As many of you know, Josh and I are engaged. We’re eloping to Vegas on May 1st and will be having a reception in Salem, OH for friends and family on June 15th. The most frequent question we get once people know we are engaged is, “Who is photographing your wedding?” We wanted to point out some of the things that were important to us while choosing our photographers.
1) Lighting. Without a doubt lighting was the most important factor for us. Our reception will be in a barn. Barns are dark and orange, so we knew we wanted someone who knew how to use lighting because we obviously didn’t want dark and orange photos.
We recommend asking to see if your photographer uses external lighting during the reception. One thing that drives Josh and I nuts are people who call themselves natural light photographers. Natural light isn’t always available and certainly shouldn’t be relied on during a reception because receptions are dark. We strongly believe that the quality shouldn’t diminish just because the lights are turned low. Be wary of photographers that never show reception photos. Chances are they rely on natural light or on camera flashes and don’t know how to use external lighting.
2) Having two photographers present. We knew from the start that we wanted to have two photographers at our wedding and reception to make sure all of the details were captured and so that we could get photos with two different points of view.
We wanted a husband and wife team because we figured they would photograph a lot like we do and work well together. Josh and I have been photographing together for over 7 years and we each have our duties during a wedding. Without speaking to each other we know those duties. I focus on details, Josh focuses on overalls. I focus on candids while he focuses on getting posed photos. We knew we wanted a team that also worked this way.
Another great thing about having two photographers is that they can be in two places at the same time. For example, during the ceremony I’ll be in the back with the bride and her father before they walk down and Josh will be up front capturing the mothers, grandparents, and bridal party walking down the aisle. When we are almost finished with groups I pack up all of the equipment while Josh finishes up. That way, we are ready to leave as soon as the bridal party leaves. While doing photos at the park I’ll work with the girls while Josh works with the guys, then we photograph the entire bridal party, then focus on the bride and groom together. During the reception if a groom’s mother wants a family photo you don’t have to worry about missing anything happening on the dance floor because we can be in two places at once.
3) Being comfortable with our photographer. Photography was the most important decision for us, so we started looking even before we had our venue booked. We met with a few photographers. Some we felt very comfortable with and some we felt very uncomfortable with. You’re going to be with your photographers all day, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable with them and that you like their personalities. Engagement sessions are a great way to get to know your photographers and that’s why we include them in almost all of our packages.
4) That the person we met with is the person who will be photographing our wedding. Some photographers have a team of people they send out to photograph weddings. This was something we just weren’t interested in at all. When we book a wedding, we mark off that date specifically for those people. We don’t split off and work with assistants or send assistants to photograph weddings. This is something we’re very proud of because it allows us to give you the quality and attention you deserve. This helps you to know that all of the work you see on our website, blog, and Facebook is our work and is all of the same quality.
We don’t send a random assistant to photograph your engagement session either. This also ties into making sure you’re comfortable with your photographers. We use engagement sessions to get to know you and to make you feel comfortable, so that on the day of the wedding you aren’t so nervous. The last thing you need to be worrying about on your wedding day is how your photographer is going to behave and how you’re going to look in the photos because the person who showed up to do your engagement session and the person who showed up on the day of your wedding are two different people.
5) That our photographers have back up equipment. This was obvious for us, but not so obvious for people who don’t do this for a living. You shouldn’t have to worry about your photographers camera, flash, card, or battery breaking and him or her not having a backup to continue to photograph. Can you imagine how many important moments could be missed? This is why you should hire a professional and not a friend or uncle who does photography as a hobby. Most amateurs only have one camera.
These are just a few of the things we were considering while looking for our photographers. Obviously, we’re biased, but photography really is the most important decision you’ll make for your wedding. Your photographers are the only ones who will be with you throughout the entire day. Your photographers will be the ones to capture all of your details that you spent so much time and money on. There is no sense in spending a ton of time and money on details only to allow an amateur to capture them for you. The photos your photographers capture will be your doorway back to your wedding, so make sure you hire a professional!