In my opinion, the two most important parts of your wedding are; what you’re wearing and who’s documenting it. Once you’ve found your perfect dress, your next goal is to find the perfect person to capture your special day in photos.
Your wedding day becomes such a whirlwind of activity and excitement, it’s difficult to soak in every second along the way. That’s why it’s so crucial to have someone you trust, there to capture all those little moments in photos and/or video, so that after that day & years to come, you can sit down and be able to soak in every moment of the day that felt like it flew by so quickly.
Researching local photographers is a key component of finding the right photographer. The first and best place to see evidence of their work is on their Instagram page. They usually post their personal favorite photos and give a good representation of their style of photography as well. You want to see what type of photography you are drawn to most - such as lighting, posing and aesthetics. If you like photos that are light & airy, you want to look for a photographer that has a similar style to that, and likes lots of natural light in their photos. You wouldn’t want to pick a photographer that edits their photos to be dark & moody, because in the end, you won’t be happy with the results.
You also want to see what type of posing they usually have their couples do. I love photographers that pose their subjects to an extent but also leave room for their personality to shine through. If the photographer is fun & engaging, and encourages their couples to be themselves, they are able to capture candid photos that reflect people's real smiles & laughter, and the pure beauty of the moment.
I say that finding the right photographer is one of the most important parts of your wedding because that is what documents your special day. So if you decide that this too is very important to you, I would suggest that you save a larger portion of your budget to go towards photography. It might be difficult to say yes to a photographer with a high price point, but if they suit your style of what you want your photos to look like, it is worth the price. I see it as an investment. These photos are what you will have for years to come to look back on that important day and show your family, your friends, your future children & their children; it’s part of your legacy. It's true when they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. It captures a moment forever, and it's hard to put a price tag on that.
But I’m not saying to not be smart about it. Definitely weigh all your options, get others' opinions and reviews of different photographers, and meet with a potential photographer to see how you get along with them. You want them to add to your day, not add stress. This way you can express what is most important to you so they know how they should be capturing the wedding day & what kind of photos you want to have.
When it comes time to make your decision, and the photographer you’ve set your sights on may not have availability on your wedding date, don’t be dismayed. Ask them for recommendations of other photographers that they know of that may have a similar style to them. Maybe they have worked with others in the past as part of a collaboration or as a second shooter for an event. Or they may know of someone that is just starting out in the business but has great talent; they may just not be as well known in the industry yet. Finding someone like this might also be more affordable for you, because they are just getting their footing in the business but still have a lot of skills to offer.
The wedding industry is a place where a lot of vendors have to work together for a common goal, so I find that they are more open to recommending others to you, if they are currently booked up. Then you also know of a first hand recommendation from your preferred photographer.
Having two photographers at your wedding may seem excessive and you also don’t want to feel like you have a whole paparazzi following you around all day, but there are definitely advantages to having a second shooter on the day of your wedding.
After booking your main photographer, they will most likely ask if you would like a second shooter included. This is often someone that may be learning from them or just starting out in the business or even a photographer friend that has an opening on the same day. If the main photographer is the one hiring them, you know that they will have a similar style of photography and will have comparable quality of work.
The advantages of having a second photographer, especially if you have a big wedding and/or a large wedding party, is that they can capture even more moments since there will be two people in different places.
In a past wedding I planned, it worked well with one photographer stationed with the bride and her bridesmaids, capturing the time of them all getting ready together and the other with the groom and his groomsmen as they got prepared. They can also be taking group shots of them all separately before the ceremony, especially if the couple is waiting to have their first look down the aisle. It made for a very efficient day, and everything was able to stay on schedule throughout the day.
They are able to collectively capture all the little, fun moments and reactions from the day for you to be able to enjoy and remember forever.
In the end, you want to find the right photographer that is going to capture all the special moments from your big day. When there are so many people and so much going on, it’s hard for you to see & remember every second of it. You will never regret the decision of making the investment to hire a quality photographer to capture the memories that will last a lifetime.
P.S. Take a look at some of the photos from a past wedding I had the pleasure of working on!
Photography: Debbie Stockwell Studio