I am starting a little series called Ask the Experts for all of the couples (and vendors) reading this blog. My ultimate goal is to always provide you with valuable content, so I'm interviewing professional wedding vendors about their craft and what they wish their brides and grooms knew when preparing for their big day.
I am kicking it off the series with wedding photographers – the ones who are talented enough to capture all of the memories on your wedding day so that you can look back and relive those moments for years to come. I wouldn’t know where to begin when capturing & editing a wedding photo, much less 1,000 of them, so I was excited for them to boil down to their top 1-2 pieces of advice for you today. I know it was hard for them to decide what to say to you!! Whether you have already booked your photographer or are still on the hunt, these folks have shared practical advice that can apply to you. This is a long post, so I have created a totally free condensed PDF with all of the highlights for you to take with you at the end!
Holly is an Atlanta based wedding photographer who loves to travel. Her goal for any wedding day is to strive to capture it fully and beautifully while also being a calming presence on what can often be a stressful day.
Make sure you are comfortable with your photographer.
"Choose a photographer that you feel comfortable with because you will probably spend more time with this person on your wedding day than most people - including your spouse."
There is no need to give your photographer a long list of photography poses or images.
"Try not to give your photographer an extensive list of pinterest photos that you want. Your wedding day is unique and isn't going to look exactly like a photo you saw on Pinterest because those are unique moments in time. Your wedding day should be your own. You've hired your photographer for their style and creativity and hopefully because you trust them to capture your day fully."
Kristen is a photographer for the life livers and sunset dreamers – those with a zest for life, an appetite for adventure, and who want their moments to be authentically captured. She considers herself beyond blessed to split time between the sandy beaches of Costa Rica and the majestic live oaks of Savannah, Georgia.
Pay attention to both style and personality when choosing a photographer.
"The #1 thing I recommend to my couples is to select a wedding photographer not only based on their photography style, but also on the photographer's personality. This is VERY important as during your wedding day your photographer is by your side practically the whole day. Pick a photographer who you feel super comfortable with and feels more like a friend than a photographer with a camera!"
Don’t skimp on the bride and groom photos!
"Make sure you give yourself enough time for bride + groom photos. Your wedding day is about you, your partner, and the love you two share together."
Shelby Steckbauer is a photographer who specializes in wedding, fashion, lifestyle & product photography, and she is based in Atlanta, Georgia. She loves working with light, tones, colors and movement to create the perfect images. She makes everyone feel so comfortable with her energy level at her sessions and captures her clients truly in the moment.
Cushion your timeline with extra time to avoid stress and allow yourself to soak it all in.
"Give yourself enough time for the entire day. The day goes by so fast and to keep it more relaxed on your wedding day, allow a little extra time, just to soak it all in, and reduce the rush. It might seem like there is a lot of time between tasks; like getting ready and getting to the ceremony or moving on afterwards for photos - but you’ll need this. I promise!"
Lindsey is a wedding and anniversary photographer for heirloom couples in the Southeastern US and beyond. You'll normally find her cultivating her plethora of houseplants and traipsing around in maxi skirts, but her passion is providing legacy-worthy imagery to couples who desire a beautiful wedding day and an even more beautiful marriage.
Tell your photographers all of the special details - there is no such thing as TMI!
"As much as I wish I could, I can’t read your mind or know every intrinsic detail about your wedding. I try to capture everything I can at your wedding, but I also need you to tell me the important details that I may not know otherwise! If the ribbon wrapping your bouquet is from your grandmother’s wedding dress or if the best man is going to surprise everyone with a special song during the reception- tell me! This way I can be prepared and watch specifically for those things. Also, if there are particular guests at the reception that you want me to pay special attention to photograph, make sure to have someone point them out to me specifically. Most of my wedding photos will be focused on where the action is happening (the dance floor, the cake cut, etc), but if I know who your "VIPs" are, I can keep an eye out for them!"
Rylee Hitchner is a film wedding and family photographer in Birmingham AL. She specializes in intimate weddings worldwide. Her goal is to photograph in a way that feels exactly as her clients see their day in their memories.
Make sure you have lots of natural light wherever you plan to get ready.
"Ample natural lighting as you get ready is appreciated and needed by many of your vendors— your Hair and Makeup artist, Videographer, and Photographer will all love working in a space with lots of windows and their work will be better for it. When choosing where you will get ready, turn off any artificial lights and see how much window light comes through."
Don’t just keep your photos on a flashdrive - print them!
"I can’t recommend having tangible prints enough. I make it a priority to include a handmade box of prints in every package I offer because that memory of flipping through my own wedding prints was almost as memorable as the wedding day itself. As newlyweds living in a barely furnished apartment, we curled up together and spread hundreds of prints all over our empty dining room floor. We then spent the rest of the weekend proudly carrying around that box of prints to our families homes to share with them. I want that same beautiful memory for all of my newly married clients, so I don’t leave that out of the experience!"
Robert and Tiffany are two inspired artists and the husband and wife team behind Rustic White Photography. From their initial consultation with couples to post-production details, they devote themselves wholeheartedly to mirroring and celebrating the love they see in their amazing clients.
Have an in-person meeting with your potential photographers.
"Meet with potential wedding photographers. You'll be spending your entire wedding day with your photographer (more time than any other vendor) and it is crucial that you and your groom feel comfortable with and trust him/her."
Ally and Bobby are a husband and wife team shooting weddings in the southeast. Their brides love outdoor weddings, film photography, and a fine art approach to their wedding day.
Plan your timeline around the light.
"To get the best wedding photos we recommend planning your wedding timeline around the light. You can check what time the sun will set on your wedding day even if it's two years from now. Here's our favorite website to check your sunset time: timeanddate.com. This will help you with timing for your day to maximize light for all the big parts of your wedding! There are so many different tips we have about how to have the best light for your photos, but here are a few big ones:
- Choose a getting ready location with lots of window light.
- Choose a ceremony location that has some shade at any time of the day. We also recommend getting married two hours before the sun sets.
Make sure to plan some time in to do bride and groom portraits during the "golden hour" which is the hour before the sun sets."
Cheyenne Schultz and her team are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, but they serve the greater Southeast region. They have been in business coming up on 10 years this fall and have photographed nearly 200 weddings.... and she still thinks she has the best job in the world! Her heart is to create art that matters and to genuinely care for and serve others through her business.
Hire trustworthy vendors, and have confidence in them!
I always say that the best thing a bride can do is to hire vendors whose work she really loves and that she trusts....and that goes for the photographer, the planner, florist, DJ, etc. I know that I do my best work when I know that my clients have complete trust and confidence in my experience and ability. And especially on her wedding day, her job is to relax, relax, relax and soak in every moment. It's going to fly by...there is no use in worrying over the details. Leave it to the people you have hired to do what they do best and just simply enjoy the day!
If you have hired a professional photographer, you don't need a comprehensive shot list.
Other than a list of family formal combinations a bride would like on her wedding day, there isn't really a need to provide a shot list. Rest assured, if you've hired a professional photographer, that person is going to get all of the happenings and details of the day. I know that for me, if I have my head buried in a shot list, I could very well miss those small, quick (yet so important) moments that I know my bride and groom would want documented. The one exception to this is if there are special details or people that wouldn't necessarily be obvious to the photographer that the bride would like photographed (i.e. my best friend from high school, an heirloom pin in my bouquet, a piece of my mother's wedding dress sewn into the underlay of my gown).
Everything that inspires Maggie is filtered through the natural beauty in the way the world takes shape. Her desire is to simply find and capture that same beauty throughout the seasons of your own life (times of love, growth & change) behind the lens of her camera with joy and grace. She is a photographer who seeks to capture those genuine, pure moments in a way that conveys beautiful and sincere imagery. She loves working with clients who find an artistic appreciation of life and enjoy the gentle, quiet moments that weave together the larger story of love and life.
Savor the moments on your wedding day.
I wish I could tell clients to savor the moments. A wedding day can feel so rushed at times with so much going on that it can be hard taking a step back and savoring each moment as they come, but when the day is all said and done, the things that we hold onto are our memories and the photographs that freeze those moments in time, to be savored again and again for years to come. So smile and enjoy each and every step of the wedding day.
I couldn't have said it better.
These talented creatives shared so much valuable information, and I agree with every single word! Although some of them shared similar information, I feel it is worth repeating because it is that important! Your photographer is such an critical choice in your wedding vendor lineup. At the end of the wedding day, the flowers and decor go away, the food and drink is consumed, the band packs up, and your guests travel home, yet your photos remain. These artists create tangible images of your memories that you can hang on your wall, share with future generations, and keep for the rest of your lives.
Now, I promise I didn't coerce them, but a few of these wonderful photographers shared one more piece of advice that I couldn't agree with more! It feels a bit like shameless promotion, but I will share it with you anyway!
Hire a wedding planner!
- Rustic White: "Hire a wedding planner. They can refer the most reputable, creative wedding professionals and help create a vendor team who together will create a seamless wedding day."
- Ally and Bobby: "We recommend hiring a planner! You don't want to be making any big decisions on your wedding day and even if you plan every detail out, there's always a surprise the day of! A planner can help your day run smoothly and put out any fires that you won't even hear about. It seems tempting to just have a friend be a planner but we recommend hiring a professional with experience in the industry. Our biggest tip is to trust your planner and wedding photographers about timeline decisions! They have your best interest at heart and will know how long certain parts of the day will take."
- Lindsey LaRue: "The money, time, and stress you will save by hiring a wedding planner – or at least a coordinator [we call it Event Management] – is more than worth it! And please know that a venue coordinator is NOT the same thing as a wedding planner or coordinator. Your wedding planner is specifically there to look out for you and ensure your day is as beautiful and smooth as possible. The last thing I want is for you (or your mom, or maid of honor) to be stressed on your wedding day by a million little wedding questions and details. Having an amazing planner ensures that you can relax and actually enjoy every moment of your wedding day with those who are most important to you!"
There you have it! Please look out for the next round of Ask The Experts, coming to you next month, and if you want to learn more about these amazing and talented photographers, I have linked to their websites in each of the headings.
If you are engaged and looking to make sure your wedding photography goes smoothly and you get the best wedding photos possible, download the free PDF that contains the highlights of this post by clicking the link below! It will help you remember all of this valuable information about wedding photography, and set you up to receive valuable content in your inbox every other week. Cheers!