I got married young. I was 20. That day was a fairy tale. It was perfect. Looking back, the only thing I always said I would do differently is my photographer. I mean, he was ok. But 11 1/2 years later the only thing I have left to remember that day is my pictures! I shouldn’t have settled with ok. I should have settled with an AWESOME, knock-my-socks-off, cherish-my-memories-forever type of wedding photographer.
Fortunate for me, I happen to know an awesome-sauce wedding photog. She listened to my crazy idea about a couch in the forest preserve and made it happen. I strapped on my wedding dress and convinced my man to re-live our fairy tale.
I’m not telling you all this just to talk about me. The purpose is to help YOU prevent this from being your story. Some things to consider before hiring your wedding photographer:
- MEET your wedding photographer in person.
Don’t you want to know who you are going to spend the whole day of your dream day with?! We went to visit and book our photographer at a studio. But we didn’t meet OUR photographer. We met a photographer. But not our photographer. It was a big company that had a handful of photographers that they sent out. Meet YOUR day of wedding photographer!
- Like them.
Ok, you are going to be with them for around 6-10 hrs depending on your needs. Most of the weddings I shoot begin wherever the bride is getting ready. Talk about intimate. All the ladies are getting ready, hair and makeup is in full swing, people are getting dressed. It is SO important that you LIKE your photographer. If you LOVE the images and then meet them and don’t like their personality, don’t ignore that! You need to click with your photographer!
- Have engagement pictures done.
Having your engagement pictures done is like having a pre-wedding trial. You get to see how the photographer treats you, how they pose you, and how they make you feel comfortable. This is SO important! (Maybe I should have made this #1) This way when your wedding day comes and it’s time to do the bride and groom shots, you both are already comfortable together and know how he/she gives direction. Let’s face it, most guys are not super comfortable being in pictures. Typically, they dread it. This also gives your groom a chance to know what to expect and get done sooner!
- Ask them questions.
How long does it take to get my pictures after the wedding?
How many pictures can I expect to receive?
Do you have a suggested timeline?
When should we get our engagement pictures done?
Write down your questions. They should be able to answer them pretty easily. This will be a good way to know if they are an experienced photographer or not.
- Ask if they bring a second photographer.
I may be a little biased, since I am a second photographer, but think about entrusting one photographer to get EVERY single moment of your day. It’s definitely possible. But why risk it?! Ceremonies can be unpredictable. People can be unpredictable. With everyone taking their own pictures and leaning in the aisles during ceremonies, what if your photographer is lined up to shoot the kiss as Uncle Bob leans in front of him/ her to take a picture with his iphone?! Exactly.
- Discounted pictures=discounted service.
I get it; weddings are expensive, very expensive. Who doesn’t love a deal?! So get a deal on things that you can afford to get a deal on. Do you want an ipod playing at your reception? Or do you want a friend to DJ and play a music list? Or do you want a professional who knows how to work the crowd and get a party going? Pay for what you want. If you want a photographer to just capture some pictures and you don’t care about quality, get a deal! If you want someone to give you expert advice all along your engagement on how to set up a timeline for the day, how many hours you need, get back to you in a timely manner, and give you magazine worthy pictures then PAY for what you want. Don’t expect a rockin’ photographer at rockin’ bottom prices.
- Treat your photographer well.
This should go without saying and shouldn’t be a problem especially if you like them already. Their whole goal is to make you look and feel beautiful (and happy) all day.
- Think about the light.
If you love the sun flare pictures in your wedding photographers portfolio, don’t start everything after dark. In photography world, noon is the worst time to shoot outdoors. We can and will shoot at that time but ideally, plan on having your most important pictures (such as the bride/groom portraits) taken about 2-3 hrs before sunset.
- Forget tradition.
Just hear me out. I didn’t see my groom before our wedding because of tradition. There is something special about tradition. If it’s more important to you than photos then go with tradition. But if photos are MORE important, then see each other BEFORE the wedding. This is more intimate. The photographers are constrained to an aisle and rows of people during the ceremony. They can’t get close and move around you and not be distracting. I have seen my fair share of first looks (seeing each other before the wedding) and it is my new favorite thing. It gives the bride and groom a couple of moments together to hug, cry and ooohhh and ahhhh over each other.
10. Hire him/her again in 1 yr or 10 yrs or 25 yrs and re-live the moment.
While I was getting my hair and makeup on for our re-shoot, my husband arrived dressed and ready to go with a bouquet of flowers in hand. We then preceded to take some of my most treasured photos. Re-live the moment!
If you are looking for a Chicago based wedding photographer (also willing to travel), I highly recommend Keren Sarai Photography. All the pictures in this post are taken by Keren Sarai Photography.
Thank you Keren for our pictures!!