Wedding Vendor Expertise: What your Photographer Wants You To Know!

I know a lot of couples feel a ton of pressure when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. It is a big investment, and let’s face it- your photos are the only thing you’re left with post-wedding (besides the lifetime of happy memories and a much smaller bank account balance of course!)

There are lots of “how-to” articles online on the topic, but I decided to get some advice for couples straight from the horse’s mouth. Whether you are still shopping around for a photographer, or have someone booked but want to be sure you love the finished product- check out these tips from some of PTC’s favorites…

If you’re still shopping…

– “I encourage everyone to see full galleries from any photographers they are considering. Portfolios and blog posts will show you the photographer’s hand-picked favorites, which is great for getting a sense of their style and what they are most excited about shooting. But seeing a complete set of all the images they deliver for a whole wedding will really allow you to see how they work in different lighting conditions, how they approach different parts of the day, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Most good photographers will be able to work well in a variety of locations and situations, so it’s not always necessary for them to have photographed at your specific venue before. But you will want to talk with them to make sure they’re comfortable with the general logistics of the space and lighting for your location. For example, if you see mainly light, airy, outdoor images on the photographer’s website, but you are having an all-indoor wedding, you will want to ask to see examples of weddings they’ve done that are more similar to yours.” —Jessica Schilling Photography


– “The couple should not be afraid to ask about the photographer’s specific services and processes (where do you find your second shooters? How large are high-res files? Editing method? Delivery time?). Any great photographer will be happy walk you through their thought/shooting/editing process to put you at ease. It’s our job to educate our clients, and no question is too small!” — Brittany of BKM Photography


– “Date around. Especially if you’re not crazy about having your picture taken, the comfort and chemistry you feel with your photographer is going to be ultra important. You want to work with someone who you trust and who you feel respected by, and ultimately someone you can laugh with. So go grab a beer or a cup of coffee with a few of the photographers you’re considering hiring, and then go with your gut.” — Melissa of Marble Rye Photography


Pinterest can be the enemy…

-“You’ve hired your dream photographer, now you can let them work their magic. Pinterest is great for general inspiration or communicating style but it cramps photographer’s creativity to receive a detailed shot list. Let your shots be unique and authentic to your day.” — Laura of Laura Goldenberger Photography


– “Trust the photographer you’ve hired. Let them do their job as a creative professional and stop sending us Pinterest boards of other photographer’s work – you hired us for a reason.” — Josh of Continuum Photography


Timing is Everything…

–  “Consider doing a First Look. It relieves a lot of scheduling stress when it comes to planning time for all the amazing portraits and family photos that you are probably going to want. Having those taken care of earlier in the day allows you and your fiance to maximize the time you have with your friends and family. Let’s face it, after the ceremony, everyone wants to get the party started! A First Look frees up the post-ceremony schedule to do just that.” — Laura of Laura Ford Photography


–  “A photography timeline with lots of cushion is essential. Rushing through your photos just isn’t as fun and will stifle lots of amazing potential photo opportunities.” — Laura of Laura Goldenberger Photography


More tips…

-“Engagement session, engagement session, engagement session! I could say it again…I believe so much in the power of the engagement session that I give them away to my couples for zero, zilch, nada. An engagement session is INVALUABLE. I learn how the couple interacts with one another, how they prefer and are best photographed, and more. We hang out and get acquainted, so that the day-of I am old news (in the best way possible). When the photographer shows up while the bride is getting ready, if they have bonded over an engagement session, it is much more of an “old friends” situation than an “OMG what’s that stranger doing with a camera in my face!?” situation. This goes miles in making wedding photos relaxed and REAL. ” — Brittany of BKM Photography
– “Ask your photographer…”What brought you to wedding photography?” The answer will give you an idea of what your photographer‘s job means to them, where their passion lies and why documenting commitment and community matters to them. Listen for answers that resonate with you. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – photographing a wedding can be taxing (you’re like a ninja and an emotional sponge all wrapped into one, for 8-10 hours straight). But if your photographer gushes and glows a little bit while they tell you why they do it? Trust that they thrive on the challenge, and their passion (and adrenaline) will be a warm and welcome presence on your wedding day. ” — Melissa from Marble Rye Photography

PTC’s tips:

– Your photographer will be LITERALLY in your face all. day. long. More than any other vendor, it’s important you feel comfortable with this person.

– If budget allows, spring for at least a 7 hour package. It can be hard to keep a timeline that feels organic and relaxed when you are trying to squeeze everything in.

– SHOT LIST! Are you using your grandmothers cake cutters? Have a special friend from out of town you never see? Tell your photographer (and coordinator) about that stuff ahead of time so you ensure they get great photos of it. Also a specific list of family members in the combinations you want them photographed helps the dreaded family photo session go much smoother!

Any other tips to share with couple’s still planning?

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