In all of the weddings I’ve worked as a photographer, I’ve found that wedding photography needs are as unique as the clients themselves. While there are very common “must haves” at every wedding, every client brings a brand-new experience. With that comes a great responsibility as a photographer, to make sure you deliver exactly what your client is expecting. That starts with getting to know your client. I wonder, could this be you?
Bride A has been planning, or secretly planning, her wedding since before she was engaged. She absolutely loves the engagement season, the options, and the planning process. Bride A hits up all the wedding shows, has all the magazines, and probably took 10 people to her dress fitting…including her fiancé and her great Aunt Velma. Bride A will read this magazine front to back to get the “in” on all the delicious tips and tricks of the wedding planning process.
Bride B is a bit different. Bride B has two months left to nail down her plans and she is completely overwhelmed by all her options. She rejects the conventional and is getting close to shutting it all down, running for the courthouse and making Momma cry. Bride B will skip straight to the list below, skim it fast and breathe a heavy sigh of relief.
Whether you are Bride A, Bride B, or somewhere in between, I’m here to alleviate the weight of the process for you. Let’s keep it real simple. To me, simple means a check list. Walk through the list, and when you reach the end, you’ll have your photographer.
FIND YOUR FIVE
First things first. Go to your favorite wedding vendor sources: TriadWeddings, The Knot, or even search Instagram hash tags (#northcarolinaphotographer #weddingphotography #greensboroweddingphotographer) and make a list of photographer’s that immediately appeal to you. But don’t stop there! Go to their website, read their reviews, check out their social media channels. Really review their galleries and consider their style. Do they have a classic, documentary, modern, candid, emotive, moody, or artistic approach? Have they shot weddings similar to your personal style? They may be editing with a common tone to their images so make sure you like their editing choices. What you see in their gallery is what you are going to get, so make sure you LOVE it. If you are crazy about their work then write them on your top 5 list. If your number 1 isn’t available on your wedding date, IT’S OKAY! There is truly an abundance of talent in the Triad and you will find your person. I stand in awe of many local photographer friends and those who I really admire. This community is bursting with gifted skills and artful eyes.
HOW TO FIND THE ONE
Okay, you aren’t marrying your photographer. But you know what, second to your fiancé, your photographer will be with you the most throughout your wedding day. So, you want to love them. Or at the very least, in slightly less dramatic fashion, know their shooting style and appreciate their personality. If your photographer doesn’t ask you out on a coffee date then maybe she/he is just not that into you. But don’t let that keep you from asking them! Be bold. And if all the personalities align, then so do the stars.
BUT I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU REALLY
Communication. Communication. Communication. It’s the golden key to ANY great relationship. From start to finish, I try my absolute best to communicate and set expectations with my clients so there’s no room for surprises. I set out time to get to know you, nail down the schedule of the day, and give you my advice from the many weddings I’ve been a part of. Your photographer is an investment and the relationship is a two-way street. You deserve their time, their expertise, and their commitment to delivering you the highest quality in a manner that most suits your needs. With that said, give them your patience and trust. They are producing a quality product for you and that takes time and attention to detail.
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY BUDGET
Okay, let’s be honest. We all have our minds on our money and our money on our minds. You’re spending money on your wedding and you want to make sure you spend it wisely. When you think about your wedding day what is most important to you? It’s one of the most significant days of your entire life. You will be so busy embracing the love that surrounds you that you may miss some of the details and a few of the moments. But you will wantto remember all of it. And your photographer is there for just that reason. Consider your priorities when creating your budget. From there, discuss your needs with your photographer. If you don’t see something that you really want in the package they offer, then simply ask! They may, or may not, offer some flexibility in their offerings but you will never know until you ask. Express your needs and concerns, and make sure you get exactly what you want.
What your photographer might not tell you is that they create their price structure based off of the amount of time they believe they will spend with and for you. That includes communications, planning, engagement sessions, print ordering, album creating, second shooter costs, editing, wedding day hours and travel costs. The list goes on. Photographer’s estimate their time and price accordingly. They all price what they believe they are worth and that often changes with experience. Try to keep that in mind as you choose.
As a photographer, I see everything. I’m often right there when rings are lost, when dresses won’t zip and when fathers see their daughters as brides for the first time. I know that brides always want the shot of their husbands face when he sees her coming down the aisle. I know that the sunlight through a wedding dress exposes delicate details. I know who is walking you down the aisle and who is at the remembrance table. This is the ultimate behind-the-scenes job. And I am obsessed. I absolutely love this work and consider it an honor when someone chooses me to witness their moments. I think your photographer should direct and blend-in. Listen and create. Cry and dance. I’m grateful for every opportunity to document the hope of love. And it is with confidence that I say, most wedding photographer’s you will encounter will feel the exact same way.
*Originally written and published in TriadWeddings Magazine, Spring/Summer 2019