How Should I Choose Wedding Photographer THINGS THIS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER LEARNED AS A BRIDE As I come down from cloud nine from this amazing weekend, I thought I’d share a more personal blog post that I felt was kind of necessary. This weekend, I married my best friend and had the wedding of my dreams!! Out of all the weddings I have shot over the years, it was so crazy to finally be the bride. I’m still reliving the day over and over again, smiling to myself that this really happened. In other news, it was really eye opening to be on the other side of things for once. I learned a LOT about what it feels like to be the client, and what it feels like to the bride. I really wanted to share some of the big things wedding planning taught me and some tips I can offer to current brides to help their day run smoothly. Communication with your vendors is very important The one thing that we did have some bumps in the road with, is a couple of mishaps with a couple of our vendors. One thing one that was helpful for us is to arrange a phone call with all of our hired vendors to make sure everyone was on the same page. This is something that as a client that you shouldn’t feel bad about, as we are working for YOU. It also did a lot in settling our nerves, knowing that all of our vendors were on the same page. Do as much as you can as early in advance as you can! We booked as many vendors as we could within the first couple of months of engagement. When all the big stuff was taken care of, we took a seat for a bit as we both focused on other things for a few months. A month before wedding, we realized we needed a lot of little things: A card box, memory table frames, gifts for our parents, gifts for each other, gifts for our bridal party, escort cards.. the list goes on. We had thought we had a leg up in the game, but when we realized we had so many little things left to do so close to the wedding, panic mode set in! Spurge on the things that matter most to you, and budget on the others Our priority vendor-wise was a couple of things: An amazing photographer (duh), and our guests having a great time. With that, we splurged and got a pretty great band which got our friends and family up and dancing, and our photographers were just incredible all day – we felt very comfortable with them and confident that they had everything captured for the day. Flowers and center pieces? We tried to go a little cheaper with. We would rather spend more money on the things that are really important to us, rather than the things that we will never remember and our guests probably won’t notice. Wedding Photography Client Gifts There are a lot of things that I had to do to take my business from a side gig to full time – there’s no doubt that building a business is hard work, and the hardest part is getting people who actually want to pay for what you do. If I could tell you to focus on one thing and one thing only, I would say focus on the client experience I like to think of it this way – if you loved the food at a certain restaurant, but the waiters were rude every time you went, and you had a bad experience, how likely are you to come back? CLIENTS ARE WILLING TO PAY MORE FOR AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. Most people would rather go somewhere else, even if the food was more expensive – and that’s how it is with all things! People are willing to pay more for the experience, as long as it’s a good one. And especially if it’s one they won’t get just anywhere. Photos are no different. If you take beautiful photos, but your clients feel awkward and uncomfortable during the shoot, they’ll probably just remember that feeling when they look at the photos MAKE YOUR CLIENT EXPERIENCE UNIQUE. The client experience looks different for everybody – some people hang out with their clients or take them on a coffee date occasionally, which is awesome! I don’t personally do this (most of the time), just because I’m often traveling and it’s a little harder for me to maintain those in person connections. I am also more of an introvert, so it doesn’t feel super natural for me to become best friends with everybody. I’ve tried, and I kind of think people can tell when you’re trying too hard, haha. In general, being yourself just works out better. How I do my wedding photography client gifts. Back to wedding photography client gifts: I love giving them (it’s definitely my love language), and almost everyone I know loves receiving them. It’s just a cute little way to let your clients know you’re thinking about them, and when they get their gifts they often post them on Instagram stories or rave to their friends. THINGS YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WANTS YOU TO KNOW What your wedding photographer wants you to know. It seems simple, right? As wedding photographers, we’re supposed to show up on the date you’ve picked out and photograph it. Easy. Well, that’s not really all there is to it. I like to think of wedding photographers as the glue that holds a wedding day together. Disclaimer here: I don’t want to discount wedding planners. If you have hired a wedding planner, first off — thank you, and secondly, they would be handling all of the logistics, last minute plans, etc. Wedding Planners are Wonderful I mentioned this above, but hiring a wedding planner really does make wedding planning so much easier. You won’t have to keep up with a million different vendor email threads, nor will you have to coordinate every single tiny detail (think about napkins, how they’re placed, what color, etc). There are so many things you don’t think you’ll need to do until you are in the thick of it. If I could go back (my personal advice from being a bride), I would undoubtedly hire a wedding planner We Can’t Work Magic Scenario: You’ve been scouring blogs like Style Me Pretty and Magnolia Rouge. You’ve stared at countless outdoor ceremony photos with floral arches underneath large moss-covered trees. You’ve fallen in love with a certain photographer and you HAVE to hire them for your wedding. Your big day rolls around, you have your indoor formal church ceremony in front of the altar, and all is well. A few months pass and you receive your wedding photos. You think: these do NOT look like the work I saw of “said photographer” on the blogs. Indoor ceremonies and outdoor ceremonies have totally different vibes because they have totally different light. Can indoor ceremonies still be gorgeous and ethereal? Absolutely! Your wedding photographer wants you to know that different light will yield different results. Lack of light will not render beautiful skin or light and airiness like being outside will. The Top Wedding Photographers in the World You’ve secured an ideal venue and are collaborating with a planner who anticipates your every need—and if they’re worth their salt, they’ll likely refer a photographer from this list. Your decor, dress, flowers, and cake can all look perfect on the day of, but it’s the skillful shooting, expert lighting, thoughtful composition, and fly-on-the-wall discretion that will shape your memories as you look back on your wedding photographs in the years to come. These are the photographers we recommend when asked and those who we trust to capture the portraits, moments, and details of life’s most sentimental events. Some of them have shot the most exclusive celebrity weddings; others are the go-tos for the It-girl and fashion set. Many of these talents have captured events all over the world—some approaching their work with a documentarian’s eye, while others are all about sheer romance. As for the best of the best, they’re all of the above. We asked our photographer shortlist to share their points of view, process, expert advice, and more about their signature styles in their own words The Look: Having shot mostly in film for almost 20 years, I’ve been able to master the soft, organic, and timeless look that classic film provides. The Approach: It’s not just about taking the best photos—it’s also about how I make the clients feel. This is an experience from the first initial connection to the final deliverables; it all must be consistent and flawless. Must-Have Wedding Day Photography Gear Those who follow Portrait Session know that I consider myself to be an idiot when it comes to photography gear. I’m unlike my fellow Improve Photography guys in that I don’t lust over the newest lenses, I don’t nerd out about the latest camera models, and I certainly have no idea what great new treats are soon to be released. I do, however, have a certain passion for the things that every good wedding photographer should have in their bag, which is why I want to share with you what I believe is the must have wedding day photography gear. The gear that will allow you to improve the quality of your photographs, and in turn take your business to the next level. Now, I’m not here to say that you can’t be a wedding photographer if you don’t have all of these things in your bag. I know that there are successful wedding photographers out there who shoot with old bodies or only 2 lenses. I’m also not here to say that the gear I have is the best and you should run out and buy everything I own. I am simply here to share the things that I think are crucial in order to be fully prepared for all of the environments and situations that weddings throw at you. With these pieces of gear in your bag, I promise you’ll be ready to conquer a wedding day like a pro! A good bag There are approximately 72 million camera bags in the world today. Some are cross body, others are backpacks, and others are roller bags. Some hold a few lenses and a body, while others hold roughly 84 lenses and 17 bodies. While much of what I’m saying here is exaggeration, one thing I will not exaggerate about is that every wedding photographer must have a bag that is big enough, strong enough, and safe enough for all of the gear necessary to be a GREAT wedding photographer. A camera that performs well in low light It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter extremely crappy light at some point on a wedding day. Most churches have dull lights that cast a yellow hue on everything in site. The majority of reception venues are dimly lit spaces with sometimes not even enough ambient light to be able to lock focus (that’s the WORST). Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial for all wedding photographers to have a camera that will produce beautiful images even in dark situations. A zoom lens Going back to that church scenario mentioned above, it is also inevitable that you’ll encounter a church that restricts photographers. I’d say that in at least half of the church weddings I photograph, I am restricted in some way. Most often, this restriction is in the form of where I can move during the ceremony. Some restrictions are more harsh than others, but I have been in some churches where I wasn’t even allowed to move out of the back row! If I had not had my 70-200 lens, the couple would’ve looked like ants in every single photo!!