Engagement portraits have become such a sweet part of celebrating newly engaged couples, which makes photographers often the first vendors on the planning checklist, falling just below venue selection and sometimes wedding planners. But, because each photographer offers their own unique package and client experience, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before you start meeting with photographers. These things will help you find someone who is perfect for you!
Where do you imagine yourself getting ready?
Why does this matter so early? It may impact how long you need your wedding photographer, or whether you’ll need them to have a second shooter for the day! If your venue has space for both of you to get ready on-site, then you won’t have to factor in time to drive between the bride and groom’s pre-wedding locations, or drive time to the ceremony location. But if you’re getting ready in a hotel suite, while he is getting ready at his parents’ home 30 minutes away, you’ll either need to factor in additional time for your photographer to travel and make it to both locations that day, or make sure to ask if any of their packages include a second shooter.
Have you thought about a first look?
If you’re not sure what a first look is, head over here to read more about it. For John and I, it calmed my nerves to have a moment alone with him before we became the center of attention for the rest of the day. Practically, it allows you to take more portraits before the wedding, so that the time between the ceremony and reception is much shorter, and you can get to your guests as quickly as possible. We don’t have to stop the flow of your day to get you to smile at the camera for a while. Keeps you focussed on that new hubby! This also impacts your timeline, and is a great thing to let your potential wedding photographer know if you know you are or are not interested.
How long will you need a wedding photographer?
Many (I’d say most) photographers specify a number of hours with their packages, so having a rough idea of how long you’ll be needing them is key. If everything is in the same place (there’s no long drives between locations throughout the day), my rule of thumb is one hour before the bride zips her dress until one hour after the cake cutting should thoroughly cover the day. My weddings have ranged from 5 to 10 hour days, but average about 8. The best way to start narrowing this down is to lock in those “anchor” times. Lock in that ceremony start time first, and from there you can back up to when you’d like to be dressed, and fast forward to mapping out your reception. Do keep in mind the sunset time. If you’d like to have family portraits outside, you will need to make sure there’s plenty of daylight left at that time. Or, if you know you want those gorgeous sunset portraits together, you will want to avoid scheduling any events right around the anticipated sunset time. (You can google this in advance.) If you’re not sure how to build a timeline, don’t sweat it! Your photographer and other vendors will gladly help you out — they’re pros at this stuff! Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some sample timelines to help you plan.
How do you imagine displaying your wedding photos and sharing with your friends and family?
When you picture your home together, are there canvases on your living room walls? Do you have little black frames standing up on your shelves? Is there an album sitting on your coffee table for you to share with your guests? Or maybe a subtle memory box sits on the mantle with your favorite prints to thumb through on a rainy day. Think about the tangible prints and memorabilia you’d like to have in your home after your wedding. Each photographer offers a different collection of pieces, and in order to compare apples to apples, you need to know what you want to look for. You want these things included from the get go, because you know that it will take you months to print your digital files. What better way to celebrate your new marriage than hanging pictures on the walls of your first home together?
All of these questions are to get you thinking about one thing – what do I need to find in a wedding photographer? The most important thing is how you feel about them — that you love their work, feel comfortable talking to them, trust their expertise, and want them there with you on one of the biggest days of your life. But in addition, they need to offer you a package that has everything you need.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps you in your wedding planning journey. After you’ve had a bit to think about these things, please reach out and schedule a wedding photography consultation with me! <3 I’d love to help you figure out these details about your day, and see if I’m the best fit for you. Mention this blog post, and I’ll give you an additional 16 x 20 canvas with any wedding package — my gift to you for reading aaaaalll the way through this blog!
Reach out to email@example.com.