With all of the changes and growth that have happened over the last decade, we wanted to highlight a few of the key factors involved when finding a wedding photographer who has a style you love.
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Whether you're in the beginning stages of planning your big day or you're only a few weeks away and are starting to go over your day-of timeline with your wedding photographer, there are a few key pieces of the celebration you'll want to have on camera. Some of the following moments are probably obvious, but be sure to consider the ones you might not have thought about yet — and will surely miss down the road if they aren't captured on your wedding day..
Getting Ready with the Bridal Party
When brides and grooms are getting ready for the ceremony with their closest friends and family, there are several fun and emotional moments you'll want to remember after the day is over. Even if you're a more laid back couple, the wedding is likely going to fly by so quickly. When all is said and done, you'll want to enjoy looking back on the day from the beginning.
And if you're really hoping to get the most out of your getting ready photos, bring some gifts to give to the bridesmaids and groomsmen, or pop a few bottles of champagne to kick off the day!
All the Small Details
After spending months planning such a big event from top to bottom, there are a dozen small details you'll want photographs of to remember down the road, especially for your wedding album. Although mostly about your love for one another, a wedding is also a combination of careful planning and characteristics that speak to who you both are as a couple.
If you have a theme, setting or style that says a lot about you and the love of your life, have these factors captured on camera — especially anything with significant meaning! From any family heirlooms worn on the day-of and letters written to your parents, to the gift you give to your soon-to-be spouse, ask us to be there for the moments you'll cherish for years to come.
Whether you plan to do a formal "first look" moment or you want a traditional first look down the aisle, this is one of the most emotional times of the day and surely one that shouldn't be missed! And it's also one you should have two photographers present for (such as us!), since you'll definitely want to have both of your reactions captured on film.
Also, be sure to have your photographer capture your first look with your dad, bridesmaids, and/or mom. Sometimes, these can be very emotional and are very worth capturing! Dads especially are often very emotional about their "little girl" growing up and getting married.
Although an obvious one, this moment is a beautiful tradition at the end of the ceremony you'll want at least one great photo of. You might even talk to your fiancee in advance to talk about your plans for your first kiss "style" — will you do a simple, emotional embrace or a dramatic kiss to get everyone cheering?
Exiting the Ceremony
And right after the ceremony ends, there's nothing quite like that feeling of leaving the altar hand-in-hand with your true love! Be sure to ask your photographer to be ready as you exit the ceremony, but also don't be afraid to raise those hands, kiss again or dance your way to the reception.
Spontaneous Moments with Family & Friends
The rest of the event should feel less about posed images and more about the celebration with those you love the most. One of the things we love most about wedding receptions is capturing images from a fly-on-the-wall perspective, without your guests ever realizing we were taking photographs of those moments.
The laughs, the tears, the hugs . . . there's a lot of great emotion happening on this day and you should be happily surprised to see them in your wedding photo gallery!
If you're using flower petals, sparklers or any other fun grand exit style, tell your wedding photographer about it! We love to prepare for these exciting and scenic traditions so that we make sure to capture photos you'll love looking back on and sharing with others from the big day.
Have another moment you think wedding photographers shouldn't miss? Let us know in the comments!
Contact a Lexington Wedding Photographer Team
We’re Jeff and Michele, a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your engagement and wedding photography experience is our top priority — we want you to cherish it forever!
We’d love the opportunity to be your photographers. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (502) 551-5799. We look forward to hearing from you!
So, you've gotten engaged and you've been plunged into the strange world of planning out your wedding! Isn't it wonderful?
Of course, right?!
If you haven't started looking at photographers already, you've probably heard that they're the most important and critical vendor decision you'll make. If that's not intimidating enough, you've maybe realized that the choice isn't between a few good options — there are about a million photographers out there!
And truth be told, some people have had not-so-great experiences that have left a bad taste in their mouth about their wedding photos, so the choice is a big and important one for sure.
This is exactly why we created this tips for choosing a wedding photographer guide! We want to help. Allow us to explain: One night after an engagement session, we discussed with one of our brides some of the things she learned that helped make her feel confident and relieved about choosing her wedding photographer. After hearing her story, we decided that other brides would benefit, just like she did.
Simple enough, right?
So, without further ado, let's jump right in the guide on how to choose a wedding photographer!
Some Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photographer
We feel that there are categories of things to look for when it comes to finding the best wedding photographers to care for your wedding.
We've broken it down :
●Pricing: We won’t focus on that much here, since it’s covered largely in our “How Much Should I Spend On My Wedding Photographer Post?” Check it out!
● Perspective Approach and Editing Style: Their photos should make you feel the way you want them to make you feel while retaining a timeless and talented look that won’t quickly go out of style. You can learn more about the importance of Approach and Style by visiting our post on “Which Photography Style is Best for My Wedding?”
●Interpersonal Skills & Client Care: Your wedding photographer should have the ability to make you comfortable so you look relaxed and enjoy having them there. Also, they need to be able to manage their time and others, not only to help your big day stay on schedule but to rescue it from being "too behind." They also need to be able to confidently direct groups of people for formal photos, without seeming like a pushy jerk.
● Photo Care: They should have the know-how and equipment to ensure that your photos are kept safe, even when hard drives crash.
● Business stability: Let's face it, if they don't have their actual business in order, it will affect how well they can serve you. In Louisville, there was a photographer that made the news because of her shady business practices that left couples high and dry.
● Business Offerings: Will they also include and/or design an album? Can they rush order your save the dates? If the photographer isn’t offering some things you want, then you may need to look elsewhere.
Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer — Ask These 11 Questions
Now it’s time for the list! Ask these 11 questions, and you'll be well on your way to finding the best photographer for your wedding.
1. "Do their photos make me feel the way I want my photos to make me feel on our 25th anniversary?"
This is a question for you to ask yourself. Are their photos so trendy that it'll be yesterday's fad by the time you hit your 2nd anniversary? Does it look like they're throwing Instagram filters on it, or adding a bunch of flare to make up for their lack of ability?
Also, something to consider: are they including a distracting watermark on all their images? Perhaps they won’t deliver files with watermarks to you, but some do! So, be sure to ask ahead of time.
2. "Do they have lots of good photos in both bright and low-light or do only the first few on their website look good?"
Look beyond the first few photos! Pay special attention to color photographs as black and white are more likely to hide imperfections. Look for too-white wedding dresses or too-dark tuxes; the wedding dress shouldn’t be a giant white blob in every photo.
Make sure their photos are consistently in focus, especially in low-light. Ask to see full weddings, and look for consistency in how the photos make you feel. If they refuse to show you a full wedding, take that as a red flag!
For some more in-depth tips on looking for a wedding photographer that can shoot in low-light, be sure to check out our post on How to Know If a Wedding Photographer Can Shoot In Low Light!
3. "Do they have good, consistent reviews over the years, and at least some recent good reviews?"
Photographers that care about their business are constantly trying to serve their clients in a way that leads to 5-star reviews. Be sure to check their reviews on regulated websites such as TheKnot.com. Many websites such as Facebook are very unregulated when it comes to reviews.
Don't worry if they don't have "the most" reviews. The style you choose may not be the most popular, or the photographer you're looking at may do higher-end weddings, but a lower volume when compared to someone else. As long as they have consistent, good reviews, you're probably good to go on this point.
4. "How many backup cameras and lenses do you have and are they as good as your main camera in low-light?"
If they don't have extra cameras and lenses, watch out. Camera shutters and lenses can fail! Having at least one backup camera and a few lenses per shooter is absolutely standard.
5. "Will you have a second photographer?"
Having two shooters to capture both you and your fiancee's reaction during your first look or when you walk down the aisle at a minimum is best. Also, do you want to have another way of ensuring you have more backups of your photos?
Then make sure there's going to be a second shooter. If possible, use a husband and wife team. Sure, we might be biased, but having two people that have been through it all, and who also work together as a team all the time is a huge advantage to ensuring a smooth experience.
Additionally, you probably want someone to be there with you and someone to be there with your fiancee during the getting ready portion of the day.
*Bonus. Ask: "What's the second shooter's experience with photographing weddings?"
If the photographer seems to get uncomfortable, I wouldn't put much stock in having that second shooter. A second shooter could be anyone, even someone with hardly any skills that was booked perhaps even the week before your wedding. However, a caring and wise photographer will hire someone with credentials.
6. "How will you keep our photos safe during and after our wedding day?"
Make sure they back up your photos multiple times! We personally use cameras that back up data to two cards at once. This, coupled with shooting film means that we have our clients wedding photos on up to 7 different sources at any given time.
Once we get the photos uploaded to the computer, we back them up to another hard drive, which is backed up again, and then finally backed up again to a hard drive that is taken off-site for extra protection against destruction by potential flooding, tornados, or fire.
If the photographer you’re considering doesn’t have a plan to backup at least three times, and preferably one in a different location from the rest of the backups, be wary. God forbid, but if their house burns down before they deliver your photos, will the original files be safe?
7. "What size files will you be delivering? Will I receive printing rights?"
This is a two-part question. If you want to have the freedom to make large prints for years, make sure you'll be getting the high-resolution files. These files are typically 3mb-10mb, sometimes a little smaller or larger.
It’s nice to have smaller files (500gb-1mb typically) for uploading to social media. These files still look great but aren’t compressed to look pixelated. But, if you’re printing above a 5x7, be sure to get larger files that will look great printed!
It's OK if they don't include printing rights, but just know that, if you want prints, you'll have to purchase from them directly. If that's the case, then ask for a list of the cost of prints, and make sure it's worth it. It can be a huge advantage to order directly through the photographer if they calibrate their monitors to be color accurate and use a professional lab.
Often a photographer may refuse to grant print rights. This is not intended to be mean or to get more money out of you, but because they care about their craft so much and want to ensure that the final product of the print comes out looking as amazing as it is supposed to. While you may have access to less expensive printers, oftentimes these can show inaccurate colors and not last nearly as long as professional prints.
We offer both print rights and custom printing so that our brides have a choice.
8. "Do you have business insurance?"
If they don't, sometimes venues won't even allow them to photograph on the premises. But perhaps even more importantly, having insurance is also a good sign that the photographer has invested not only in quality gear but also in their business as a long-term craft and means of earning a living. These types of photographers are more likely to provide an awesome experience and a quality product.
9. “What will happen if you can’t make it to the wedding?”
Although this is probably the last thing you want to think about, making sure that your candidate has a legitimate backup plan provided they can’t come is HUGE! Be sure to ask who their backup is. Are their backup photographer(s) of comparable style and ability?
10. “May I see your contract?”
A good photographer comes with a good contract. Reading the contract before booking is a really great idea! We suggest asking for them to explain any terms you don’t understand. If the photographer does not have a contract, even if they are a family friend, don’t book them!
After you've talked with the candidate photographer ask:
11. “Who really stands out to me the most?”
Out of all the photographers that I’ve considered…
…who’s photos did I like the best?
…who seemed the most professional?
…who did I like on a personality level the most?
This is one of the MOST important aspects of choosing your wedding photographer. Make sure you love the photos the photos they produce, that you love their professionalism, and that you love their personality! If they don't make you feel comfortable and relaxed with a healthy combination of those traits, that unease will likely follow you throughout the day and shape your experience. Again, they will be with you the WHOLE DAY.
Natural looking photography is a product of having a natural energy and rapport between yourself and the photographer. This might not be an immediate rapport, especially if they’re a little shy, but if a photographer really rubs you the wrong way, don’t go with them just to save a buck.
You don’t have to meet them in person, although you can if they are willing. A phone call or Skype session should be enough to find out if you click! Remember, the photographer will help make or break your wedding experience and how you look in your photos (and how you feel about them later)!
Let's Wrap It Up
Now, no photographer will meet all the standards perfectly, but they should aim for excellence in all these areas and should be able to address each one of your questions.
Hopefully this post has helped you answer the question, "How do I choose a wedding photographer?". If you found this resource helpful, please share to help others!
If you're a bride, planner, photographer or someone else with an opinion, tell us what you think in the comments! What other important questions did we miss?
If you have any other questions for us or would like to reach out and share your experience, please feel free to contact us!
Thank you and happy wedding photographer hunting!
Jeff & Michele
One of the things we love most about our work is getting to know our couples prior to the wedding ceremony. And engagement sessions are the perfect way to do just that!
However, we also know that this is the first time many of our clients are taking professional photographs together — which often leads to a little nervousness in the beginning of the session. Whether you’re unsure about what to wear to your engagement session or how best to prepare for it in advance, we’ve got a list of quick tips to help you:
1. Choose an outfit that will look flattering and great on camera.
When going through your closet or maybe even ordering something special from to select your engagement session outfit, look for clothes that are soft and muted in color or go with something white, off-white, or blush — what we like to call “neutrals.” Tight, repetitive patterns and flashy colors can drag the eye away from focusing on the intimacy of you and your soon-to-be spouse.
And if you have a hard time selecting just one outfit, bring a backup option. Although we like to focus most of the session on your top choice, it can help ease nerves a bit to know you have a second outfit ready to go. When in doubt: ask our opinion, we love to help!
Want more inspiration for your outfit? Be sure to check out our Engagement Session Wardrobe Board!
Also, if your looking for something fun to wear just for your engagement session, consider something like Rent the Runway.
2. Use the opportunity to get dolled up.
It’s not every day that you get portraits taken together, so use the engagement session as a chance to get your hair and makeup professionally done! It’ll also immediately make you feel more confident going into the session, especially since these photos are ones you’ll likely want to hang on your walls!
And if you already have your hair and makeup artist selected for your wedding day, you may ask to use this as your “trial” with them to test out a few looks before the session. Or head out to dinner after we’re finished taking photos, since you’ll both look dressed up and ready for a night on the town!
We HIGHLY recommend wearing SPF free make up, especially in the case of doing an indoor engagement session. SPF make up may make your face look paler due to how it reflects certain types of light.
3. Know what to expect during the engagement session.
Looking for a little insight into what your engagement sessions will be like? Although every photographer is different, we tell our couples that you’ll quickly learn our four basic poses so you're not left wondering how to stand. From there, we may make slight adjustments here and there. You both will catch on pretty quickly, so no need to worry!
We also suggest to remember that this is a time when you two are simply spending time together. Remember to breathe, feel as relaxed as you can, and be conversational (both with us and with the love of your life!). It’s totally normal to feel nervous, but know that we have you covered and want the entire experience to feel personable and easy. Be yourselves and enjoy the moment!
4. Can we bring our pet?
Our policy=Absolutely! We love having your furry friends join us. We suggest having someone else come along so that your pet(s) can go with them after their done with their photos.
Another great tip if you're hoping to bring your dog along: take them to a dog park and let them run around for a few minutes before your session! This will help them to be a little more relaxed since they'll likely be more worn out and ready to sit for a few poses.
5. Where should we have our photos taken?
We have a few favorite places that we suggest. Generally, we are looking for a location that has several different scenes that are close together. That way we aren't spending too much time going from one place to the other.
We typically prefer outdoors with plenty of color, although indoor locations can also work great, especially when well lit!
If you're interested in checking out some of our favorite locations, be sure to see our Favorite Engagement Session Locations!
6. About what time should we plan to begin taking photos?
About 2 hours before sunset is the best time since the light is prettiest. So, for example, if sunset is at 7:30pm, we'll usually plan to start around 5:30pm.
Looking for an engagement photographer? Contact us!
We’re Jeff and Michele, a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your engagement and wedding photography experience is our top priority — we want you to cherish it forever! We’d love the opportunity to be your photographers. Reach out to us online or give us a call at (502) 551-5799. We look forward to hearing from you!