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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

{Wedding Wednesday} Choosing a Photographer

Choosing a photographer for your wedding can be extremely nerve wracking! I mean, who you choose will be documenting the most important day of your life and you definitely don't want to miss anything! I've already been through that mess so here are my tips so you have an easier time! 

These cherry blossoms had bloomed just in time for our wedding. Beautiful!

Be Picky!

Man oh man I can't stress this one enough. I wish I had been more picky because I definitely learned the hard way. I met countless photographers at bridal shows and looked through countless more online. We only ended up meeting with two of them but after we got our photos back, I regretted not being pickier. "Why?" you ask? For starters, and this is a doozy, there is not ONE posed formal or creative formal photo of Brian and I! Not one!! Sure there are pictures of us saying our vows and dancing but not one of just the two of us after the ceremony. It was something very obvious that should have been done but my photographer insisted on rushing the posed formals so we could get to the reception quickly. He also neglected to get any pictures of my family and I together. In the very beginning I wanted to do a "reveal" with Brian and I so we could do our posed/creative formals BEFORE the ceremony (we had more than enough time for it!) but our photographer basically told us no. 

Gracious...I need an entire post to rant about all this mess! 

Me getting my dress out!

Meet With Multiple Photographers

As I mentioned before, I wish we had met with more than just two. I thought that would be enough. I would recommend talking to (whether meeting in person, phone conversation or e-mail) as many photographers as you can. When you go to bridal shows (and go to several of those!) try and speak with every photographer and take business cards, price lists, and brochures. If you just plain don't like their style, then move on. If you meet with multiple photographers, you'll be able to see how well you get along with them and if your styles mesh together. This is important! You want to have a good working relationship with them.

I can tell you right now these pictures were my idea!

My traditional photographer would have never thought to highlight our TOMS! 

Pick Your Style - Traditional vs Artistic vs Blend

Usually photographers are one or the other. There are several different styles but usually photographers tend to be traditional or artistic. Traditional style is very posed and formal. There's not a lot of room for creativity. It's more rigid and planned than anything else. A photographer that is more artistic will do cool angles, soft focus, creative poses and more. I must've thought that was too "yuppie" for me at the time or maybe I just wasn't paying attention. I wanted more of a blend but my photographer ended up being very traditional. We literally took three photos outside. Everything else was under the unforgiving sanctuary lights standing up straight and smiling pretty. There were actually three photographers shooting our wedding and I can always tell when one of the two younger, creative interns took the shot! Either that or it was something creative that I suggested. 
Check out this article for the other styles and their descriptions.

Brian, his groomsmen and our pastor who officiated.

Have Multiple Photographers

Like I said, I had three photographers shooting our wedding. My original plan was to have at least two. The third was no extra charge because she was an intern in training. The way I saw/see it is that one photographer won't be able to capture every moment. Case in point: When the bride walks down the isle, you want a picture of the groom's face as he sees his bride and the bride's face as she sees her groom. (Yet another thing my photographers didn't catch even though I specified wanting it.) 
Another example is that maybe a friend starts break dancing at the reception but the photographer is capturing you hugging your Great Aunt Edna. You want to capture every moment! Multiple photographers can be expensive though so keep that in mind. But don't nix the idea simply because of money. Keep your eye out for things like "free second photographer with 8 hours of shooting" or maybe a more novice photographer that will be willing to be a second shooter for free. It's best if they've worked together before though. That way they know how the other works and everything will go smoothly.

Oh and a male/female team works great too. The male photographer can shoot the men getting ready pre-ceremony and the female can shoot the ladies getting ready and no one feels awkward or embarrassed! It's easy to overlook something like that too.

The bridal party being goofy. This picture ALWAYS makes me smile!

Make a List

Make a list of the shots you want. Everything from creative to posed formals. If you really want a picture with Great Aunt Edna then write that down. And don't just wright "Bride and aunt," be sure to write down names and titles. Your photographer won't know that "Jenny" is your 5th bridesmaid. This is also another area where Pinterest comes in handy. Make a pinboard for poses and shots you like. Change the caption so that it's specific to you. You can give the url to your photographer ahead of time so they will have a good idea of what you want and don't want your wedding photos to look like. 

First dance - one of my favorites

Plan Plenty of Time

When you're making your wedding day timeline, estimate the time for pictures, then add 30 minutes. I promise it will take longer than you think. I know many people still want to stick with tradition and not have the bride and groom see each other until she walks down the isle but if you're OK with breaking tradition, do it! I so wish that we had. I wish we had planned a reveal before the ceremony. We ended up having so much extra time, it would have been perfect. I think it would have helped with jitters walking down the isle too. And it still would have been special! I don't think it would have taken away from seeing each other from down the isle at all. Plus, we would've had more beautiful pictures together! We could have also done all of our bridal photos together. The way we did it, we had us girls go into the sanctuary and take pictures and then swapped with the guys. So at least we had a good amount of formals done beforehand. If you want to stick with tradition, that's totally fine! Just be sure you plan extra time for posed formals after the ceremony and before the reception. You don't want to keep your guests waiting, bored, and hungry so keep that in mind as well. 

I'm so glad my photographer caught this moment! I didn't even know it happened until I looked through the pictures!

And remember: The photographer runs the ceremony...the DJ/band/MC runs the reception.

All in all, the wedding photographer that you choose will be very important but as I've said before and I will say again, it doesn't HAVE to be a stressful thing! Hopefully Wedding Wednesdays will help you plan your wedding with ease!

What's your favorite wedding photography style? What are some of your wedding photographer questions that need answers?

Till next time,

If you're a fellow blogger and are interested in guest posting for this series, shoot me an e-mail at CatherinePageWood@gmail.com! Or, even if you're not a blogger and would like to share your wedding story or advice, send me an e-mail! I would LOVE to share your stories!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out the other editions of Wedding Wednesday!


  1. Great tips, Catherine! Things have changed so much in wedding photography since I got married nearly 20 years ago. I wish back then we did more fun shots like brides and grooms do today.

    1. Thanks Paula! They really have changed a lot...especially when it comes to traditions like the bride and groom seeing each other before the ceremony. No one says you can't take those fun pictures now! :)

  2. Wedding photography is the most valuable pert our life. I'm Alex I am a newly married , photographer. Lover of Cameras, traveling, fashion, dumplings, ocean and brown leather boots, and last but almost certainly first , That being said, our package includes full day coverage, just tell me when to come and when to leave.
    melbourne Wedding Photography

  3. These are really great tips! Most people don't realize that it's the photographer who captures each and every special moment, so you're right in that regard. If it's possible, get a photographer whom you can agre with. That way, there won't be any friction between the two of you. The tip on multiple photographers is a must-have too. Thanks for sharing!

    Stephen Young @ Pixcellence

  4. During my wedding here, the wait staff was absolutely the best. It was such an intimate moment and you could really feel the love and energy in the place.


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