1. Choose the Right Photographer
I know this sounds like an obvious statement but the importance of this can not be overstated. Choosing a photographer whose style and personality meshes well with yours is absolutely crucial to the quality of your photos. Not only will your photographer be by your side your entire wedding day, their artistry will be displayed in your home and heirlooms for years, even generations to come. Try choosing your photog like you would a friend, can you see yourself sitting down for coffee, talking for hours? The best part is if you choose wisely, chances are that after your wedding, your photographer will be a friend. I once had a bride tell me that she fell in love again on her wedding day, with me!Â That is exactly what you want in a photographer, someone who can help you be at ease in your photos and make you laugh all at the same time. You will be so much happier with the final product and overall experience if you choose the photographer that’s right for you.
2. Do the Engagement Session
Most photogs I know offer engagement sessions with their packages. Yes, it is a great way to get gorgeous photos for clients to display on their save the date cards or on the wedding day, but I will let you in on one of our little secrets…it makes for much better wedding day photos too!! Why? Like I said above, being comfortable with your photographer goes a long long way in ensuring beautiful wedding images. Engagement sessions give you and your fiance a chance to experience what it’s like to be in front of the camera and take direction from your photographer before the big day arrives. Most of my clients are not professional models so they can be nervous or inhibited when the shooting starts but engagement sessions are the perfect opportunity for them to get a feel for how I work, direct, and interact with them. That way on the wedding day, they are totally relaxed and familiar with my shooting style and it shows in their images.
3. Plan for it
This probably should have been #1. It is absolutely crucial that you discuss the timeline of your day with your photographer while you are still in the early planning stages. I cannot tell you how much it breaks my heart when I find out that I have one cocktail hour to photograph all of the families, the entire wedding party and the bride and groom portraits. Because what happens most of the time is that the family photos get delayed and as a result the wedding party and even worse, the bride and groom portraits get crammed into a few moments. To me those are the most important images of the day and deserve more than a few rushed moments. So to avoid this sad scenario, discuss your schedule with your photographer and allow them to suggest an alternative that works for everyone and provides sufficient time for all of the important photographs. Some of my favorite solutions are a first look or day-after session, both allow for a designated time with the bride and groom alone to capture those intimate moments in an ideal setting.
For example: The image below is a truly organic moment that resulted from the three above elements working together. Nick and Emily chose a photographer (me) that fit their style and personality and would blend in well during their event. Next, this portrait session took place after they’d already spent a solid amount of time in front of my camera. It was also shot in the ideal lighting since Emily consulted with me about when the best time would be for this session. These factors cultivated the perfect setting for them to actually relax and enjoy being together and their wedding day and for me to capture gorgeous images without a lot of directing or controlling the environment.