“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver.
This is your one wild, your one precious life. And in this life of yours, you happened to find the one person who you want by your side, holding your hand, laughing and crying and adventuring through every single day with you. The person who loves you for exactly for who you are. And the person who you love for all that they are.
I believe that every person should live with intention. This life of yours, I’m sure, is intentional. From the choices you make when you choose your daily outfits, to how you style your hair, and from the things you do in your free time and who you spend your time with. I hope you make choices that bring you joy, so that your life may be enriched with the moments that bring you the best memories ever.
Your wedding, the celebration of your love, is a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the quirks, all the little joys that make up you and your relationship. It should be a day completely unique to you and your sweetheart. It’s a great way to celebrate with friends and family, so take this day to play your favorite music on the dance floor, eat food that you think is delicious (hire a food truck! eat pizza! have brunch at all times of the day!), wear the clothes you want to wear, decorate how you want to decorate–not just what is believed to be trendy, choose flowers that make your heart sing, forego tradition for the sake of tradition and begin new ones.
Respectfully, this isn’t your mom’s wedding. Or your bridesmaid’s wedding. Or your crazy co-worker’s wedding. This wedding or elopement is about you and your fiance and the love that radiates between you two.
Show it all off. Put it all out there. Show the world exactly who you two are.
Your wedding day, most likely, is going to be a blur. That’s where your photographer comes in to help.
Your wedding photos are the only thing that will increase in value as time goes on. After the flowers die, your dress is put up, the food and drinks have been consumed, and the DJ goes home, you’re left with three things: A spouse, your rings, and your photos.
Your photos will keep being there forever.
Make sure they’re photos you love. Make sure they make you feel something. Make sure they showcase your wedding day and your love in all of their glory.
NARROWING DOWN PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Now that DSLR cameras are so accessible (you can buy a beginner body and lens kit at Walmart these days), it seems as though there’s another handful of new photographers popping up every day.
Keep in mind that there is a HUGE difference between a beginner who does bird photography as a hobby and a seasoned, professional photographer who specializes in weddings/elopements/couples.
You may also see photographers who are extremely talented at, say, head shots or newborn photos, but lack experience in un-staged, often spontaneous events such as weddings.
There are also many different styles and types of photographers/photography:
When choosing a photographer, look at their work as a whole. Are the images edited consistently? Has the photographer switched styles multiple times? Do you enjoy their current work? Do you know if their style will change before your wedding?
CHOOSING THE PHOTOGRAPHER THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU:
When choosing the right photographer for you. (YOU! YOU! YOU! Not anyone else but you and your fiance), I think the 3 most important things to keep in mind are STYLE, CONNECTION, and TRUST.
When choosing your photographer, make sure you’re attracted to every aspect of their work. How the images are composed, the emotions captured, the way things or people are posed/directed, the editing style/consistency, the way they use light, etc.
If you’re drawn to the soft, pastel, and airy feel to Fine Art wedding photos, then you shouldn’t hire a photographer who shoots photos moodier and darker.
If you’re looking for a photographer who really tells the story of your day and is a boss at capturing emotion and moments, look for a documentary/photojournalistic style photographer.
One thing to definitely keep in mind for the future of your photos is current editing trends. Two big trends in the wedding photography industry right now are mega de-saturated green tones in photos and mega-saturated oranges in skin-tones. Those editing styles are very trendy now, but usually don’t portray true-to-life colors. In 3 years, when those editing trends are overdone and tired, are you still going to love all of your wedding photos?
If the photographer’s work doesn’t make you feel something, then they’re probably not the right photographer for you.
This one is about connecting to the photographer themselves and the images they’re producing.
Your photographer is the vendor you’ll be spending the most time with most likely, aside from a full coordinator. They’ll be there from the initial meetings, to the engagement/bridals sessions, and right there with you on your wedding day.
I find that it’s really important to make sure that you and your photographer click. Can you all laugh together? Can you be yourselves around each other? Those things are important. Have you read your photographer’s About Me? Did you connect to it? Do you all have any things in common?
Do you feel a connection to their images? When scrolling through a blog post or a portfolio, how do the photographer’s photos make you feel? Do you even connect at all?
This may be the most important aspect when picking out a photographer. It is vital that there is trust between you two and your photographer. The trust goes both ways.
You should be able to trust your photographer to get beautiful, creative photos at your weddings. You should also be able to trust that they’re capable of making the best photographs possible for the circumstances given. You should be able to trust that they can direct you two and find the best light possible for your images. You should trust them enough to be vulnerable, to open up, and to be 100% truly, uniquely yourself. Because, truly, those are always the best images. The in-between moments, the nose wrinkles in a laugh, the gentle kiss on the forehead. 100% real.
When you find a talented and seasoned photographer whose style you love, this trust should come naturally.
The photographer should also be able to trust you two as well. It’s so important to be as open and communicative as you can to make sure your photographer knows your expectations and can be straightforward with how they’ll deliver what you want. The more the photographer gets to know you and you get to know them, the better time you’ll have and the better photos you’ll receive.
+ Ask questions.
+ Be communicative. Express your ideas. Photographers want to know it all. Sometimes, there will be a moment when the photographer may not think they could provide the best work for what you want. Allow them to express that. Trust them on that.
+ Be realistic. This especially comes into play for wedding photos: If your heart desires bright and vibrant photos, but you get married in a dark and cluttered venue, it’s not likely that you’ll have bright and vibrant images of your day.
+ Budget realistically. Your dream photographer could already be in your photo budget. But sometimes, they may not be. If you’re dead set on a certain photographer, look at the rest of the budget to see if there is any wiggle room anywhere. Photographers sometimes (not often) run specials to discount wedding photography, but these discounts are usually random.
+ Prioritize. If couples’ photos are the most important for your wedding day, make sure to give enough time (preferably with good light) for a mini couple’s session in your wedding day. If detail shots are super important, think about giving your photographer 30 minutes during the day to photograph the empty, set-up venue space. Your detail shots will turn out a lot prettier without a lot of people walking around in the background.
+ Open up. Seriously–I know it’s cliche, but be your true self. I’ll say it time and time again–that is how the magic happens. This is how you get photos that evoke emotion. These are the photos you’ll treasure the most.
When you keep these things in mind, I know you’ll have photos that you and your loved ones will cherish for years to come.
I’m now taking questions.