Don’t worry, I’m not going to say “just pick me” 😅
Choosing a wedding photographer is perhaps one of the most important, intimate and personal decisions in a wedding, especially if you LOVE photography. The photographer controls the narrative in the images that help you (and all of your guests, and loved ones and friends that couldn’t attend) remember your wedding day. How would you like this narrative to be created?
Is Photography a Priority?
I ALWAYS tell me couples to really think about their vision and budget for their wedding. In doing so, you should be able to really narrow down some top priorities for you (maybe 2 each?). Is photography one of these things? If it is, I highly suggest you really lean into your budget so that you can hire your favourite photographer for your special day. They may be expensive, but you can’t redo wedding day photos (unlike a casual couples shoot or engagement session). This day comes and goes like every other 24 hours, so you really want to make the most out of it and capture all the details and emotions!
Artistry & Narrative
One of the first things I always tell my engaged friends is to browse online and see what style of photography and editing you like. Don’t just go for the most popular photographer, the one that has the most followers. Really look at the images and see which one resonates with you. What do you like about them? Is it the candid laughing? The light and airy look? The passion and intensity of a dark and moody image? Is it the way they captured wedding dress details, or the mother of the bride tearing up? Is it how the couple is complimented by that majestic landscape? Is it how they captured the spunkiness (and naughtiness??) of the bride and groom? All of these things add to the narrative and story for your wedding. Do you want to remember your day as fun and bubbly, or passionate and emotional?
Like everything else, the price of photography ranges from the tens of thousands or dollars, to, well, free. Yes, free. You can probably get someone who’s completely new who has no experience in wedding photography to photograph your wedding for free. They may have a decent camera and lens, and they may be able do a decent job. And if that’s what you want, then that’s totally ok! Just don’t expect the swoon-worthy, jaw-dropping shots that you’ve seen online. In addition to the technical photography skills like composition, lighting, creating dreamy skin tones, posing (the list goes on!), an experienced photographer brings SO MUCH MORE than just their camera and their eye. They will be able to offer you tips and tricks on how to better plan your wedding day, organize your group photos, and help out in every little way possible to make your wedding day run smoothly so you can fully embrace every moment of it.
Get Enough Coverage
One of the biggest mistakes I find in wedding planning is how often couples underestimate the amount of coverage time they need. Initially 8 hours seems very long for photographing a wedding that has a 15-20 minute ceremony, but it amply gives your photographer the time to work, be creative and help out in any way. As I mentioned, there’s just certain moments you can’t get back from that day; getting ready with your girls, mom zipping up your dress, the funny speech that made everyone happy-cry. If you want those amazing photos that you’ve always dreamed of, make sure there’s enough time in your wedding timeline and in your photographer’s coverage so that neither of you are rushed or stressed. Trust your photographer in posing and have fun! Forget about the rest of the day because you’re in the able hands of your wedding vendor team!
Photography is also so much more than just the digital files you get at the end. Many photographers will offer prints and albums, or other type of digital files. They create these to best display their work for their audience to enjoy. I personally LOVE prints and albums; my family and I have always printed photos, and often enlargements (my fav size is 8″x10″!), and I think it’s truly the best way to enjoy a photo. It gives an image the breathing room and white space it deserves, instead of being cramped up in a little phone screen. I also love creating heirloom albums (I used to scrapbook soooo much when I was young!). Photos are arranged in a way that tell a story of the wedding, AND it allows the photos to be appreciated to their fullest. I offer different album sizes for my wedding couples, but they would also be an amazing gifts for parents and grandparents. It’s truly something that stands the test of time, and becomes an heirloom for the family.
It’s a funny thing how much time a photographer spends with you on your wedding day! They will be with you from day to night, so you really want to choose someone whom you’ll work well with! Do you like someone bubbly and loud, or someone who’s more like a fly on the wall? Do you like someone who will be calm and collected, confident and assertive? Is communication important to you? Would you want to be able to talk about wedding timelines with them, and maybe even just have a video call to chat? You want to find someone with whom you really connect with, whom understands you and your partner. You’re spending a lot of money and wedding day time with them, and you want to feel safe, cared for and genuinely enjoy their company! It is truly SUCH AN HONOUR (and honestly so mind-blowing) to think that I will probably be spending more time with my wedding couples than their friends, or even their families.