You're in a serious relationship and you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with them. Then comes talk of marriage. The excitement takes over and you're contacting different venues, florists, bakers, caterers, bridal dress shops, DJs, and everyone else you can think of. But once the big day is over, all that will help you remember everything by will be your photographs.
It's very important to choose a wedding photographer who you enjoy their images. Every photographer has their own style and that how they will be capturing your big day. As you're looking through photographers on Facebook or Instagram, don't just look at the photos on their accounts, but also look at their portfolio's on their websites, too. A lot of photographers have their package options listed and some even have a la carte options, and some may include print releases while others only include printed photographs.
I would highly recommend meeting with your photographer in person or do a video/phone call so that you can get to know them. It may be for one day, but it really does help if you and your perspective photographer's personalities get along. I would even go as far as to advise not to book a photographer if they don't offer engagement sessions. The engagement session doesn't just capture your excitement as starting your new journey together or images for your save the dates. This session will help you with getting to know your photographer, how they will pose or guide you through capturing images and if they are laid back or not.
You may be curious of what kind of camera gear your perspective photographer has in their bag. There are so many different brands and camera bodies and assortments of lenses. But the most important thing about camera gear is if the photographer knows how to get the most out of their equipment. Anyone can own expensive gear, but that doesn't mean that they can master the tack sharp focus with the buttery soft backgrounds.
Once again, look at portfolios and social media accounts for examples of photographer's work. Just keep in mind that the best image examples will be on websites, because Instagram and Facebook tend to compress and downsize images so that they load faster, thus lowering the quality and resolution. So, just because an image may look grainy and out of focus on social media, it doesn't necessarily mean that's not what it really looks like on their website. Make sure to check out their website and even images that aren't wedding photographs can help demonstrate the photographer's quality of images and style.
You also might be wondering if you need a second shooter for you big day. Let's say that you're going really traditional and won't be doing a first look before the ceremony. If it's really important to you that both of your expressions are captured as you see each other for the first time walking down/up the aisle, it might be a good idea to hire a second photographer.
Once your ceremony is over, I know that you will be anxious to get to the reception to see all of your friends and family who traveled from near and far just for you. But take the time to have some photos taken with your new spouse, bridal party, and close family. If that time isn't around sunset, then I highly recommend during the reception at golden hour to take a couple minutes to step outside (weather permitting of course) for some intimate shots of just the two of you in amazing light. If there is absolutely no time for sunset photos, then just enjoy the party at your reception, eat some cake, toast with bubbly, and mingle with your guests.
Lastly, I wanted to share with you one of the reasons why I bought my first DSLR a couple years ago. I was disappointed with the photos from my wedding. We had a family friend take the photos for us and they were nothing what I had envisioned in my head. After that, I knew that I wanted to learn how to master my camera and not depend on any auto settings. Since day one of using my Canon Rebel T3i, I've been using all manual settings, utilizing the exposure triangle to capture images that I love. Photographing people in love truly makes me happy and reignites my fire and passion for all things beautiful.
Whomever you choose to be your wedding photographer, it is the best choice, because it is your decision. One that should make you happy and excited. Excited with anticipation to see all the moments that they captured for you on your wedding day.
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Artist, Photographer & Educator