Engaged? Here are some tips to help you pick the wedding photographer of your dreams.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas behind us, we are about halfway through proposal season. A whopping 42% of all proposals happen From November to January! While saying “I do” is the most important decision of your life, who you will choose to be a part of your wedding will have a lifelong impact as well. The most sought after photographers and vendors book up quickly, generally 8 – 16 months in advanced. (It is still 2014 and I already have weddings booked for 2016!) As you begin planning the wedding of your dreams, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding photography…
It is an investment. Have you ever looked at a childhood photo and it brought you back to that moment? Made you smile and reminisce? Laugh again? Share a story with someone you love? My most cherished possessions in life are my photo albums because it is the one thing that cannot be replaced. The value of photos only grows with time, especially as life occurs and the circle of life continues.
A professional photographer will add value. A photographer is like a chef; given ingredients, he creates something that you can’t by yourself. The best chefs can create rich and complex flavors given basic ingredients. Photographers are no different – given a hotel room for bridal prep, a dimly lit church, a park or staircase for formals, we can create complex images with less than perfect ingredients.
A seasoned, professional photographer has handled almost every wedding situation. Whether it is rain, snow, bright sun at high noon, or an overly excited Aunt Sue who wants to take every formal photo I arrange with her iPhone, A seasoned photographer has been there, done that, and handled it professionally. It is my job to know how and when to add light, subtract light, do crowd control, create moments, bustle dresses, pin boutonnières, remove stains and make-up from clothing, sew buttons back on and everything else in between. (and yes, I have done all of these!)
A professional does more than just take photos; he cares about your wedding like it is his own. Two of the things I do the most with the bride and groom is help with the timeline and suggest locations for formals. An inadequate or poorly designed timeline can dramatically limit your photography time and elevate everyone’s stress level. When multiple locations are involved generic parks in between the ceremony and reception areas first come to mind. But who wants generic wedding photos in lackluster locations? A good photographer will work with you and your timeline to create a day that works for all parties and yields a beautiful portfolio of images that represent you in unique and stunning locations.
Professionals invest in themselves, which means they are investing in you. The typical wedding season in Michigan lasts from late April to early November. While my wedding schedule slows in the winter months, that doesn’t mean my business does. That is my time to study new lighting techniques and poses, submit work for competition and anxiously wait to read the constructive feedback from judges, submit wedding portfolios to blogs and await feedback, read what is new in the industry, scout new and interesting locations for shoots, practice, practice, and more practice. While my education is continuing, so is my investment in equipment. Just this year, I upgraded both camera bodies and two lenses that I wasn’t 100% confident in their performance. A marginal improvement over tens of thousands of images per year, Is a huge improvement overall.
There are very few things in life that can’t be changed once done. Houses can be sold, lease cars can be traded, career paths can be redefined…Wedding photography is one of the few things that can’t be changed. Make sure you choose a photographer whose work resonates with you. Your future self will thank you.
With the wedding season wrapping up, edits are done and albums are being built, I finally have some time to post some weddings on the blog. Zach and Kristina share an awesome story – high school sweethearts who went to Homecoming with other people and ended up together the following year and all eight years following. Of all the brides I have photographed, I don’t think I have ever had one who smiled so genuinely, all of the time. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of Kristina. Understandably, she is marrying a true gentleman.