3 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Wedding Photographer Experience

 (Photo by Arielle Thomas -- You can find more of her work  here .)

(Photo by Arielle Thomas -- You can find more of her work here.)

If you're investing in a photographer for your wedding day, most likely you've spent time researching the available photogs in your area, comparing websites, figuring out whose style you like best, and who you think seems fun to work with. I remember how overwhelming the wedding planning process can be, so I thought it could be helpful to blog a few reminders to help you get the best experience you can from your wedding photographer. 

So, here goes!

 

1. Making Sure You Jive

I don't know about you, but spending 9 hours with a stranger pointing a camera in my face during one of the most emotional days of my life sounds a bittttt awkward. Honestly? Having photos taken can be a bit awkward in general, no matter the reason.  I mention this to all of the couples I work with -- it's not bad that you feel awkward, everyone does at some point.  With that said, I think it's extremely important that you hire a photographer that you jive with - maybe you have a similar sense of humor, maybe you have similar hobbies, or perhaps you just think they have a cool, relaxed and easy going demeanor that fits with your personality.  Whatever it is, find something in common with them -- when it comes down to it, you'll probably be spending more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day - sometimes even your spouse!  

Everyone has a budget, and we all know that sometimes it comes down to pinching pennies -- but I highly suggest you try to pinch somewhere else first.  Be as intentional as possible with who you hire for your wedding day, because the more you jive - the more your photos will probably reflect your true you.  

 

2. Communication is Key

I've spent most of my life in customer service related roles - be it restaurants, nonprofit, political, or business gigs. If there's one thing that leads to success in any position, it's consistent, clear and honest communication.  If you remember nothing else from this article, think about how well you're communicating with your wedding photographer. 

Now, to be specific -- I'm not talking about how often you're communicating with them.  Wedding photographers are often balancing upwards of 15-30 wedding clients a year and if all of those clients are emailing frequently, it can be a lot of emails. What I mean is, how much quality conversation are you having with them? Did they spend time meeting with you before you booked (or after you booked before your wedding)?  If not, reach out and get to know them a little -- tell them a few things about yourself. I often send questionnaires to clients that book with me -- not to make them spend extra time on the computer, but simply because the better I get to know them, the better I will photograph them during their session, whether that's an hour or 9 hours.  

Second to communicating well, is communicating clearly.  Everyone views their wedding day differently, and while many wedding photographers have an idea of what their client is expecting, we aren't mind readers.  If something specific is meaningful to you, be clear in what that is with your photographer.  We all do our best to capture your day as objectively and beautifully as possible -- but we do an even better job of that when everyone is on the same page going into the day.

 

3.  Timelines are FIRE (aka, SO important)

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to plan a timeline with your photographer in mind.  You're spending quite a bit hiring someone to not only document your entire day, but to create art in the amount of time given.  The more you map out the time during your day that you will be available for photos, the more likely it is that your photographer will have the time to get creative and really highlight the moments of your day.

Ideally, I ask clients to schedule at least 30 minutes into their timeline for group/family portraits (this depends largely on the size of your wedding).  A first look is an absolutely wonderful way to get these photos completed prior to your ceremony and save you from rushing around during cocktail hour -- I highly recommend considering this.  However, a first look is not required, and in that case you'll just need to block out time post-ceremony for these photos.  

After group shots, ideally I love to steal couples away for another 30-45 minutes to sneak in some just married portraits of the two of them while the guests enjoy cocktail hour. This 30 minutes is one of the small bits of time during your wedding day that the two of you will be completely alone -- cherish that, and let me document it for you.

Then, as sunset nears -- I absolutely love to sneak clients away for some beautiful golden hour, glowy, romantic photos.  This is the absolute best time of day for light, and will always be worth the extra time spent.  I'll take as much time as a couple will give me -- the best time to start is about 30-45 minutes before sunset, all the way through until a few minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon.  

After that? It's party time, my friends!