With this year’s wedding season underway, I have been receiving a good amount of inquiries for next year. Most inquiries follow the same pattern: “We love your work and were wondering what your packages are.” First, thank you for the compliment. Secondly, I would love to help! But, just like 8th grade, not every relationship we have is going to work out. Some couples I meet, I am not a good fit for. Others, it is like we are long lost friends. Below are 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer, written by a photographer.
1. Provide us with the important information up front.
I field probably 50 emails a day, or which 40 of them are important and need addressing. We live in an age where we expect an answer yesterday to a question we asked today. Make communication as easy as possible with your vendors. At the bare minimum, provide potential wedding vendors with:
- Wedding date
- Ceremony site
- Reception site
That way, we can check to see if we have the date available. We can also address our experience and knowledge about those locations. If it is a far drive or a destination wedding, we can be upfront and address any additional charges that may occur. If you would like to provide additional information, the following can also be helpful:
- Estimated start time of ceremony
- Estimated start time of cocktail hour or reception
- Estimated length of ceremony
- What type of imagery you are drawn to
- If there are going to be an traditions or cultural aspects to the wedding
This last point is incredibly important. We as photographers need to be silent chameleons. Catholic ceremonies I am normally located in the back of the church and NEVER go behind the altar. Indian ceremonies, I am invited up onto the “altar” and don’t wear shoes! Quite the polar opposites. You want to inform your photographer about the type of ceremony you will be having so they can act appropriately and research the cultural norms associated with it.
2. Ask to see a whole wedding gallery.
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room and said, “this doesn’t look like the photos on their website?” My fiance and I right now are house shopping; sometimes I laugh while visiting a prospective house and say, “Man, that photographer really got creative with their camera angles. This room looked MUCH bigger online.” Point being, photography isn’t always honest. Even the best photographers can get lucky. What you want to do is look a whole wedding gallery or even multiple wedding galleries. Do you see consistency in their style? Lighting? Posing? Storytelling? If so, that is good! What you don’t want to do is make a decision based on the 20 images you see on their homepage or portfolio. Want to see mine? Take a look. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
3. Grab a coffee.
Great! Now that you have seen a large body of their work and you have a wedding date that works, grab a coffee with them or schedule a time to have a FaceTime meeting. Nothing builds trust or allows you to better understand a person as actually meeting them. Not only do I encourage couples to meet with me for their consultation, but I try to have an experience with them before their wedding, whether it be seeing a baseball game or grabbing dinner with them, to better forge that relationship before their wedding day. After all, we are all on the same team both leading upto and including your big day. Keep reading for more 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
4. Be flexible.
As a photographer with 200+ weddings under his belt, it is my job to not only capture the beautiful moments of your wedding day, but to also help guide to to those moments. Sometimes, brides will come to me with a list of locations and shots that they would like for me to capture. The locations criss-cross the city and would require hours of shooting in the timeline. No one likes hearing the word “no.” Be flexible and open to suggestions. Chances are, we know some hidden gems for locations that would work perfect for you.
The same is true when it comes to your timeline. People tend to underestimate how long everything takes on their wedding day. Be flexible! Not enough time in your contract for your photographer to shoot the groom getting ready? No problem; a nice window and wall at the church is all we need to get those prep shots. Ceremony starting at 5:00 and cocktail hour at 6:00 in October? Looks like you will need to do a first look or else all of your formal photos will be at night time.
Some of my couples are so flexible, they book their wedding date around my availability! (I love you!)
The good photographers will always try to find a balance and guide to living out your best day. We need you to be a bit flexible too. No wedding is executed to perfection. That is what makes them so special and unique.
5. Match styles.
Think about when you go clothes shopping; not every piece looks good to you, right? Very few articles of clothing can be deemed universal. Instead, you buy clothes that support and create your own personal style. Guess what, photographers are the same way with their art. Don’t book someone who calls themselves a “natural light photographer” if you like the more dramatically lit images. Sure, there is some wiggle room in our styles.
If you request a portrait with you and your friends, any of us can make that happen. But if you are looking for all candids or “vintage edits” or fashion-inspired lighting, you are best off going to someone whose style specializes in that.
So there you have it. 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer. What tips can you share with our readers?
BTW Photography is a Detroit wedding photographer who offers his readers 5 tips to book your dream wedding photographer.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of planning that goes into a wedding. In fact, I spend about as much time helping brides plan their wedding as I do actually shooting their wedding! With each bride wanting to put their own special touches on their day, it is the photographer’s job to approach each wedding for exactly what it is: unique. Below are 10 tips to find your wedding photographer, so you can have the photos of your dreams. Check out the list below of 10 Tips to find your wedding photographer.
1. Prioritize your budget.
We all have a dream wedding that we have spent years envisioning and months on Pinterest pinning. Unfortunately, we also have to pay for it all! At the end of the day, what really “makes” a wedding are words and memories. The more special, emotional, and meaningful the ceremony and vows, the more everyone is going to remember the entire day. No one will ever say, “OMG! Can you believe they served mashed and not roasted potatoes?” In the end, you only get three or four things after the wedding is done: your rings, your dress, and your photos and video.
The rings you wear every day. The dress you will only wear once. Your photos and video; however, are an investment for yourself and future generations to look back upon. So skip the roasted potatoes and other marginal expenses (no one will miss them) if it means getting nicer rings, dress, photos or videos. Keep reading for more 10 tips to find your wedding photographer.
- Choose your photographer wisely.
Thanks to the digital revolution, everyone is a photographer now. Whether it is the camera on their iphone and slew of Instagram filters or someone who invested in a DSLR, everyone has access to take digital images. Add WordPress and free portfolio templates in the mix, it can be very difficult to determine who is a hobbyist and who is a professional, especially when you may only be viewing the best of the best of their portfolio.
One thing to note here though is, make sure you are getting the photographer whose work you are viewing! It seems like it is common sense but often times when brides book with large photography companies, they view the best work from all of the photographers put together and are at the mercy of whichever photographer’s schedule was open on their wedding day. That isn’t customer service nor is that the type of relationship you want with the person who is capturing the most important day of your life. More 10 tips to find your wedding photographer below.
It is spring, which means it is the start of engagement season! After a long, dreary winter, everyone is excited to get outside, enjoy the sun, and start taking photos before their wedding day. With my schedule booking up with engagement shoots, I thought I would write a post to help couples plan their perfect engagement session. Check out my 5 engagement planning tips below.
- Wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session.
If you are from Michigan, you could argue there are several signs spring has officially started: Tiger’s Opening Day, Oberon is launched, or the temperature breaks 50 degrees and we all run outside wearing shorts in March! Trust me, I feel your excitement. However, from a photographic standpoint, you want to wait until mid-to-late May before you schedule your engagement session, for several reasons. First, you want the ground to be dry. Whether the bride wants to wear heels or maybe there would be a great romantic shot of you and your fiancé laying down somewhere, doing so on soggy ground isn’t an option. Secondly, May’s weather is perfect for various wardrobe choices. Think dresses, sport coat, jeans, light sweaters, and layers. You can’t pull off some of these looks in the middle of the summer. Lastly, by the time mid-to-late May rolls around, the trees are in full bloom and the yellow hue to nature has turned to lush greens, offering us a variety of beautiful backdrops. On the flipside of the calendar, I try to squeeze in all of my “nature” engagement sessions by the second week of October, while colors are in their peak. Couples need to be flexible in October as sporadic rains can cause shoots to be rescheduled. If you are shooting in the city, couples can still shoot comfortably into November.
- Know what you are going to do with the photos.
Are you looking for a few photos to keep for yourselves and use one for save the dates? Perfect, all you need is one location, one outfit, and about 30 minutes for your engagement session. Are you looking to use the images in a Signature Guest Book or as part of your wedding day décor? Sounds good; plan on two or three locations, outfit changes, and two hours of shooting. Not sure how you will be using them? No problem; do something in between and talk to your photographer beforehand so they can explain some of your options. Knowing how you plan on using your engagement photos is critical in planning your engagement session. Too little time paired up with too big of plans could lead to a lack of options when it comes to fulfilling your plans. Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.
- Your location should reflect your relationship.
The first question I ask a couple when planning their engagement session is, “What do you like to do in your free time?” followed by “What are you envisioning for your engagement session?” The answers to these questions do two things: it opens up lines of communication to allow us to collaborate on the planning of the engagement session and it gives me about 80% of everything I need to plan or suggest locations for your engagement session.
Are you huge sports fans? Let throw you in some Red Wings jerseys and take a few shots in front of the Joe (so sad this was our last season there.) Notice though, I said a “few” shots. As much as you love hockey, you also want to capture some of those classic, timeless portraits.
I would say the most common combination of locations I photograph on an engagement session is part city-part nature. This gives couples two distinctly different looks and allows them to plan outfit changes appropriately. Speaking of which…
- Dress stylish, appropriately, but not trendy.
I could write a whole blog on what to wear to an engagement session. In short, everyone’s style is different; however, there are some general rules to help you pick outfits that photograph well. Here is a link.
- Too complicated patterns are distracting.
- Don’t match colors. Compliment! Nothing looks worse or more dated than matching white and khaki outfits. (The fact that I am even typing this is making me cringe.)
- Be stylish but not trendy. Don’t believe me? Anyone want to look at their awkward teenage years photos? Me neither. Fashion changes and trends change even faster. There are some classics that are both stylish and timeless: jeans with dress shoes, a tailored sport coat with a button down and pocket square for guys; a dress with heels, jeans with boots, a skirt and blouse for women.
- Add a touch of style with accessories. A rancher hat, chunky necklace, scarf, sweater, or jacket give an outfit a whole new look without having to change the entire wardrobe. It also gives you an opportunity to make your look modern. Again, just don’t overdo it. Only incorporate those accessories in a few of your engagement photos.
- Match your outfit with the location. Don’t show up to a nature shoot wearing a shirt and tie. That looks silly and out of place. How many people do you know walk in the woods wearing a shirt and tie or skirt and blouse? Me neither.
BTW Photography specializes in engagement planning tips.
- Get awkward. Get cozy. Get comfortable.
If you are anything like me, I am not a huge fan of having my picture taken. What I am a fan of though is hanging out with fiancée. There isn’t anything that makes me as happy as making her laugh. During our engagement session, I focused more on the experience and less about my picture being taken. And you know what? I loved the photos!
When I work with clients on their engagement session, we try to plan something fun and active into part of the engagement session; something that allows couples to focus their attention on the moment and less on the images being created. We have planned picnics, champagne toasts with macrons treats, ball games, boat rides, even ski trips. The more unique and “you” your engagement session is, the more comfortable you will be and the more you will love your images. Keep reading for more engagement planning tips.
Bonus: Consider connecting your vacation or proposal to your engagement session. This is the best engagement planning tip I can offer.
Maybe it is because I am still relishing in my latest Paris vacation, but photographing your engagement session while on vacation could be a great idea. There were so many gorgeous and unique locations for beautiful and intimate portraits while I was in Paris. Whether it was the Lovre at night in formal wear or quietly sipping a coffee in a café, my mind was seeing potential for portrait, engagement, and wedding images everywhere! You don’t have to go to Paris either for your engagement session; there are plenty of unique locations within a day trip or quick plane ride from Detroit.
So there you go! From a photographer’s point of view, these are the things I consider when helping my couples plan their engagement session. The more “you” and the more fun the engagement session is, the more you will love not only the photos, but the entire experience.
Did I miss anything? Any engagement planning tips you would like to share with other readers? Leave a comment or email me and I will update the blog! Thanks for reading my 5 engagement planning tips.
With the holidays behind us, many people celebrated Christmas or the new year by getting engaged. Congratulations! And while it is exciting to start asking your best friends to be bridesmaids, building your wedding Pinterest boards, and buying every edition of The Knot you can get your hands on, here are 5 tips for finding the right wedding photographer.
1. Define your style and wedding priorities.
I drive a truck. It is white and carries all of my equipment while still comfortably seating the bride and groom after their first look. It suits me and my needs. A sports car, on the other hand, would be of no use to me. Both get you from A to B, but do so in different ways. The same is true with your wedding – no matter where, how many guests, or what meat is being served at dinner, you will both say “I do” and start your life together. When I bought my truck, I researched, budgeted, and planned it out so that it would meet my style, needs, and preferences. Your wedding is no different. When you start planning your wedding, the first thing I encourage couples to do is prioritize things. How important are centerpieces and linens to you? Videography? A band versus a DJ? How about photography?
For some people, photography is a top priority. I have had many honors from my clients – some have made me a major portion of their budget and proudly display their wedding photos on their walls, others have based their wedding date around my availability. If photography is a major priority, then go with someone who specializes in weddings. I hear people say “My uncle has a nice camera” or “my friend is getting into photography” or even worse, “I am going to get a college student who is looking to build their portfolio.” These people often times regret their decision when their expectations are not met and they cannot get back those lost moments. You wouldn’t go to a Chinese restaurant if you feel like Italian food; don’t hire a non-specialized photographer to shoot your wedding.