6 Tips To Ensure An Amazing Experience With Your Wedding Photographer
Wedding Photography Tips For Brides
By Jeffrey House Photography
Hiring a professional wedding photographer is likely to cause you some anxiety.
You've probably never hired a professional photographer before, so in this article, we are going to give you 6 tips to ensure an amazing experience with your wedding photographer! It's difficult to sort through everything to determine what's important and what's not. You can certainly look to the internet for answers, but as a wedding photographer, I can tell you there's a lot of misinformation out there.
So, let's take a look at some tips that will help you rock your wedding photographer!
1. Choose A Photographer For The Right Reasons!
When considering wedding photographers, it goes without saying that you need to like their work. But once you've determined you like their work, where do you go from there?
How about word of mouth? Seems like a logical place to start. Maybe you had a friend that got married last year and they loved their photographer - it was a great experience! Referrals from friends and family are always a great way to hire someone, right? Typically yes, but it's definitely not always the case with wedding photographers. A referral is simply a "good place to start."
The most important aspect to consider when hiring a professional wedding photographer is personality. Not only must your photographer have a great personality, but it must also dovetail with your personality.
Your friend's experience may have been incredible because she meshed really well with her photographer. You may find you don't share the same dynamics; therefore, your experience is going to be very different. What happens when your personalities aren't a good fit and something about them just rubs you the wrong way? Remember, your wedding photographer will spend your entire wedding day by your side. If you find their personality annoying or irritating, it's going to make for a very long day. And how do you think it will be working with them? If you don't have that "connection" with them, you're not going to be engaged - You'll be hesitant and that will reveal itself in your photos.
Personality is the first step because it has a trickle down effect. If you really like their personality, it's very likely you will feel comfortable around them and that will lead to trusting them, and believing in them. This will ultimately lead to a meaningful connection and beautiful wedding photography.
2. Work With Your Photographer In Creating A Great Wedding Timeline!
A wedding timeline is really nothing more than a blueprint of your wedding day. It outlines the when and where the days events are going take place. For example, it might look something like this:
8am - 12pm: Hair & Makeup
12pm - 1pm: Bridal Portrait Session
1pm - 1:30pm: Ceremony
When we have our final pre-wedding meeting with you, we help to polish your final wedding timeline to ensure your day has a solid plan in place. Many couples underestimate their timeline and don't allocate enough time for certain details. They start to run out of time and panic sets in. You tend to have enough nerves on the wedding day, but when you start to run out time it suddenly turns to a high-stress situation. You can almost guarantee every wedding is going to have delays for one or another, but having a good timeline is likely to prevent a disaster.
We also compare your timeline and compare it to your photography expectations, so we can offer you some "best practices" to ensure your needs are met.
[DISCOVER: TIPS FOR CREATING A GREAT WEDDING TIMELINE]
3. Clearly Communicate Your Likes, Dislikes, & Vision!
Part of hiring a great photographer, and having an amazing experience, is hiring someone that has excellent communication skills. They are exceptional listeners and they can articulately describe their thoughts.
Clearly communicating your likes and dislikes is vital everyone is on the same page. This makes it much easier to create something that supports your overall vision.
Does this mean you should give your photographer a shot list? This is definitely something you should discuss with your photographer. As a general rule, I would say no and here's why. Professional photographers know the critical images they need to capture and I promise you, they have a game plan for doing so. If your photographer has their nose buried in a shot list, it's very likely they will miss those unique and spontaneous moments that unfold during a wedding.
However, if you're including unique details as part of your wedding and want them photographed, make sure your photographer has a list of these items. I would also recommend giving them a shot list of your VIP's to ensure they pay extra attention to them.
4. Get It In Writing
Regardless of how many stellar reviews a photographer has or how highly-recommended they are, never work with any wedding photographer (or any other wedding vendors for that matter) without having a contract in place. Their explanation of why they don't use them may sound legitimate and convincing, but don't give in to temptation - cover yourself!
I read horror stories about couples that were essentially forced to pay an additional $2,000 just to get their digital files - even though they were promised in the initial conversations. They were clearly scammed and had nothing in writing to prove the agreement.
We ask every client to carefully read over the contract, so we can address any questions that may arise. If you don't understand a part of the contract, make sure they clarify it for you.
[DISCOVER: VIEW OUR ACTUAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONTRACT]
5. Assess Their Photography Style
This is one of those details that's always talked about when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer. You will hear time and time again, "you have to ask your photographer how they define their style."
Erase this from your memory bank and don't worry about how a photographer "defines" their style. It tells you nothing about what your photos will look like. Even photographers defined by the same style will produce very different looking images because every photographer composes their images differently, uses light differently, "sees" the world differently, and feels the scene differently.
When evaluating a photographer's style, view their images and consider these questions:
- Do I like the "feel" of their images?
- Does the lighting look good?
- How do the people in their images look? Are they happy? Do they look comfortable? Do they look natural?
- How does the editing of their images look? Do the people look like plastic? Is it obvious they didn't really edit them (maybe there's lint and/or hair on their clothing or other distractions)?
These questions will allow you to form measurable, objective opinions about a photographer's style, and whether it's right for your wedding.
6. Relinquish Creative Control
For many couples, relinquishing creative control can be very difficult. You've spent months, maybe even years, planning your wedding. You've spent countless hours on Pinterest collection "shots" you want for your wedding. You may even make a packet of your favorites and give them to your wedding photographer, and tell them you want to recreate these poses.
I beg you, please don't ask your photographer to do this.
You hired your photographer because you like their style and their photographs. If you want them to recreate another photographer's work, you're asking them to be someone they're not, and this will ultimately lead to you being very disappointed. If you love another photographer's work, you would be better served hiring that photographer.
Also, keep in mind that everything you see on Pinterest in not from a real wedding. Many of these images are created using professional models, complex lighting set-ups, and they are photographed in the perfect location. Unfortunately, these images would be impossible to create because of the time constraints that come with a wedding.
Pinterest is a great resource when used for inspiration. You can use photos to help your photographer understand your vision, but then let them use their experience to bring it all together. If there is a pose you just can't live without, share it with your photographer and ask them if they will included it in your photos.
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