Wedding photography is a big investment, folks! I know that as well as you do, and I can’t stress enough how important it is to find someone you’re not only comfortable working with, but excited to work with. The wedding photographer you choose can have an enormous effect on the wedding day itself, not just how it looks in pictures. So, make sure you look at lots of options, and meet with at least 3 different people. Ask friends for recommendations, or see who the photographer was from wedding pictures you like! The key thing is to really like your photographer on a personal level, and to trust them to really get what you’re looking for from an aesthetic point of view when it comes to the photos they take!
-Know what you want:
No matter how inexperienced you might be at photography or art criticism, you definitely have your own personal taste and style! So, before you make any decisions, spend some hours looking at as many wedding photos as you can. Keep a folder of the ones that really speak to you, and keep working until you’ve got a hundred or so. Then, sit down and start to figure out what’s drawing you to those specific images. Is it the natural lighting, or the touch-up work? Is it a grainy film texture, or a polished finish? Are your favorites candid moments, or posed tableaux? Do your best, and remember that you can always bring those photos to your photographer interviews to make sure they’re seeing what you’re seeing!
Pro-tip/warning: as a wedding photographer, I’m happy to cater my shooting style and technique to the sorts of images you like. However, I am still my own artist. I’ll help you capture the feel of the images you bring me as examples, but I won’t be copying or trying to duplicate the work of other wedding photographers. Think of this album as your inspiration board, rather than a strict blueprint! After, all your wedding should be a completely unique and personal experience.
-Have a budget before you start choosing between photographers:
Being really aware of how much you can afford to spend on your wedding photography is one of the absolute musts of planning your wedding. You can’t have a productive conversation with prospective photographers unless you can give them a concrete sense of what you’re looking to spend, so plan ahead! I know I would always appreciate being told up front that things might not work financially before I start helping to plan things out. I would also say that sometimes, if a couple is feeling a bit strapped, we can come up with something creative to help you get the most from my time so that if we work well together, we can still do so without wrecking your budget! So always ask and be up front with numbers. It’s not crass, it’s actually more polite!
-Figure out your scheduled shots:
Some people prefer it if I don’t plan any shots, and just wander around compiling moments. Others want lots of tableau shots through the day, as people change outfits, and you move through the different events of the wedding. I’m open to any format you want, and so are most other photographers. Having said that, it is much easier for everyone if there is a timetable of when planned shots need to happen. That will give you a chance to change and get everyone ready, so we’re not running around and stressed about missing the perfect light. These are things to talk about up front before you make too many decisions about the big day itself.
-Get a really good first look photo:
A lot of people under appreciate the power of a first look photo, which is when I snap you seeing each other in your outfits for the first time on the wedding day. If you’re going to have a first look moment before the ceremony, make sure you make the most of it. This is a chance to have a candid shot with genuine surprise, excitement, and joy, and most of all love radiating from both of you! So plan it out in advance as part of the schedule, make sure I’m ready to go, and then just relax and know that you’ll have some amazing photos to remind you of the first time you saw your spouse all decked out.
These are just some of my thoughts, but there are some wonderful guidelines for general wedding photography etiquette on the Boston Globe website: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2017/01/05/things-know-about-getting-best-wedding-photographer-for-you/w60B39ud7leYmwHt4UPlhK/story.html