#1 Don’t just shop by your budget
Every single couple in the history of ever has a budget. So congratulations, you’re normal! Us photographers totally expect that. Our only request is that you book a photographer based on your budget and your style. Make sure to think about the editing look, the shooting style, and visit those “about me” pages to see if you share some things in common. Because if not, it’s gonna be real awkward when this person with a giant camera is telling you to make out in front of them and the only thing you can think to talk about is the weather.
Here’s an example of why this makes such a difference:
Like many others, I have a coffee addiction. I have made it known, so a lot of the time when a couple tells me they love it as well, we start their engagement session in a coffee shop! Now, they have plenty of adorable mushy gushy photos of them sipping vanilla lattes and gazing into each other’s eyes.
Take time to stalk the photographers you’ve mentally put in the shopping cart, and you’ll find yourself booking someone that actually enhances your day (and could even be a new friend)!
#2 I hate shot lists
Look, I get it-you have Pinterest. Who doesn’t?? If you’ve got a few photos you want to copy, that’s totally understandable. It’s when you pull out the 3-page list of shots like “bride in wedding dress”, “couple at altar”, “couple kissing”, “first dance”, and “toasts” that I start to cringe on the inside.
Every photographer wants their couples’ trust- more than anything. So the reason I dread these files is because I want you to hire me with confidence. You signing my contract represents the mutual knowledge that I will capture your day with professional vision and talent.
With that being said, I believe each photographer should also do some reassuring before the wedding. I ask each and every single one of my couples what is most important to them on their wedding day, and what they want captured most. I let them know that I capture each aspect of the wedding, but also want to know when to hold down the button on my camera until the storage on my card is practically full. That way, after you tell me your mom is going to cry when you come down the aisle- and that you want me to capture each individual tear- I’m on it when the time comes.
So shop for a photographer with the understanding that their work should reflect the type of photos you want (less stress for you!)
#3 Outdoors is best!
I don’t care how nice the lightbulbs are, no light is the same as outdoor light. Your skin, your dress, his suit, your florals, and your lovely guests will all look their absolute best if there isn’t a roof over your heads. If you’re worried about weather, consider partial covering like a patio or tent! Seriously, anything is better than indoors. But don’t panic if you’re already locked in to an indoor venue-just open every. single. curtain.
#4 I want you to have a first look
Not for me, for you! I know, most of you brides want the dreamy moment of your man falling to his knees in a puddles of tears when your hot self appears in the aisle. But when it comes down to the hour, your nerves usually say otherwise. Suddenly you’re thinking “All I want in the freaking world is a hug from him right now. I can’t wait another second!”
Trust me, that moment alone with just the two of you will work wonders in setting your mood for the rest of the day. You get to sneak some practice kisses before the big performance, and you get more time for couple photos! That way you and your guests aren’t waiting an hour to eat dinner because we’re off frolicking in a field somewhere before the sun goes down.
Bride and grooms tend to be floating a bit on the wedding day, and something about seeing each other’s faces bring you back down to earth, calming you and holding you in the moment. Trust me, it’s easy for it all to become a blur.
#5 Unplugged ceremonies make me so happy
I love your grandma, but I hate her ipad with a passion. And you will too, if it’s blocking half of your husband’s face during your first kiss. Unfortunately, the cute little sign at the beginning of your aisle that says “unplugged ceremony” usually isn’t enough. Consider having the officiant kindly ask your guests to refrain from recording the entire ceremony on facebook, so that your photos remind you of the special people you had at your wedding (not what phone case they had that year). I mean after all, you put that good money towards a professional to get it all for them!
p.s. I send online galleries, so you can send the link to anyone you’d like! Easy.
#6 The guest with the huge camera
Often, the tap on the shoulder followed by the “what camera is that? Oh I have the _____” comes at some point. Now I am all for people learning photography, but if you’ve hired me to capture your day I don’t want to have to dodge that person following my every step!
#7 If I’m sitting, I’m not wasting time
I really do love my job, so I want to be present for it! If you see me sitting down, I’m getting water, checking equipment, catching my breath, or looking at my screenshot of notes I took when we met about your wedding weeks before. I don’t want to miss a single photo, so you’ll see my eyes darting up every 3 seconds to be sure. I’m no superhero, and 10 hour work days kick my butt!
#8 I have to eat dinner too
I’ll just be straight with you, it really sucks to go all day and not be given a meal while you go eat. If you’re unable to feed me, that’s ok! Just please please tell me beforehand, or give me a window of time to go get Chipotle. I’m working my hardest for ya all day, and I really need to eat to keep going strong. It’s a long day, and that little break is vital! I’ll eat fast and keep my camera close- I promise.
#9 I don’t need to stay for the entire reception
Trust me when I say you can only take so many dancing photos. I absolutely guarantee you I can get everyone that will end up on the dance floor plenty photographed in 20 minutes or less. So give me an hour or two at most, and you’ll have every table decoration and dinner option covered.
The exception would be a grand exit! But if it’s going to be dark by then, I would highly recommend turning it into a grand entrance instead. That way all of the guests will be there, and you’ll actually be able to tell where you are!
#10 I am dying to know what you think!
Alright I’ll admit it. I’ve teared up at more than one text from couples right after I send them their photos. I don’t think it’ll ever change. After all that time spent talking and planning and photographing, your thoughts are so important! And nothing gets me like the videos of you reacting when you open your gallery! I watch it over and over.
#11 I’m a little hurt when you edit my photos or don’t give me credit
I want the photos I deliver to be perfect. Seriously. Perfect. So if they’ve reached your email I have probably looked at each one a hundred times, tweaked each setting until it’s just right, and sat there staring at it until I find something else to fix. When I scroll through Instagram or Facebook and see that you posted them, I love seeing my name and original edits on the photos I was so proud to create!
Word of mouth is the #1 way us photographers are found. So tagging us keeps us in business doing what we love! Sadly, we’ve got bills to pay too. My goal is to make you so happy with your photos you’re tagging and posting like crazy!