Tips for Finding Your Wedding Photographer

Tips for Finding Your Wedding Photographer

I love bridal shows. Heck, I still go once in awhile just to get the free cupcakes (sorry bakers). It did make me think about how could I help couples navigate all their options and these tips even apply to searching online and gives you a good foothold on what to ask during in-person or over the phone meetings!

 

NICE PHOTOS! BUT WERE THEY AN ACTUAL CLIENT?

 

Over the past few years, there has been a huge surge in photographers being less than honest by passing off staged model shoots as client photos on websites and especially at bridal shows. I see it almost everyday on social media and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Even some of your less then ethical educators in our field encourage this.

While it may not seem like a very big deal, it’s important that your photographer is showing you only client photos. They need to be images that they can confidently produce during the hectic environment of a real wedding day and not just a controlled situation when they have all the time in the world to get that single photo.

Don’t get me wrong, this won’t apply to every gorgeous image you see and every photographer you meet. There are some very talented photographers out there who really know how to get want they want quickly on a wedding day. Sadly, there are also a handful of photographers that have no problem showing you a single image that took them six hours or more to capture and a ton of editing afterwards to make it look like something within their “wedding gallery”.

So what should you do? You shouldn’t shy away from asking if the images shown to you are from actual paying clients or from stylized shoots. You can also request to see other images from throughout that day to prove that the images are real. If they can’t show you a gallery of images from that day then chances are it’s a fake client they are trying to pass off.

While this might seem like a big deal, you have to ask yourself… if you are dealing with an experienced professional photographer trying you earn your business, shouldn’t they have more than enough awesome client images in their portfolio to show you that they wouldn’t have to resort to creating a lot of fake ones? If they don’t, then that speaks volumes of the types of images you’ll actually get on your wedding day. They are either not very experienced or their normal wedding images just aren’t awesome as they let on.

 

BUT CAN I SEE A FULL GALLERY?

 

All photographers are going to show their best work or at least their favorite images on their website and on display at bridal shows. It’s only natural and let’s be honest they can’t all be gems. But there is also so much more to the day than these hero shots and amazing candid photos we all love and show.

Your wedding can be a long day and there are tons of different parts that make up your particular story. From the couple getting ready, all those little details and decorations at your reception, those candid moments that tug at your heart, and those crazy photos during the reception that the groomsmen are really hoping I deleted (I don’t by the way… ever).

All of these make up your wedding story and go towards what you’ll later use for designing you wedding album and wall art. All of your images need to be awesome and not just the one they posted on Facebook for likes!

If your potential photographer refuses to show you full wedding galleries then take that as a huge red flag!

 

HOW MANY WEDDINGS HAVE YOU CAPTURED AS THE MAIN PHOTOGRAPHER?

 

Don’t underestimate this question. It’s not all about how nice of a photo the photographer can take but how many adverse conditions they’ve had to deal with over their career as a professional photographer. Being a wedding photographer can sometimes be a never-ending cycle of problem solving. From bizarre lighting conditions to dealing with the occasional equipment failure, and it’s important when the going get’s tough, you’ll never even know about it and your photographer will be able to still deliver for you as planned!

This can also lead into whether or not they have photographed your particular type of wedding ceremony. If the photographer has experience in capturing a Catholic, or Jewish, or Indian wedding can mean quite a bit if they are not use to it and they won’t have any idea what they should expect on your big day. There are little elements of each one that can trip up somone less experienced.

Additionally, it could also have a huge bearing on how many additional photographers may be required to capture your wedding the way you want.

 

I’D LOVE TO CHAT MORE WITH YOU!

 

If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you’d like to chat about what’s most important to you on your wedding day, please contact me for more information. I would love to see if I can help make it a reality for you!

 

Jeff is truly one of the most talented photographers in the business. We have had the pleasure of working with him twice this past wedding season, and he seamlessly captures the emotion of the day. A wonderful creative to have on your team!

Meagan

Owner, Magnolia Grove Weddings and Events

First Look – Pros and Cons

First Look – Pros and Cons

Planning your wedding day is filled with everything from the really important decisions like which venue to have your reception at down to the smaller decisions like should Aunt Jenny really be at a table that close to the open bar. I get it, it’s really hard to figure it all out and sometimes it can even be a tad confusing.

One of the decisions I see my couples going back and forth with the most often is whether or not to have a first look on their wedding day. There are a number of reasons for and against this wedding day trend, so let’s jump right into helping you decide what works best for you.

 

Pros of Having a First Look

 

A Moment Just for Two

With all of the controlled chaos of a wedding day, sometimes it can really be hard for the couple to get a few moments alone. Everyone means well and they just want to congratulate you and wish you well. Unfortunately, after an entire day of that, you can walk away exhausted and feeling like there wasn’t enough time for the both of you to just be together on what was supposed to be your day.

A first look can give you those precious moments together – just the two of you to be yourselves (OK, the two of you and your photographer but that’s just nitpicking now isn’t it? Ok, and maybe the video company… but you get the point. Let’s move on.).

I always try to suggest to my couples that they schedule some time in the day just for them. Whether it’s during the first look, their portrait session, or even a little time before their entrance into the reception, it’s great to be able to regroup and enjoy each other’s company away from everyone else if only for a moment.

 

Getting Your Portraits Out of the Way

You’ve waiting all this time for your wedding day, the ceremony is over and now you want to get to your reception and have fun with the rest of your guests.

But wait, we still need to take those pesky family group shots and your portraits as well. It’s not uncommon to see the bride and groom start to get a little anxious to get to the reception and just want to be done with the portraits because they are just tired from all the anticipation of the wedding itself.

The problem is that your portraits together can be some of the most important to you down the road and if you aren’t enjoying yourself then you’ll see it in your expressions and the moments won’t be as honest. You don’t want to rush through photos that important.

A first look can work to your advantage because it’s taking place much earlier in your day where you are fresher and still looking your best right out of hair and makeup.

 

A More Controlled Situation

There’s a strong chance you have seen one of the humorous/horrifying images on social media of a wedding ceremony where the scene is ruined because one of the guests at the ceremony had decided that the best way to remember the very touching moment taking place right before them is by holding up their iPad at eye level to take photos or video instead of simply being there.

In doing this they end up obstructing the view of other guests as well as the photographer more often than not which can be very problematic. There is always that chance that as the couple sees each other for the first time the photographer’s view could be obstructed in that precious moment leaving it lost forever.

With a first look we can eliminate the potential of that because your photographer and their team are the only ones there and will know how to stay out of each other’s way to capture each and every moment.

 

Cons of Having a First Look

 

You Wasted the Good Surprise

One of my personal favorite moments of the wedding day is that moment when the couple see each other from opposite ends of the aisle. This is also a favorite for many family members as well as your guests so by having a first look you deny them that often-emotional exchange.

Sure, you may still get a little choked up when you see each other if you’ve had a first look earlier in the day, but my experiences have been that it’s much more subdued than when there hasn’t been a first look.

 

Don’t Get Your Dress Dirty

Many times, I get requests for first looks to take place in open fields or at parks because of their scenic quality. Visually tht can be stunning however you then run the risk of getting the train of a dress and your shoes dirty prior to walking down the aisle. You’ve spent quite a bit of money on your wedding attire so it’s a shame to take them outside and get them filthy before the ceremony.

Sure, we can also do the first look inside but often that isn’t as romantic to the couple and not as appealing visually.

As a side note, being a wedding photographer here in North Carolina, besides getting your clothing dirty, you risk starting to sweat possibly staining your clothing or worse causing your hair and makeup to start to come undone before the ceremony. You also risk your bouquet starting to wilt if you decide to incorporate it as well.

 

Is the Moment Even Real

Many couples decide to have a first look because they’ve heard about them from friends or have seen photographs online and in bridal magazines.

Because they fall in love with the idea of the first look, that can sometimes create certain expectations they feel they need to reach in how they react. You are aware you are being photographed and know exactly what’s about to happen which can cause a less than genuine reaction when it actually takes place.

Instead of the moment just taking place you can find yourself caught up in thinking about your expression and how it will photograph instead of having an honest emotional moment. You’ve now not only created a fake moment but have stolen some of the impact from the actual first look during the ceremony as I explained previously.

 

So Which is It?

 

So, What’s the Verdict?


So now that I’ve gone through a few of the reasons for having a first look as well as some of the potential pitfalls of having one, should you have one or not? What’s the correct answer?

That’s just it, there isn’t one.

In the end, it’s your day there is no right answer that is going to apply to every couple and their particular nuptials. I am always happy to capture a wedding day however the couple’s heart desires so it will come down to their personal preference. As I’ve already shown by example, there simply isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to the first look.

While they have started to fall off slightly in popularity in recent years, I still get requests to capture them all the time, so it comes down to what works best for you as a couple. In the end, that’s really all that matters anyway right?

If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you’d like to have me capture your wedding day, please contact me for more information. I would love the opportunity to be there for those amazing memories being made!

Want to Find Out More?

If you are looking for a wedding photographer and you'd like to have me capture your wedding day, please contact me for more information. I would love the opportunity to be there for those amazing memories being made!
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bouquet toss
Wedding Tips

Tips for Finding Your Wedding Photographer

I love bridal shows. Heck, I still go once in awhile just to get the free cupcakes (sorry bakers). It did make me think about how could I help couples navigate all their options and these tips even apply to searching online and gives you a good foothold on what to ask during in-person or over the phone meetings!

Gear

Why I Switched To Sony

During my drive back to the hotel and the following drive back to Raleigh, NC the next day, I began to remember rumors of this new camera system that was promised to be significantly more quiet. I spent the next few days watching every video I could get my hands on and talking to everyone I could that could offer experience with the system and what it could bring to the table.

Wedding Tips

First Look – Pros and Cons

One of the decisions I see my couples going back and forth with the most often is whether or not to have a first look on their wedding day. There are a number of reasons for and against this wedding day trend, so let’s jump right into helping you decide what works best for you.