Newly engaged, referencing that wedding Pinterest board that you started before you even got the ring, stressing over uneven wedding party numbers and what people might think, excited to start actually hiring vendors but kind of overwhelmed and nervous to even start the process... did you think I was talking about you? I wasn't, this was very much me soon after I got engaged. And before I knew it, some of the fun was even being sucked out of the planning process. It happens! You start to hit walls and begin to wonder why you even started planning in the first place.
I'm sure this feels relatable, and chances are I'm a little familiar with what you're going through. Between planning my own wedding to working with a handful of brides and grooms as I photograph theirs, the wedding planning process isn't a huge unknown to me anymore.
As much as I like to be a fly on the wall during your wedding day, I've never been the type of photographer to just show up and take photos. My clients know they have me to bounce ideas off of, help keep them calm as the day approaches, and of course keep things running smooth on wedding day (as much as I can). Consider this blog a taste of that, because I think these types of tips are important as you start to plan your wedding.
Today's topic: questions to ask yourself before hiring a wedding photographer. Once you start the search for your wedding photographer, try to keep these three questions in the back of your head. Might make your decision a little easier in the end!
Do I love their Style?
Simply put, do you love everything about their style of work? Does your wedding aesthetic match what they typically document? Can you see yourself being directed by this photographer works? Let's take that question one step further... can you see yourself in their photos? Looking at a photographers work should evoke some sort of emotion in you, whether good or bad. Obviously, you're looking for those good emotions. Pay attention to how you're feeling when you look at any potential photographers work.
Still not sure? Here's a few examples of where a client and a photographer might not mesh well together:
- A couple who loves documentary style photography who hires a photographer who mainly shoots traditional portraits likely isn't going to meet their expectations. Look at their website and social media to figure out how they document their couples. Chances are how they pose or direct other couples is how they'll direct you.
- A couple is who more drawn to crisp, lighter edits but hires a photographer who edits with darker tones, heavy shadows, and perhaps more grain. Photographers will never change their style just for you - it's part of their craft, nor will they send you RAW photos for you to edit so make sure you really like their edits.
This doesn't mean that one style of photography trumps another, it just means that everyone has their own preference for what style they like... and that's perfectly okay. We're all unique, just like every wedding. So, pick a photographer who's style aligns with yours. Period.
Do we Click?
Yes, you're hiring someone to. take photos of your wedding day. At first glance, that might seem like all they're doing, but if you peel back a layer you quickly realize that your photographer will actually be by your side from start to finish come the day of your wedding. So, do you choose someone you actually like as a human, or someone who you might not get the best vibe from? I think the answer is obvious.
Beyond that, your wedding photographer is one of the only vendors you'll hire that is able to freeze these moments in time. And time is fleeting. The beautiful thing about photos is that they last forever. If you choose a photographer you connect with, something amazing happens. It feels like a friendship, conversation flows, and in the end we're all able to relax around each other. You and your S/O act like yourselves. You're able to be vulnerable in front of the camera and let the photographer fully capture your story for all that it is - your quirks, your emotion, the way you look at each other when you think nobody is watching. A comfortable relationship with your photographer will always make for more meaningful and beautiful images, trust me. Straight up, if you choose a photographer you don’t click with, your wedding photos will reflect it.
DO I TRUST THEM?
A necessary question that goes hand in hand with my previous two points. Do you trust this person enough to capture your wedding so much so that you will be able to enjoy your day, not worrying about them missing a shot? Do you trust them to step in with their expertise when needed? You should. The reason why trust is so key is because weddings only happen once, there are no do-overs. What does trusting your photographer look like?
- Giving them creative freedom to direct and document the day as they always do (this means no shot lists, no Pinterest photos). You quite literally want to let them do their thing because you know this is when they come alive.
- Working with them on your wedding day timeline for tips on the best lighting and timing of wedding day events.
- When they suggest something out of the blue, you go with it, because you know you're going to appreciate it years down the line when you're looking through your wedding photos.
In sum, more trust = greater results. You don't want to be working with a photographer that you're questioning all the time, so just choose one that you trust!
Here's hoping these questions bring some clarity to the planning process, because really, they could be applied to almost all of your vendors. When you start reaching out to photographers, ask yourself these three things. If you hesitate on any of them, do some digging and try to find out why. If any hesitancy remains, keep searching until it's gone. Your future married self will thank you.
If you’re currently in the midst of planning, send me a message on IG and let me know if you found this helpful. Already married? Let me know if you agree, or if there's anything else you'd ask yourself. If you know of a current bride who would find this helpful, send them this blog post!