You’re probably spending days and weeks and months planning your wedding! All those hours of decision-making, booking, organizing and scheduling can feel like an eternity, while the big day itself: seeing yourself look elegantly perfect, experiencing the emotions of the loving, heartfelt ceremony, sharing the joy of celebration with family and friends, savoring the delicious food and the lovely cake, will all be gone in a flash. Except for your wedding photos. Your wedding photographs will allow you to hold on to every moment of that magical day forever! Be sure you devote some of your energy into making sure you get the best possible images on your wedding day. Here are a few suggestions to make sure you love your finished photographs:
Choose a photographer who will provide coverage of your wedding the way YOU want it, and deliver photos you will truly treasure. Many people don’t realize that there are many different types of photographers, just as there are many different types of doctors. You don’t want to hire a dentist to operate on your broken arm! You also don’t want to hire a photographer who specializes in photographing beautiful outdoor scenics to try and capture the action and emotion on your wedding day, or hire an expert architectural photographer to create a warm, soft wedding portrait. You should also think twice before asking a friend or relative to try to be your photographer. You only have one chance to capture your wedding day. If you are disappointed in your finished photos, you are out of luck, and that friend or relative will feel terrible. A big part of being a wedding photographer is being familiar with the events and being able to anticipate the important shots and be in just the right spot at just the right time without disrupting the activities. That can only come with experience. A skillful wedding photographer also needs to understand portraiture and lighting so that everyone looks their best in the photos. Find a professional photographer who is experienced in wedding photography, and then look at LOTS of their sample photos. Photography is an art, and each photographer has their own style. No style is right or wrong – you just want to be sure it is a style that you like.
Schedule a meeting with potential photographers whose sample photos you like. Make sure you feel comfortable talking and working with them. The last thing you need is someone who will add stress to your wedding day! If you are interested in albums, folios or other products, examine actual, physical samples of these items. As with the photographers themselves, there is a wide variety of quality and styles out there, and you want to get the best products in your price range. Also, make sure your photographer offers all of the products you want: Prints? Digital files? Albums? Wall portraits? Retouching? Online albums? Photo gift items?
Make sure your photographer’s services and products will fit your budget. If your budget is tight, focus on getting great coverage above all else! Your photographer should have flexible pricing plans so that you are not locked in to buying things you may not want, or can’t afford while you are paying for all of the other wedding expenses. You can always buy an album later, but if beautiful pictures are never taken, you have nothing. Make sure the photographer you hire keeps the original images archived so you can order albums and other photo products whenever your budget allows.
Once you have selected your wedding photographer, discuss your wedding in detail with them. Tell them what you like and what you don’t like. Tell them if you prefer formal, posed, portrait style photos; active, candid, snapshot style pictures; artistic details of the wedding day (like still-lifes of the decorations and clothing), or a combination of all of these. If you have seen images that you really like or dislike online or in magazines, show these samples to your photographer and talk about them. Again, there is no right or wrong here – your photographer should want to know what you are hoping for and should be glad for any input you can give.
Check with your wedding venue ahead of time and let your photographer know if there are any special rules about taking photos during the ceremony. Let your photograher know details about the ceremony you have planned. Will there be speakers? An offering? Any personal touches you and your fiance are adding? Then, go over the scheduled timeline and decide when to set time aside for pictures of family groups and the wedding party. Make sure everyone involved in these group photos is aware that they are expected to be available for these photos, and that they know when and where to gather. A good time to discuss this with them is at your rehearsal dinner. Prepare a written list of the specific groups you want. Your wedding is unique, and there is no such thing as a "standard" set of groups. You don't need to have your list finished until the day of the wedding, but be sure you make a list! You will have many other things on your mind on your wedding day, and you don't want to miss getting photos of someone special. Your photographer can give you suggestions for putting together a perfect list. It should include everyone who is important to you without ending up so long that taking all the group photos is an endless agony for all involved. Next, discuss plans for all of the events at the reception, like cutting the cake and dancing and throwing the boquet. That way your photographer will always be prepared as events unfold.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your photographer questions about anything you are unsure of, or to tell them anything that is important to you about your photos. There are no “dumb” questions or trivial ideas. On the wedding day itself, you and your guests should also feel free to request special photos throughout the event. The bottom line is that this will be YOUR wedding. It is YOUR day, and it will be your photographer’s job to do all they can to keep it perfect….forever!