, I know you spent a lot of time and money thinking about the details. Tell your photographer! Especially if it's personal and a little hidden, like a picture of your father on your bouquet. You will look back and appreciate that they captured those special items.
9. Ask your photographer to help with your schedule
Consult with your photographer to ensure you have enough time for all the photos you want them to capture. To set them up for success, make a shot list of all the family combinations you want before hand. All of my
Bonus Tip: Your photographer will likely suggest a first look, do it! It will relax you and give you a private moment before you walk down the aisle. I'll write more on this soon!
10. Trust in your photographer
Did you know that your photographer is the only vendor that is with you ALL day during your wedding? Remember that you picked this person for a reason, explain to them your vision and I assure you, they will do everything to make it happen. Just do your best to relax and be as natural as possible.
Tip: Apps like Pinterest and Instagram will give you a lot of inspiration, but mimicking other photos is not the way to go. Just think, was that photo taken at sunset while your wedding is at noon? (also don't have your outdoor wedding at noon), is it at a beach while your wedding is in a forest? Trust your photographer to capture YOUR real wedding in that space and time.