I love being a wedding photographer! Getting to capture someone’s special day, all the details and quiet moments make my heart happy. In a perfect world every wedding, and every bride, would be a dream client. But we all know that this isn’t a perfect world! I realize that every bride is different, and every wedding comes with it’s own set of challenges. So before you start getting panicked about the perfect wedding photos, or go crazy on Pinterest, I would like to share a few things with you. These are just a few of the things that photographers would like you to know about your wedding day photography:
Pinterest is not always our friend!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest! I have spent many hours pinning recipes, home decor tips and exercise goals. But when it comes to wedding photography Pinterest can be a bit deceiving. You see, what most brides don’t know is that the beautiful images you see on Pinterest, the ones you hope I’ll capture on your own wedding day, are not meant to be duplicated. Those beautiful images were either A) staged to look perfect or B) were a wonderful combination of the couple, the photographer and the moment. It’s hard to try and recreate someone else’s moment.
So instead of sending your photographer a long list of detailed photos you want to re-create, have a conversation about the style, posing or emotion you want captured. You hired your photographer for a reason. You obviously like her work and style, so trust that she is able to capture your own Pinterest worthy moments that are unique to YOU!
2. Photography takes TIME
Before the big day, I meet with all my brides to go over the timeline for the day. We talk about when I will arrive, what time everyone will be ready and then we talk about the time frame for pictures. It almost never fails that the time YOU think is enough for portrait is only going to be about 1/2 the actual time needed.
I know you mean well, and you don’t want to spend too much time away from your friends and family on your big day. But I want you to think about the photos you are most likely to hang on your walls. Is it a photo of you dancing or mingling with you guests OR a romantic photo of you and your groom? Most likely it’s the latter.
My goal is always to be as quick as I can when it comes time for the formal portraits. I get the family photos done first so we can move on to the wedding party then bride & groom. Ideally, this should all take 30-45min….BUT, that is rarely the case. You see, when you are dealing with a large group of people it’s very difficult to get everyone to pay attention and do what they are told the first time. So when uncle Joe is too busy talking with cousin Steve to pay attention to picture schedules, we get behind. When two of the groomsmen go missing because they went to find a drink, we get behind schedule. Sadly, the part that gets rushed or cut in half are the bride & groom portraits. The ones that are most likely the priority of the day.
So when scheduling time for portraits, keep in mind that the time allotted may not be enough. Be flexible, and if possible consider doing a First Look to allow you and your groom plenty of time for those beautiful, Pinterest worthy shots you dream of.
3. Not all photographers are created equal
Photography is an art and just like with any art form there are several ways to create and interpret the art created. When it comes to wedding photographers, there are a TON to choose from. So choosing the right one for you can seem a bit overwhelming.
Most brides have a budget in mind to start with (if you don’t, just ignore this first bit of advice…then call me). Once you know how much you can/are willing to spend on photography I suggest making a list of photographers in that price range.
The second thing to look at is style. Right now the “trend” in wedding photography seems to be the light & airy look. For some photographers this is what they love shooting and they are great at it. For others, myself included, we prefer a more natural style. Make sure you look at each photographer’s images and see which ones you are most drawn to.
Once you have narrowed it down to the photographer(s) you really love, schedule a meeting. You are going to spend a lot of time with your photographer so you want to make sure you connect well. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask to see a full wedding gallery.
4. Why does wedding photography costs so much
Just like anything else, wedding photography is a business. For most photographers, this business is not only their love and passion, but it’s how they pay the bills and feed their family. Good photography isn’t going to be cheap. You are paying for more than just pretty pictures. You are paying for the knowledge and expertise of the photographer.
Photographers invest a lot of money on their equipment, insurance and editing software. There is a lot more that goes into running a wedding photography business, and your wedding day is just a small portion. There are HOURS spent making sure each of your images are perfect. Time spent on creating albums, blog posts and ordering prints. On top of all that, most photographers are also paying for a second photographer to help out on the wedding day.
Investing in your wedding portraits may feel like it puts a large dent in your wedding budget, but when your big day is over, the cake will be gone, the flowers will wilt and the dress gets put away – what is left are the memories. That is what you are paying for!
5. Second shooters are a MUST for your wedding day
It is VERY rare that I will ever shoot a wedding on my own. Having a second photographer on your wedding day can be a huge blessing in more ways than one. While it may seem like an easy place to cut expenses, you will notice it later when you get your images back.
For me, having a second shooter means I can be in two places at once. While I am with the bride capturing her putting on her dress, my second shooter can be with the groom getting pictures of him getting ready. During the ceremony, we can capture every angle, moment and look. Most brides want that one shot of her groom watching her walk down the isle – that shot isn’t always possible with just one photographer.
During the reception, the second shooter can capture the cocktail hour, guests mingling and fun moments that I would miss while taking family portraits or capturing the wedding party during the reception.
It also gives you peace of mind knowing that in the UNLIKELY event that your photographer can’t make it to your wedding day, the second shooter is there to step up so you aren’t left high and dry.
6. Please feed the photographer
Shooting a wedding usually means any where from an 8-12 hour work day. Most of the day is spent on our feet trying to capture every moment and detail perfectly. There isn’t much time to sit down or take a break because there is always something going on that needs to be captured. Typically, when the wedding party sits down to eat is the only time during the day that we get a break. I love the weddings where I get to sit down in a quiet space, eat a nice meal and relax for a few moments before the fun and chaos of the reception begins. So, please be nice to your photographer – and all other vendors working that day – and let them have a break, eat a meal and go to the bathroom.
7. Editing is a pain in the a**
Imagine sitting in front of a computer for HOURS staring at the same image while editing out the smallest details. It’s enough to drive a photographer crazy. For this reason, be patient when you photographer waits for the perfect moment to take a shot, or asks to re-take an image. It’s easier to wait for Uncle Steve to move out of the way than it is to edit him out later.
For this same reason, I highly encourage you to consider an unplugged wedding. I cannot tell you how many beautiful images I have had to edit because someone had their cell phone sticking out into the isle during the ceremony.
8. Do the engagement session
Engagement sessions are included with all my wedding packages for a reason. Not only do I want you to have gorgeous images of you and your fiancé, but it’s a great way for us to get to know each other. Most couples book their photographer 9-12 months prior to their wedding. This means that from the time you first meet to your wedding day, close to a year has gone by. By that time it’s almost like meeting all over again.
Nothing makes photos more awkward than when you aren’t comfortable with the person behind the camera. Having the time during an engagement session to talk, get to know each other and connect makes your wedding day much more relaxed.
9. I really do LOVE my brides
If I didn’t love working with amazing couples, I couldn’t do what I do. I truly love weddings and love being part of your big day! My favorite thing is when a bride becomes more like a friend than a client. I get emotionally connected and have even been known to tear up at a few weddings. It makes what I do that much easier and I am SO thankful that I have the opportunity to capture these special memories for you.
10. Tipping your photographer
On the rare occasion that I get a tip from a bride (or the bride’s parents) it is always unexpected but greatly appreciated. Just like with any service profession, if you feel that your photographer went above and beyond to make your wedding day special, then feel free to tip them but don’t feel obligated. We never expect it, but always appreciate it!