You've finally done it! You've selected a wedding photographer. You've seen their work and style, you've met with them and like their personality, and you've made your selection. If you haven't gotten to this step, this article can help you ask questions to your wedding photographer to see if they are the right person for you!
As a bride, you're in the midst of planning the most important day of your life, the day you've dreamed about since you were a child. Is your photographer doing the same?
I tell all my perspective clients that with the exception of your wedding planner (if you so choose to have one), you will work more with your wedding photographer than any other vendor. In this blog, learn the 5 key planning items that you're photographer should be doing with every bride. If they're not, then you may want to rethink your selection.
DO THEY LISTEN MORE THAN TALK?
Photographers are artists and business people. Artists love to share, create, and show off what they've done. However, this is YOUR DAY! As the bride you have a vision of what your wedding will look like. You want to make sure that your photography captures just that.
Is you photographer asking questions? A good photographer should:
- be like a good consultant, asking questions, and LISTENING more than talk
- work to understand what the Bride and Groom want in their wedding photography
- understand your personality and how you want the day documented
Every wedding is as different from the last. It's important that you have a photographer that works as your partner to be sure to capture the day the way YOU want it captured.
ARE THEY A DETAILED PLANNER?
A wedding is moment in time that ebbs and flows with activity. It all comes together at the ceremony, and that ceremony will happen at a designated time, PERIOD. Laying out the day, in detail, with the Bride is one of the most important tasks that your photographer must do. This includes:
- Understanding a precise timeline
- Understanding what important posed groupings are desired
- Laying out the groupings in a precise order that takes into consideration:
- Allowing the parents to leave early to act as "hosts" to the guests until the wedding party arrival
- Allows for the bride to move the LEAST amount of times
- Allowing enough time for group photographs (I allow, on average, 2 minutes per grouping
- Allowing enough time to take the portraits both before and after the ceremony (depending on if the couple are being traditional and not seeing each other before the ceremony or not)
Remember, building a precise detailed plan is critical. Understanding that no wedding will go exactly to that plan and having a photographer that can adjust the plan "on the fly" in an easy manner with the bride is just as critical!
DO THEY INQUIRE ABOUT FAMILY DYNAMICS?
All families have certain "challenging" dynamics. The reality of "ex" spouses being part of the families coming back together to celebrate this wonderful day is just a reality of life in today's culture.
Your wedding photographer should be aware of these dynamics. They should understand if there is likely to be any kind of "tensions" and plan how he photographs people appropriately.
The lead photographer (in my company that's always me), is with the bride all during the day and may need to use their soft skills at any time to ease tensions and help the bride get over some emotional rough patches. Sound strange?
This actually happened to me when the father of the bride (who was divorced from the bride's mother) actually choose at the last minute not to show up and walk his daughter down the aisle. When she heard that she and I were with her maid of honor and she broke down. Both of us worked together to help comfort her and refocus her energies.
This wedding is highlighted on my web site but you'd never be able to pick out which bride this happened to because of these efforts. Because your wedding photographer is with you documenting the day, their soft skills are so important.
DO THEY INQUIRE ABOUT SPECIAL Traditions?
Special traditions are important. They come from cultural or family traditions. It's important for your wedding photographer to be asking about and understanding what these traditions are so that they capture them properly for you! These could be as simple as the Czech tradition of breaking a plate and sweeping up the pieces, or jumping over a broom at the end of the ceremony.
Do they ask about IMPORTANT VENUE ATTRIBUTES?
However, it's not just about traditions. It's also about symbols at the venue that may have significant importance to the bride or groom. I photographed a wedding where the groom told me to be sure to have some photographs with 3 stained glass windows from the church showing in the background. It turns out that these windows were important to the memory of his late mother, and he wanted to be sure he saw them . I made sure that request was fulfilled.
Selecting a photographer with the right approach to your special day
Selecting the right photographer is so important on so many levels. It's not just about their style and pricing (though those are important), it's about how they approach your day. Is it just as important to them as it is to you the bride? It better be! It is for all of my clients!